Op-ed knocks Scott Brown's comments on federal workers
Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) should consider federal workers a useful resource instead of a taxpayer expense, according to an op-ed published in today's Boston Globe.
"Civil servants are always an easy punching bag for politicians, but Brown is incorrect about civil service salaries and his call for a hiring and pay freeze is shortsighted," write Harvard University professor Linda Bilmes and Partnership for Public Service CEO Max Stier.
Bilmes teaches at the Harvard John F. Kennedy School of Government and wrote, "The People Factor: Strengthening America by Investing in Public Service.’’ Stier's nonpartisan think tank has completed several significant studies on the federal workforce and government operations.
The op-ed responds to Brown's recent comments to Barbara Walters that: "We need to put a freeze on federal hires and federal raises because, as you know, federal employees are making twice as much as their private counterparts."
More from Bilmes and Stier:
The fundamental mistake underlying Brown’s “fix’’ is to think of the federal workforce as a cost rather than as a resource that delivers specific benefits to the nation. Failure to invest in this resource will have dire consequences.
Last month, the bipartisan Commission for the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation and Terrorism warned of the high likelihood of a bioterrorist attack. It criticized the administration and Congress for their “abject failure’’ to “commit to spending what is required to recruit, hire, train, and retain a qualified, motivated national security workforce.’’ A new book, “Broker, Trader, Lawyer, Spy,’’ by Eamon Javers, describes how the CIA allows intelligence officers to moonlight for corporations to prevent them from moving full-time to the private sector -- where they could earn double or triple their government salaries.
Brown is right to take an interest in the federal workforce, but he should devote his energies to ensuring that the federal government recruits, trains and retains excellence in the civil service. This includes helping college graduates in Massachusetts locate public service jobs in government.
Read the full op-ed here.
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