Obama to federal managers: Get to work
Bosses in the private sector may send memos to middle managers on a regular basis, but President Obama on Tuesday will take the rare step of reaching out directly to almost 8,000 career government managers.
The president will tell members of the Senior Executive Service that his administration will use a new Web site to track how quickly federal agencies are implementing a series of budgetary and management reforms, according to a draft version of an e-mail memo acquired by The Washington Post. (See it below.)
In the next two years Obama's Accountable Government Initiative aims to cut wasteful government spending and no-bid contracts while also implementing rigorous government transparency requirements, information technology upgrades and a faster federal job application process.
"This is not just about lines on a spreadsheet or numbers in a budget," Obama wrote in the draft memo. "When government does not work like it should, it has a real effect on people's lives."
"As the most senior managers in the federal government, you know how essential the work you and your colleagues do is to the nation," Obama says. "You also are aware what happens when your best efforts are thwarted by outdated technologies and outmoded ways of doing business."
The Web site, Performance.gov, is already in use among top administration officials and should be available for public use by November, according to the Office of Management and Budget. Directly communicating with the government's top career managers should help accelerate the ongoing reforms, said OMB Deputy Director Jeffrey Zients.
"These career managers are the people on the front lines managing these agencies day to day," Zients said in an interview. "We need them to work with their staffs, the front line workers to improve performance among agencies."
Obama's memo is the first direct presidential communication with SES members since President George H. W. Bush met with career managers in the early days of his administration, according to Carol A. Bonosaro, president of the Senior Executives Association. The group represents about one-third of SES members.
"I hope it will be just the first in a series of steps to establish communication with career executives, to recognize their accomplishments, and to see them as real partners in accomplishing the administration's goals," Bonosaro said.
Is this a good move by Obama or would it take more than a memo to win you over?
Leave your thoughts in the comments section below
• Question of the Week: How do you think your federal benefits stack up against benefits offered with a comparable job in the private sector? E-mail your answer to firstname.lastname@example.org and include your full name, home town and the agency for which you work. We might include your response in Friday's Washington Post.
• Cabinet and Staff News: President Obama formally re-nominates several recess appointments, including Alan Bersin to lead Customs and Border Protection, Donald Berwick to lead Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Elisabeth Ann Hagen to serve as undersecretary for food safety and Mari Carmen Aponte to serve as ambassador to El Salvador. Valerie Jarrett laughs off suggestions she'll replace Rahm Emanuel. Elizabeth Warren might serve as interim director of the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton diving back in to the Middle East peace process.
• Army band to get a $4.4 million home in Ala.: The 16,000-square-foot brick building will include a large rehearsal room, individual practice rooms, a music library, uniform locker rooms, band administration offices and an instrument storage, cleaning and repair shop.
• EPA regulations face markup showdown: Thursday may be high noon for efforts to block the Obama administration from regulating carbon dioxide emissions.
• News rater, anti-Palin group get govt Gulf work: The federal government hired a New Orleans man for $18,000 to appraise whether news stories about its actions in the Gulf oil spill were positive or negative for the Obama administration.
• Why so many SES jobs go unfilled: Experts say it's a problem that has come into sharp focus recently because of the Obama administration's efforts to reform the federal hiring process.
• DOJ expects to file civil suit in gulf oil spill: The agency cited several statutes under which the federal government could bring suits and claim damages, including the Clean Water Act and the Oil Pollution Act.
• Violent crime declines, FBI says: Violent crime was down 5.3% and property crime declined 4.6%, according to its full-year statistics released Monday.
• Probe in New Black Panther case: The Justice Department's internal watchdog is investigating allegations that its civil rights division enforced voting laws in a racially discriminatory manner.
SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION:
• Disability claims rising sharply at Social Security: It's heightening concern that the jobless are expanding the program beyond its intended purpose of aiding the disabled.
• Rising number of small banks are becoming TARP 'deadbeats': The latest report from the agency shows that more than 120 institutions - nearly all of them small banks - have missed their scheduled quarterly dividend payments.
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OBAMA'S LETTER TO SES MEMBERS (DRAFT VERSION):
THE FULL MEMO (DRAFT VERSION):
Memo to the SES on the Accountable Government Initiative
| September 14, 2010; 6:00 AM ET
Categories: Administration, Eye Opener
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