Now, Where were we?

End of July/early August, Congress and the White House took a vacation.

No 2015 Budget
No Transportation Infrastructure Investment Bill
No Immigration Reform
No…whatever might be your favorite topic.

My favorite topics, as you may have noticed include federal employees, their agencies, and the issues and regulations that impact them and our nation. I also am pretty partial to transportation infrastructure investment because I believe this to be key to a stable U.S. economy and critical for the economic well being of all who live, eat, work, shop and have to just get around in their communities every day.

It would be good if when Congress comes back to work that they actually work. Blaming each other is not work. That’s campaigning. That’s easy. Making honorable decisions that may be unpopular or compromising is tough. But that is leadership.

One bright spot is that federal civilian employees and the military may see a 1% pay raise in January 2015. You may not agree with this or you may not think this is much of an increase. Both sides have good points. However, I sit on the side of the increase. Why?

As many of you may not know, federal employee grades in their current form are falling. What do I mean by this? Those individuals doing the same or similar jobs a few years ago, are performing this work for less money/lower grades now. Even worse, they are required to have more education in many of these instances.

Talk to your federal worker neighbors. They will tell you this is true, if they are not the managers who are making this happen.

A must read is a Washington Post article in the Sunday, August 31, 2014 Outlook section entitled ” Want better, smaller government? Hire a million more workers.” Sounds ridiculous but take a look at it with an open mind.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/want-better-smaller-governmenthire-1-million-more-federal-bureaucrats/2014/08/29/c0bc1480-2c72-11e4-994d-202962a9150c_story.html?wprss=rss_opinions

Also, please don’t forget that a federal 2015 budget must be in place or the current version extended by October 1, 2014 or there could be another government shutdown. I don’t think this will happen in an election year. There will probably be a continuing resolution to maintain government spending at current levels for a specific time.

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About djaubey

I am a proud thirty-year federal employee and civil servant. Now retired. As a creative writer (both traditional and innovative), I provide a fresh perspective with a sound foundation in all my work. I am a researcher, writer and speaker with a love of the written word and in search of the truth.
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2 Responses to Now, Where were we?

  1. GovFriend says:

    Hi DJ,

    I’m also glad Congress and the White House are back from vacation. With the many challenges facing the nation, I want to be optimistic that there will be more “working together” this short season before the elections. But I’m not holding my breath.

    Interesting you cited the Post’s article about hiring more federal employees to make the federal government smaller and better. I had read the piece and had a vigorous discussion about it with a colleague. While the writer make some good points about the need to improve federal government overall, I found his opinion void of sound facts and logical reasoning. Plus he blamed most of the woes on federal contractors who he paints as parasites that must be eliminated. I found his intellectual reasoning lacking given his ideological stance. By the time you take a million more workers, spread them over the many departments, divide among agencies within these departments, then into programs, and office– having an additional 3-5 new staff will not necessarily make the programs more efficient. My humble opinion.

    • djaubey says:

      You are correct. There are good and not so good points to the article I chose to include in this update. The not so good point is focusing on contractors as the problem for federal government performance. Calling federal workers “federal bureaucrats” is not appropriate either. Ultimately, I believe if departments were allowed to honestly review and determine their necessary staffing levels (both federal and contractor) in order to be fully functional and fully successful in the performance of their missions, a true number of each would be determined and a balance between the two would be the result. As far as I am aware, this never happens. Most departments are told how many federal employees they can add or told they can’t add any. They are also told at times to favor contractors to perform the work of their agencies. With these comments in mind, I am fine with a million new employees focused in areas where they are most needed. This is better than no increase at all and even better than a reduction in the federal workforce.

      Thank you for your comments.

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