Whether it’s liberal holdovers who disrupt conservative reforms from the inside or disqualified employees, the federal workforce is plagued with bad bureaucracy. Dr. Donald Devine, who headed the Office of Personnel Management for President Ronald Reagan, wrote a comprehensive report this week that lays out the problems with our current administrative state.

These are serious problems. Partisan appointees have “burrowed” into civil service positions, which are meant to be nonpartisan. Moreover, the workforce is unionized, and their leaders are determined to block serious reform efforts.

After all, there’s a lot of money at stake. Overall, federal employees enjoy compensation significantly higher than that of their private sector counterparts. Federal compensation totals $276 billion per year, much more than the same number of private employees would cost.

Your support allows our experts to develop conservative solutions that promise to correct federal bureaucracy. Thank you for standing with us.

Read Dr. Devine’s Report here >>

What should be done to clean up the federal bureaucracy?

Comments (18)

PHILBROOK K COLLINS - December 14, 2018

Nothing in the Federal government should be unionized. They should ALL be “at will” employees. Unions are nothing more than criminal enterprises forcing payoffs to avoid confrontation. I thought that was a CRIME !
DRAIN THE SWAMP (cesspool) !!

Judith Trees Conger - December 14, 2018

All involved in any problem need to be willing and also sign an oath to REALLY listen to every side of a situation. A consensus should be reached when those few making a final decision are treated like the people in early Williamsburg who were locked in a small room with a potty and some water and required to make a decision within 2 hours or stay in the room longer only if required to decide the problem. (No food in the room ever) Everyone should have to abide on the laws that are passed and those making the laws cannot be exempt.

lonnie atkins - December 14, 2018

GREAT presentation and right on point!!!We as citizens need to take action!! NOW!!

William Cooper - December 14, 2018

Eliminate entire departments of the federal government and sell off their assets. Start with the following departments: Education, Commerce, Labor, and Interior. Move to consolidating all intelligence and security services under the Department of Defense, eliminating their independent, competing, and bureaucratic regimes, and eliminating the Department of Homeland Security. In all federal departments, eliminate the duplication of services and efforts.

Paul Wolf - December 14, 2018

Put an end to unelected tin god bureaucrats creating law. Between judges legislating from the bench and bureaucrats doing likewise from back offices, the Congress is becoming obsolete.
Additionally, I agree with PKC. Even FDR opposed public sector unions.

John H Ross - December 14, 2018

Most all of the federal bureaus have been around for so long, they have become totally inefficient and produce nothing. They should not be part of our federal government, so the obvious answer is remove them! Let each individual state establish an office for any legitimate purpose which MUST be performed for that specific state. Fat chance of this happening!

Bruce Gustafson - December 14, 2018

V.important to have some DOJ snd FBI covictable law breakers receive some jail time. This needs to happen soon. How can our American citizens have any hope or trust without punitive action applied to the SWAMP law breakers. It should help in some awareness by some liberals. It should provide an easier path for Prrs. Trump to obtain some support from Democrat Congress members.

James D Mele - December 14, 2018

Start with a balanced budget amendment and shutdown all duplicate federal agencies. Next have an up and down vote on the proposed penny plan. Stop adding amendments on spending bills that have nothing to do with the actual purpose of the bill. Ask all of our representatives to explain what their oath of office means and how are they living up to it

Elliott Arthur - December 14, 2018

The entire country should be “a right to work state”. A perfect example is the USPS. Due to union interference, it is nearly impossible to shed incompetent employees and the nation’s mail service suffers for it. No employer should have to put up with that.

Jaime Manzano - December 15, 2018

Incentives to Improve Public Service Performance

The public sector rarely looks for savings through better management. Legislators focus mainly on new programs or expanding existing ones, accompanied by budgetary gimmickry to cover increased costs. They work for a bigger share of expenditures in their jurisdictions.

Senator Gramm of Texas was instructive. He opined that he would be against a program that planned to mine cheese from the moon, but if such a program came about, he would work tirelessly to make sure the mining operation was located in Texas.

Government employees at the same time, through their unions, view bigger government as a means to increase jobs and membership. By adding administrative layers to organizational structures, staffing opportunities multiply, and opportunities for promotions and advancements increase.

Simply put, there are no market incentives to increase public sector productivity. The public sector is much like a command economy, little different than the one used in the USSR, now reigning in Cuba, currently holding back growth in the European Union, and dominant in Venezuela, Bolivia, and Ecuador.

Can it be changed? Sure. Introduce market forces into the public sector. Simply reward bureaucrats for budgetary savings. It could work with legislators as well. For bureaucrats::

– Give civil servants, say, half the administrative costs they save as salary bonuses, or additional fringe benefits such as additions to their retirement accounts, or the funding of the college education for their kids.

Productivity would jump and cost savings would roll in like welcome summer rains.

And the savings potential? When I worked for the Social Security Administration (Deputy Assistant Commissioner for Strategic and Manpower Planning) SSA saved an average of 3 percent annually of the Agency’s wage bill for 7 years, or about 20 percent overall. Since the annual attrition rate of SSA employees was over 3 percent, the numbers of staff forced into unemployment was zero. It represented a savings of about $1 billion of administrative costs the year I left.

Not bad, for government work.

Now, here’s my proposal:

– Federal agencies should be informed that, on a selective and experimental basis, half the savings the agencies realizes in their existing administrative budgets are to be authorized for use as bonuses to employees. Such savings need to be continuous, measurable, and not a one time occurrence. They need to maintain or improve the level of service performed by the program. They need to be implemented without resorting to separations resulting in unemployment. All federal agencies may apply for participation in this initiative.

