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Eye Opener: The Government Needs a Slogan

By Ed O'Keefe

Eye Opener

Happy Wednesday! The federal government must quickly address the impending brain drain stemming from anticipated retirements and should re-brand itself as the nation's premier employer, according to a new study (or sales pitch cloaked in academic jargon) set for release today.

"If we don’t take advantage of this historic opportunity, hundreds of thousands of Americans will continue to suffer economic hardship, when they could be putting their diverse and vast talents to work for America," write co-authors Phyllis Horne, Pamela Foss and Scott Leslie. "Meanwhile, the nation will suffer from the government’s inability to quickly supplement and replace those qualified employees who are choosing to retire from government service as well as fill new positions being created to execute the economic stimulus package.

The trio authored "A Call to Public Service: A Historic Opportunity to Build a Smarter Government," which reiterates conventional concerns about the government's hiring mess (it stinks, takes forever and needs fixing) and then suggests that President Obama declare the situation a national crisis and hire an ad agency to develop a "full-scale branding, marketing, advertising and public relations campaign" that makes Americans feel good about public service and eager to work for the federal government.

"This campaign should clearly and compellingly position America as the Employer of Choice and motivate dedicated, experienced Americans of all employable ages to apply for existing and future vacancies," the authors write.

In an interview, Horne noted that applications submitted to have skyrocketed amid the national economic decline, creating even more headaches for government recruiters already taxed with identifying and processing qualified candidates.

"Unless we re-brand America as the employer of choice, we can’t be sure that the increased number of applications are coming from people who really value public service instead of people who have no other choice," she said.

So in an effort to get the ad campaign started, The Eye whipped up a few possible slogans (with apologies to the Marines, AT&T, Volkswagen and McDonalds):

• "The Few. The Proud. The Bureaucrats."
• “Reach out and serve someone.”
• "Public Servants Wanted."
• "I'm Servin' It."

Next, the government will need a sturdy, reliable spokesman, preferably from a network television drama. (Think Sam Waterson or Dennis Haysbert.) The Eye thinks the government should consider hiring Lawrence Fishburne, Rob Lowe or Kyle Chandler. (We'd suggest Kiefer Sutherland, but his recent antics might muddy the message.)

Got better suggestions? (We hope you do!) Leave them in the comments section below.

Cabinet and Staff News: Obama's National Service pick bows out. Janet Napolitano signs border pact with Canadian officials. Timothy Geithner travels to Massachusetts to announce the national recipients of $1.5 billion in tax credits from the economic stimulus package. Secretaries Arne Duncan and Shaun Donovan visit Montana to dole out recovery funds to Native american communities. On her first day, Margaret "Peggy" Hamburg signals she sees FDA as a public-health agency, not just an organization that helps the food and drug industry market products.

In other news...

Obama Integrates Security Councils, Adds New Offices: He will merge the staffs of the Homeland Security Council and the National Security Council to speed up and unify security policymaking inside the White House.

Civilian Officials Killed in Iraq: State Department employee Terrence Barnich, 56, deputy director of the department's Iraq Transition Assistance Office in Baghdad was among those killed.

Interior Botches Officials' Passports, Report Finds: The department's IG finds widespread mishandling and erratic tracking of special passports issued to department officials traveling overseas.

Indian Health Service Continues to Mismanage Property: A senior official got a big bonus despite missing property, according to a draft GAO report.

Taming a Presidential Appointment Process 'Gone Bonkers': The moderate Democratic Leadership Council has published a new paper called "An Easy Fix for the Appointment Crunch."

Congress to Give FDA New Authority Over Tobacco Products: The legislation, long resisted by the tobacco industry, could allow consumers to see for the first time what chemicals and other additives tobacco companies put in their products.

By Ed O'Keefe  | May 27, 2009; 6:00 AM ET
Categories:  Eye Opener  
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Next: Cabinet Marks 100 Days of Stimulus


How about? Public Service-An Investment in America.

Posted by: cdierd1944 | May 27, 2009 8:05 AM | Report abuse

As safe as it gets.

Posted by: GaryEMasters | May 27, 2009 8:29 AM | Report abuse

Government Service - a middle class welfare program.

Posted by: whocares666 | May 27, 2009 9:43 AM | Report abuse

Premier employer? Oh, please...everyone knows government is the employer of last resort. No matter how you "brand" it!

Posted by: AEB2 | May 27, 2009 10:19 AM | Report abuse

I hardly think the Federal Government is the "ideal" employer at this time. Until the personnel practices, such as nepotism, pre-selection, and age discrimination are addressed, and OPM should be the audit agency, the Fed is a flawed employer at best.

Posted by: pmaley | May 27, 2009 10:24 AM | Report abuse

govt service is kinda like other entitlement programs. either they hire people or pay them with welfare food stamps etc. there are
quite a few extra workers where i work. No one and i mean no one is about to retire. they have been saying that for years. The biggest problem first days on the job people asked where i sat not where i worked.

Posted by: jayp1 | May 27, 2009 10:30 AM | Report abuse

If the United States were creating and managing its brand the way the way say Coca Cola or Nike manage theirs, the individual government organizations would be equivalent to Coke’s sub-brands like Fanta, Dasani water, etc; or Nike’s various shoe lines. Because each government organization and program has a unique message and mission. But all would be far stronger under a well-branded and well-managed overarching employer brand called Call to Public Service overseen by a presidential appointee or cross-governmental work group and guided by a talented and professional company experienced in these matters. And as for the brand, if the President were to mandate and fund this, along with funding anything that would make getting a job with the feds easier and faster, the brand would be true and would work and we’d certainly be able to address this crisis. No matter WHAT the naysayers say. And a great marketing/advertising firm and private sector recruitment process outsourcing companies could help tremendously.

Posted by: Yankeefan51 | May 27, 2009 4:17 PM | Report abuse

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