Daily Dose: Get Off a Govie’s Back Already!

Earlier this year, GovLoop’er Sandy Ressler posted one of our most popular posts of the year, entitled “I Am a Government Employee and I Am NOT the Enemy.” Well, it turns out that public sentiment hasn’t budged an inch, according to this story from The Washington Post:

Public servants feel sting of budget rancor

Here are a couple excerpts:

More and more, when politicians talk about government employees – whether they are federal, state or local – it is with the kind of umbrage ordinarily aimed at Wall Street financiers and convenience store bandits.

Officials of public employee unions say they have felt political wrath before, but that this time, it feels different.

“The extent and the depth of it is new. This is a concerted, deep attack on public employees and public workers,” said Gerald W. McEntee, president of the 1.6-million-member American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.

Back in March, most of the respondents to Sandy’s post said that they were still proud to be a public servant…and that the real problem is media coverage on one hand and bad marketing by government on the other. So let’s take a temperature here:

Do you think public perception about government employees will ever change?

Or will this public sector blame game continue indefinitely?

Eager to get your thoughts…


“Daily Dose of the Washington Post” is a new blog series created by GovLoop in partnership with The Washington Post. If you see great stories in the Post and want to ask a question around it, please send them to [email protected].

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As someone who has covered and observed government and politics for decades, I have my doubts that the public perception of government employees will change much. Tumulty and O’Keefe point out the political calculators have found those who run against the government bureaucracy can often win elections.

But , Frank Luntz particularly knew that individual programs have friends. So, one of the best ways to change perceptions is to make public compelling stories about the implementation of successful programs. At The Public Manager we feature articles about government leadership that works.

Keep us posted on your best practices, innovations facilitated by new technologies, and strategies for achieving results. Click here to submit ideas.

William Wylie

I think we do a lot to shoot ourselves in the metaphorical foot. Let’s look at some of the posts (in blogs, newspapers, and forums) from alleged feds discussing the shutdown. Saying things like “GREAT! I can use the vacation!” or “Last time we did this I went to Vale for two weeks and got PAID for it!” doesn’t help our cause at all.

Do you honestly think this kind of input makes the unemployed or underemployed in America like us any better?

Gary Lyon

I can only speak from my State gov experience but I believe the stereotyping will always exist in some form. I have found the best way to take the wind out the naysayer’s sails is to proactively build strong relationships with employees, constituents and the political folks, and follow the behaviors detailed in Covey’s “Speed of Trust” on an organizational level. I developed a “Proclamation of Trustworthiness” based on Covey’s 13 trust-building behaviors and saw an agency that implemented it experience a radical transformation in their employee/management relationships and their internal/external constituent relationship.