Streamlining the Federal Workforce: A Federal Human Resource Professional Shares His Prescription for What the New Administration Can Do to Improve Agency Service Delivery and Customer Responsiveness. (Article)

By Winchell, Sr., T. E. | The Public Manager, Fall 2001 | Go to article overview

Streamlining the Federal Workforce: A Federal Human Resource Professional Shares His Prescription for What the New Administration Can Do to Improve Agency Service Delivery and Customer Responsiveness. (Article)


Winchell, Sr., T. E., The Public Manager


The Clinton administration attempted to improve federal agency service delivery and customer responsiveness. Yet the National Partnership for Reinventing Government (NPR) did not achieve its goals of decentralizing operations and delayering agency structures. The current White House chief of staff and Office of Management and Budget (OMB) have issued guidance to agencies emphasizing results this time around. This article begins with an overview of current reality. A list of potential barriers to effectively complying with recently issued OMB guidance follows. It concludes with a series of recommendations for meeting the president's mandate while addressing agency-unique requirements.

The Legacy of the NPR

On inauguration day, January 20, 2001, Andrew H. Card Jr., White House chief of staff, issued a White House memorandum on government hiring controls. The purpose of the controls was clearly articulated:

...during the campaign, the president expressed his desire to make government more responsive to the needs of citizens, more efficient, and more accountable. The president articulated his view of an effective federal government--one that is citizen-centered, results-oriented, and characterized by quality of service. To help meet these important goals, the president proposed, among other things, to flatten the federal hierarchy by redistributing positions and resources from high-level managerial positions to front-line, service delivery jobs.

The purpose of the hiring controls was targeted, focused, and unambiguous. Nor were they distinctly different in emphasis from the stated organizational design objectives of former Vice President Gore's NPR. The 1993 NPR report pledged the Clinton administration to increasing the ratio of managers to employees from 1:7 to 1:15. The 1:15 target was established as reflective of the private sector average and indicative of the assumption that private sector models could be applied to improve management of federal operations.

In 1994, Vice President Gore outlined his vision for establishing a more customer-focused federal government by dismantling strict hierarchies and emphasizing results. He envisioned an environment where employees were empowered to solve their customer's problems through practices that encouraged expanding and integrating organizational boundaries and encouraging direct communication by management with its front-line employees.

Government Downsizing

Between fiscal years (FY) 1992 and 1995, the pace of downsizing overall was ahead of the targets of the Workforce Restructuring Act. Yet supervisory positions in defense agencies decreased by only 0.8 percent and in non-defense agencies by 0.9 percent. Even these figures were misleading, since 19 of 24 agencies surveyed by the General Accounting Office acknowledged reducing their supervisory ratios by restructuring supervisory positions into nonsupervisors or team leaders.

According to the Office of Personnel Management's (OPM) most recent Fact Book, the percentage of supervisors and managers was 12.1 percent in 1989, 12.6 percent in 1992, 11.6 percent in 1995, and 11.1 percent in 1999. More troublesome is the fact that between 1994 and 1999 the number of GS-13 through GS-15 positions (i.e., the managerial ranks) continued to grow. There was a rather linear growth of GS-13 and GS-15 positions and a skewed path of GS-14 positions between 1986 and 1999 as depicted in Figure 1.

The total number of GS-13 through GS-15 positions increased from 228,565 in 1986 to 319,974 in 1999 (40 percent). From 1994 through 1999, the number increased from 315,424 to 319,974 (1.42 percent). The common wisdom is that the average grade of the federal workforce has steadily increased over the years due to automation of lower-graded clerical work and contracting out of disparate government operations. Neither successfully explains the growth of GS-13, 14, and 15 positions. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Streamlining the Federal Workforce: A Federal Human Resource Professional Shares His Prescription for What the New Administration Can Do to Improve Agency Service Delivery and Customer Responsiveness. (Article)
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.