Monday, December 6, 2010

Political Appointees

In this era of Federal Employees being denied their raises as a token gesture toward easing the budget deficit, I am surprised that no one has addressed the role of political appointees in the Federal Government. In my experience, political appointees are usually placed in relatively high positions reporting to the head of the agency, who perhaps should be the only political appointee in any agency. Nevertheless, these other placements do occur and are rampant in some agencies. In all cases I've observed, which were many, these appointees were not qualified for the positions they held, had no understanding of the mission nor the culture of the agency, and usually only obstructed activities rather than try to create new methods or processes to improve government. While I am unaware of the salaries of these appointees, I would be very surprised if they were not sufficiently high to satisfy the recipient expectation of payment for their support during a past campaign.

Casting Federal Employees with a broad brush and treating them all the same, as the salary freeze did, is wrong. Most civil servants are hard working and deserve to be paid a just wage for the level of experience and education that they have. Critics who compare Federal Employees' wages with wages in the civilian workforce usually do not take into account that the more menial tasks of government work are not carried out by government employees but by contractors.

There is fat in the Federal Employee workforce, and it is the political appointee. Ridding the government of all such appointees except for agency heads who are cabinet members, would not only reduce the Federal budget for salaries, but would in all likelihood increase the efficiency of the Federal government and increase morale among employees who might then have a upward position to aspire to that is not "taken" by a political hack. I strongly believe that the total Federal employee budget and the number of Federal "employees" can be reduced in one move and result in a stronger, more efficient government. Simply get rid of the political spoils process that allows, sometimes rampant, hiring of political employees into non-agency-head positions.

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