So you’re going to be reorganized … again

“We trained hard … but it seemed that every time we were beginning to form up into teams we would be reorganized. I was to learn later in life that we tend to meet any new situation by reorganizing; and a wonderful method it can be for creating the illusion of progress while producing confusion, inefficiency, and demoralization.” — Petronius
Or …
“We trained hard, but it seemed that every time we were beginning...

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“We trained hard … but it seemed that every time we were beginning to form up into teams we would be reorganized. I was to learn later in life that we tend to meet any new situation by reorganizing; and a wonderful method it can be for creating the illusion of progress while producing confusion, inefficiency, and demoralization.” — Petronius

Or …

“We trained hard, but it seemed that every time we were beginning to form up into teams we would be reorganized. Presumably the plans for our employment were being changed. I was to learn later in life that, perhaps because we are so good at organizing, we tend as a nation to meet any new situation by reorganizing; and a wonderful method it can be for creating the illusion of progress while producing confusion, inefficiency and demoralization.” — Charlton Ogburn

Whoever wrote the above — Gaius Petronius in 49 A.D. to the Nero administration or Charlton Ogburn (soldier and State Department worker) in 1957 — had obviously been through a number of government reorganizations. Many of you are survivors of various “reinventing government”major reorganization efforts by the Carter, Reagan and Clinton administrations. Many more have survived agency-specific reorganizations, ranging from cutting nearly half the workforce (which happened at the Office of Personnel Management during the Clinton years) to moving to cubes to promote efficiency, the free flow of ideas and comradeship.

The reorganization memo was issued April 12 by Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney. It sets a June 30 deadline for plans to maximize employee performance, gives greater freedom to innovative workers and lists long-range job cuts agencies can make.

The first paragraph of his memo doesn’t pull any punches. It reads:

“Purpose and Scope: Despite growing citizen dissatisfaction with the cost and performance of the federal government, Washington often crafts costly solutions in search of a problem. Too often the focus has been on creating new programs instead of eliminating or reforming programs which are no longer operating effectively. The result has been too many overlapping and outdated programs, rules, and processes, and too many federal employees stuck in a system that is not working for the American people. Through the actions described below, President Trump aims to make government lean, accountable, and more efficient.”

To read the rest, click here

While this is clearly a call to arms to many citizens who think government has gotten too big, too slow and too big brotherish, it is déjà vu all over again for veterans of the civil service who will recognize much of the language and intent they’ve seen succeed or fizzle to varying degrees in the past.

Today on our Your Turn radio show, we’ll be talking with Jason Miller, executive editor of Federal News Radio, and Jessica Klement, legislative director for the National Active and Retired Federal Employees. Both have lots of experience in and/or covering the people side of government. They’ve been through past reorganizations and they’ll talk about how this one may be different, and what impact it will have both on agencies and the people on those agencies’ programs.

So what do you think? Is this the same-old-same-old or something different? Have you been through a reorganization before? Was it better after the dust settled? Or worse? What are you doing (or what can you do) to survive this one? We’d love to hear from ghosts of reorganizations past. Send them to me at mcausey@federalnewsradio.com. And listen today to see what two veterans of earlier reorganizations have to say.

Nearly Useless Factoid

By Michael O’Connell

A hive of bees must visit 2 million flowers in order to produce 1 pound of honey.

Source: Golden Blossom Honey

Read more from Mike Causey’s Federal Report.

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