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Federal Employees News Digest : March 18, 2013
Phil Piemonte, Managing Editor E-mail: email@example.com What's Inside44 March 18, 2013 • Vol. 62, No. 33 Best solutions come from real dialogue, leadership expert says This week, FEND’s Nathan Abse inter- views Robert Denhardt, director of lead- ership programs and professor of pub- lic administration at the University of Southern California. Denhardt has been a leader on issues affecting government employees, at USC and, previously, at Arizona State University and other insti- tutions. Denhardt is the author of The Dance of Leadership, and currently is focusing on leadership issues and how to provide more effective leadership in the public and private sectors. Denhardt offers FEND readers some thoughts on the sequester, the impending furloughs, the longer-term impact of these actions on federal employees, and the general state of the legislative process in Congress. With the failure of Capitol Hill and the White House to come up with a compro- mise, we now have the sequester—and furloughs—upon us. What will happen, and who will suffer in the coming months? Denhardt: I expect the effects will be pretty severe in terms of both harm to employees and to the mission of federal agencies. I would imagine that we’re look- ing at thousands of employees who may end up with furloughs and even losing their jobs, and so that will negatively affect agency mission too. I suspect that the fall- out will go beyond the direct impact on employees and their work. It will and is creating a wave of concern throughout the federal service. It is creating uncertainty about where the next cut might come from, and whether it will involve you—if you’re a federal employee. So, I think what we’re looking at is very serious. The next issue for many employees has been this: Is there any hope for the fur- loughs to be headed off or reduced as the Congress addresses the CR and other politically related issues? Denhardt: That’s of course hard to pre- dict. But I’m not hopeful of that. I don’t see any current signs that the sides are coming together. Congress has missed deadline after deadline trying to do something about the sequester. I just don’t see any- thing on the horizon that will change that. You’ve written, in more hopeful times, on what you called the “new public ser- vice.” Now you’re talking about how the sequester and furloughs will be hanging over everyone’s head and causing trouble for a long time. In terms of the functional- ity of these employees, in their work, and the agencies themselves, what do you see five or 10 years out? Denhardt: The jobs and tasks of fed- eral employees are very significant. These employees are doing very significant work in all kinds of fields—from transporta- Lag time Ihave a friend, very smart guy with a somewhat sour disposition. For him, I think, the glass is always half empty. Never half full. He’s got his reasons, and I enjoy his company though I wish he would laugh, or at least smile, more. That said ... He thinks the government is always a late bloomer when it comes to dealing with its own people. He’s a former long- time fed who served in half a dozen agen- cies, because he was so good at his job. But he said the job wasn’t very good to him, or to his coworkers. My long-suffering fed friend has a theory about a lot of things. One of them is that federal agencies, often driven by Congress, frequently reinvent the wheel. That they keep on trying things that, for whatever reason, don’t work. Or simply aren’t good ideas, which have been discredited before the government adopts them. On more than one occasion he’s said things like: “Why is the government always behind the curve when it comes to innovations and practices compared to the private sector?” He gives several exam- ples, only one of which I can remember. That example occurred during the “Bush 43” administration, when pay-for- performance (not for the first time) reared insight by mike causey continued on page 2 For more news...see Federal Daily at www.FederalDaily.com • Ryan budget sounds familiar notes 3 • CRs continue pay freeze 4 • In Brief 5 • Informed Investor 8 • Federal Benefits Q&A 10 continued on page 3
March 11, 2013
March 25, 2013