The Greater Los Angeles Area YGL will maintain an environment that educates, inspires & transforms federal employees into prized promotable assets & be models for organization management that will be admired & emulated by agencies.
YGL-LA: Efficiencies of Today are the Dependencies of Tomorrow
June 25, 2012 at 7:51 pm #164908
The Government’s extensive executive branch exists primarily to provide essential services to our nation’s citizens. What is an essential service? This question can be a catalyst for divisive and politically charged debates amongst friends and family. From a Government worker’s perspective, the answer usually involves the job that they perform or the agency they work for. The best answer, in my opinion, is that “essential services” are a moving target that changes over time. For example, Global Positioning Satellites now provide essential signals required to run banking transactions and land aircraft. Are there any recently identified “essential services” the Government should be providing it currently does not?
The rudder that turns the gargantuan air craft carrier of bureaucratic change unfortunately takes a fairly long time to change course. Political entrenchment and process versus product focus can drive a Government agency to worry more about expenditure goals than what service they are actually providing the tax payers. The parcel and mail systems, once dominated by the Government are now rife with privatized competition and robust infrastructure. Would it make sense to discontinue the US Postal Service? Are there any other older, lingering “essential services” the Government should not be providing?
History is wrought with examples of the Government transitioning services to the private sector, with some successes and some failures (e.g., postal air mail routes or pockets of the education system). In an era of tight budgets, getting down to these essential questions will help the macro-Government machine whittle down spending as well as the agency level prioritize the products and services they provide. Would you be willing to categorize your job as non-essential?
June 26, 2012 at 6:18 am #164914
So true. Someone just lectured me today about their lack of motivation to fight unnecessary processes at our agency and just going with the flow until retirement. “I’ll leave this for you young people.” Why does this happen?! Sad that this seems to be a “known” part of government. But I feel times are changing. Taxpayers now demand change, use of available technology and innovation, cutting of government waste and doing more with less.
Also, the public sector is currently being required to be efficient through very tight budgets and doing away with non-essential services and positions. Check out the California budget process and watch how many “non-essential” services and departments are cut soon. Non-essential, however, will always be in the eye of the beholder…
Great questions though. Remember the Feds just went through warnings of government shutdown and asked federal employees to prepare for days off without pay, unless, you were classified essential to national security, etc. I wonder how those employees classified non-essential felt at that time. Does that mean their services are ultimately not needed? Does anyone remember who was classifying federal agencies/positions as essential or non-essential? What guidelines did they use?
June 26, 2012 at 12:39 pm #164912
Check out the NY Times article on privatization from Sunday as well – kind of interesting – https://www.govloop.com/forum/topics/privating-gov-t-services-makes-sense
June 26, 2012 at 6:15 pm #164910
As a government employee it’s hard to think about these things. As a citizen and tax-payer it’s easy. Your question of essential vs non-essential is the most basic and most divisive question in modern politics; it’s really what seperates the two (or more) political parties. But of course, the answers are much more complicated than the question.
Would I be willing to categorize my job as non-essential? No. But if I thought it really was non-essential then I would expand the boundries of my job to help colleagues that are “essential.”
Deciding essential vs. non-essential is the job of Congress. Ultimately, I think they do listen to the people once a tipping point in support for a cause is reached. Which is why I’m intrigued about crowdsourcing government; I think change can only be driven by the people and crowdsourcing is a great tool for change.
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