Efficiency in the use of the existing workforce can produce savings by either reducing staff, or increasing productivity. Staff reductions, however, are the most likely opportunity for savings. The fear that accompanies staff reductions can be muted or eliminated by, 1) Matching reductions to normal attrition, 2) Facilitating the transfer of employees to other agencies, 3) Training on-board staff to fill skill vacancies, 4) Opening up opportunities for employees to fill private sector, or state and local jobs, and, 5) Buy outs or early retirement. None of these options expands the roles of the unemployed.

While there are instances when legitimate increases in workload occur, savings, in such instances. can still result by redeploying underutilized existing staff, introducing improvements in processing, and using improved technology. Productivity would increase, unit cost would likely diminish, and savings would result.

Improvement measures in efficiency and increased productivity are easily obtainable from existing data. For example, the number of people served, or the product produced, can be divided by the number of employees dedicated to the work at hand. Similarly, the costs of operations can be divided either by the number of employees, or the number of units produced, or clients served. Thirdly, processing speed can be used to compare performance between different time periods. Fourthly, error rates can be established to measure wasteful duplicative effort, and quality of operations. Customer satisfaction.can be measured through surveys of clients.

The Social Security Administration used, and may still be using, such measures. Performance of offices were compared and ranked against those offices doing similar work. Regional Offices, for example, were compared, and competition between offices resulted. Further, improvements in performance, became part of executive performance reviews and bonus awards.

Based on the above, real savings in program expenditures resulted. And while a bonus system based on savings was not authorized and could not be implemented, the Commissioner chose to use savings to prepay prospective operating expenditures. The public benefited. Of substantial importance, the effort was politically feasible within the organization, the Executive, and to Congress.

A similar system can be structured to reward Members of Congress for savings in program budgets:

– Give legislators, say, half the program savings they pass for use in continuing programs in their districts. Reward their efforts to eliminate redundancies or the termination of dysfunctional programs, or the elimination of needless procedural complexities.

This is old data, but if, the Medicare bill were reduced by $5 billion by votes of 60 percent of the Congress, each legislator voting for the savings would would have about $8 million to distribute to continuing programs in their constituencies. Applied to the full budget, a practice of performance awards based on a one percent saving would generate about $400 million for re-programing by individual legislators to continuing programs in their jurisdictions.

Beats earmarking.


Jaime L. Manzano
Federal Senior Executive and Foreign Service Officer (Retired)
7904 Park Overlook Drive
Bethesda, MD 20817

Maury Hamill - December 15, 2018

Curb unions, eliminate useless departments and employees. Why work if you know you cannot be fired? A simple matter of human nature for far too many that are attracted to government jobs.

joseph Dehoust - December 15, 2018

I am a retired attorney (21 years). My
partners and I have spent the last 2
years trying work in a number of countries
in Africa. We have run into so many different types of scams it is not to be
believed. It comes down to “add 20%
for ME” at the government level.
I wont do it.
We have funds to help bring Africa
into the 21st century.
I will keep the funds available and invest
in the U.S.A.!

David L Bowden - December 15, 2018

All political appointees should have a limit on their time allowed to hold the office. Setting term limits for Congress would go a long way to solving partizen issues. Congress was never intended to be a life time job. RINOs prevented President Trump from instilling the policies the people elected him to do. RINOs are worse then liberal democrats at least the dem are upfront about their position. All election funds should be withheld from rep that do not vote conservative.

William Coates - December 15, 2018

FDR aid that unionization of the government workforce was a problem. Union membership must be optional.
It seems that our government has been learning from African governments.
I second the motions from Mr. Cooper and Mr. Wolf – they cover the real problems very well. No need to add detail.
The 9th and 10th Amendments should be used instead of federal agencies; let each state decide how much it wants to handicap its productive sector. All government must be regarded as non-productive overhead.

Diane Jones - December 15, 2018

First of all; Trump has to STOP and think before he opens his mouth or Tweets. He’s really becoming embarrassing lying. He says one thing, then says he didn’t. This has to stop.
He seems to have destroyed loyalty; he can’t get people to work for the White House. Even Christie backed out….wow. We heard he would not touch Medicare, SS, Medicaid, what is congress trying to do; destroy them. We hear the deep state is still in jobs in DC, Why? they should all be gone by now. They should be at will employees. When a new administration comes in; the old leaves. Contributions must be limited to all, PAC $ stopped, Benefits stopped, Term Limits instituted. Big Business has NO business running our government but they are. Our government is supposed to be By the People, FOR the People not the business Kings. Many of the tax perks that went to BB went to the CEOs, CFOs, VPs not to the little guys.

Denice Gerber - December 15, 2018

I have nothing to recommend over and above the great job you are already doing. Thank you.

Russ Williams - December 15, 2018

Heritage and Hillsdale should combine in an effort to keep the public informed daily about the difference between adhering to constitutional rule of the U.S. and the “kill the constitution” groupthink of too many Democrats and the Left extreme. Hillsdale is doing a fine job of educating — very fine indeed — and together with Heritage could readily ensure a daily informative message for all citizens: information like education is powerful — and just might benefit the sillythink of so-called progressives. Get it together!

conservative - December 17, 2018

Shut down the government and don’t pay the “non-essential”people who get laid off. if you need to give them 30 days notice, do it now. Eveentually some of them willl quit.
We need to do something to stop the increased oost of government before we all go to the poor house.

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