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U.S. Archivist acknowledges morale problems at his agency

By Lisa Rein
Lisa Rein

Eye OpenerBy The Post's Lisa Rein
It can't be easy to acknowledge to the public and your employees that morale at your agency has hit the skids. But David S. Ferriero, the U.S. Archivist, did just that after the National Archives emerged last week as the lowest-ranked large federal agency in a survey of federal employees' views about their job.

Ferriero put out a lengthy press release --something more commonly used for self-congratulation -- on the heels of the closely watched "Best Places to Work" rankings by the Partnership for Public Service. He noted that he encouraged the Archives' 3,200 employees across the country to respond to the survey, and 82 percent did -- the highest participation rate in the government.

Ferriero, who arrived nine months ago, acknowledged in an interview that one of the biggest problems with morale is a sense that employees do not have a clearly defined career path, and many feel stuck.

"I want all of our employees, regardless of where in the agency they work, to feel valued and have pride in this agency," Ferriero wrote in his release. "We are on the path to change."

He noted that he has been on a listening tour of 21 Archives offices around the country to meet the staff and hear their concerns. Last week he sent all employees a follow-up survey that solicited suggestions on how to improve the agency's work environment.

"Within the first day we received 343 responses," he wrote. And he said that he has set up a task force in the agency to sort through the ideas and implement them.

In other news:
The FDA considers approving a genetically modified animal, a salmon for human consumption.

• A council created by the new financial reform law has a big mission.

• NTSB renews its call for small children to have their own seats on airplanes, in the wake of a deadly crash in Montana.

By Lisa Rein  | September 7, 2010; 6:00 AM ET
Categories:  Agencies and Departments, Ask Your Government, Eye Opener  
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It would be a good guess to say that many agencies in the Federal government are trying to recover from the decimation of morale under the Bush administration. The hiring practices under Bush were simple: Be a Republican, be a relative, be a crony, or be of a certain religion. The Obama administration should rid itself of many HR personnel who were put in place under Bush/Cheney.

Posted by: pkbishop1 | September 8, 2010 11:34 AM | Report abuse

This so-called agency-wide survey was not a proper survey and nothing but a shill to the federal workers. No one throughout the departments in DoD knew about any survey, so I will only guess that the participates were upper management selected. I would almost betcha that the DoD (acquisition and intelligence) could most likely be at the top of this so-called "worst" places to work. Like any other place, you have your hand-full of cronies because of nepotism, cronyism, favoritism... that will respond highly. The rest of the REAL work force didn't get the word about a survey and are the losers once again. Reagan started the federal worker hate machine... both Bush continued the stream... now Obama is fitting the same hat!

Posted by: darbyohara | September 9, 2010 6:33 AM | Report abuse

If you don't like it, try to get a real job, stupid teabaggers.

Posted by: jiji1 | September 10, 2010 3:53 PM | Report abuse

Trying to blame each other for the Fedgov being so bad is like two guys in a canoe headed over Niagara Falls pointing at each other because they both forgot their paddles. It is so sad for otherwise educated people who allow the wool to be pulled over their own eyes. The Fedgov is in fact not the real (spending) problem, the main issue is the Federal Reserve which creates debt at the expense of US taxpayers to give to the banks.

Posted by: shred11 | September 10, 2010 5:26 PM | Report abuse

Sorry BKbishop, you have NO clue how low morale is in MANY agencies with THIS wonderful administration. I have NEVER seen so many political appointees who have NO clue how to do their job and their disinterest in actually learning what their office does. It absolutely disgusts me and I can't wait til the next turnover of administration.

Posted by: NY_VA_Govvie | September 11, 2010 1:31 PM | Report abuse

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