Should the Federal Government Be Turned Over to Local Governments?

America can still be saved by turning over much of the federal government to the state, city, and country governments.  The primary reason is because the federal government is broken and cannot be fixed.  There are three major problems.

One.  Morale among federal employees is at a record low.  The 2014 annual survey showed that only about half of the federal employees were satisfied with their jobs.  About 72% of the private sector employees were satisfied.  Younger federal employees are even less satisfied because they have to work for incompetent older employees and promotions are not based on merit.

Two.  Our federal government is not innovative and does not offer incentives for employees who are creative.  The Partnership for Public Service’s innovation index score is the lowest it has ever been.  Typically, old guard leadership in the federal government fears new approaches which could make them look incompetent.  These leaders do not have the confidence to welcome new ideas because they believe they will erode their power.

Three.  Customer satisfaction with federal services is at the lowest it has been since 2007.  The American Customer Satisfaction Index indicated that only 64.4 percent of the government’s customers were satisfied with the results.  Any business with this low customer satisfaction would not be able to stay in business.  Part of the problem is that federal employees don’t even know who their customer is.  When asked, they will tell you their customers are:  (1) supervisors, (2) department heads, (3) Senior Executive Service positions, (4) other federal agencies, (5) the executive branch, and (6) the citizens who request assistance.  They never say the American taxpayer is their client and yet that is who is paying them for their services.  The bottom line is that federal employees are generally motivated to satisfy their leaders in order to advance their careers.  “Careerism” is much more important than customer service.

The federal government is broken beyond repair because the system protects itself from repairs.  Even though the federal leadership is poor, the system is the problem.  The only way to remedy this defect is to minimize the damage it is doing to our country.  Transfer the powers and budget for the federal government to local governments.  They will do a better job because they will be more focused on local activities than the federal government would ever be.

Even though the local governments are not perfect, they will be better at addressing local issues.  The local politicians will be motivated to make their neighborhoods a better place to live.  This is called Politics in My Backyard, “PIMBY.”  Even when the local politicians are selfish, they generally will spend money to protect themselves and their families by making the community stronger.

It is important for Congress, with the power of the purse, to start sending more money to local communities and governments, cutting off the weak efforts of an incompetent federal government.  It is time to go local, freezing out the federal government.

Federal Executives Under Fire Should Be Fired

The “Federal Times” in a front page article on December 1, 2014, written by Andy Medici, indicated that the Senior Executive Service (SES) needed a major overhaul in the wake of recent scandals and criticism from lawmakers.

Former SES employees stated that things could be improved by increasing pay and incentives, by emphasizing positive achievements of SES’s rather than negative actions, and by encouraging movement between agencies.

Are you kidding me?  How will the SES’s be held accountable for mismanagement by giving them more money, bragging on them, and shuffling them around between agencies?  Well, just consider the source.

I was a fraud attorney for the Air Force, Navy, and Marines.  I proposed criminal prosecution against SES members who broke the laws.  None of them were ever prosecuted.  I worked for over four decades in the military and only rarely were there consequences for SES’s when they violated laws.  And there were few consequences for incompetent and inept SES’s.

My opinion for over four decades remains the same.  They need to be prosecuted for unlawful activities and fired for incompetence.  The average salary for these overpaid managers is about $166,000.  In 2016, over half of these SES’s will be eligible to retire.  This would be a good time to recruit competent supervisors from the private sector.  The system of promoting home grown federal employees into management positions has only advanced the best “suck up’s” and career advocates in the system, who were not competent enough to enter private practice.  Over the years, the federal government loses its best employees because they can make more money on the outside and they get tired of working for incompetent management.

There are outstanding retired supervisors from the private sector, who would jump at the chance to help improve the federal government.  Simply downsize the pool of SES employees through attrition.  Don’t hire replacements for those who retire.  The federal government will be better without them in the work force.  Then take that money and hire former managers from companies to run quality control surveys throughout the federal government.  These managers must have power to fire the remaining SES’s and any federal employees.  They should also be empowered to make changes that will improve our government.  They must be given the ability to recommend prosecution and terminations for cause.

Federal executives who are under fire for incompetence should be terminated.

Senior Leadership in the Federal Government Gets an F

In any school, whether elementary, junior high, high, undergraduate, or graduate level, anything under 70% on tests would be considered as failing.  The senior leaders in the federal government received an F from their employees in 2014.

The annual Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey indicated that only half of the federal employees believed that their supervisors had high standards of honesty and integrity.  This grade was down 7% since the last survey in 2011.  And the federal leadership received the same grade of 50% for a question about respect.  Most Senior Executive Service employees demanded respect, while the employees countered that they had to earn it.

The senior leaders received an even worse grade of 38% for providing high levels of motivation and commitment.  This also was down 7%, which may be more than a coincidence.

It didn’t seem to matter whether the federal agency was large or small.  The employees were all equally displeased with their managers.  Typically, the private sector is much better equipped to motivate its employees, both financially and psychologically.  Federal leaders are too busy advancing their careers and do not see their employees as being helpful to that cause.  On the other hand, corporate management incorporates its success with team building opportunities, riding on the coattails of its hard working employees.

Mid-level and high level leaders in the federal government spend most of their time speaking and not listening to their employees.  Consequently, they miss the opportunity to bond with their employees and motivate them to seek higher levels of performance.  The employees on the floor and in the field generally find better and more economical ways to do business if encouraged by management.  The federal government has a poor environment for growing ideas.

In a word, federal managers are all about “themselves.”  They basically do not care about their work force.  Their primary motivation is to advance their careers.  When they receive bonuses and promotions for decreasing the number of employees and the amounts spent on protective gear, such as bullet-proof vests, the federal employees know whose lives will be in danger to support bonuses for senior leaders.