Skip to comments.Davis to Push Bill Allowing President to Reorganize Agencies
Posted on 01/26/2003 11:53:46 AM PST by anymouse
House Government Reform Committee Chairman Tom Davis, R-Va., said Wednesday that he plans to push legislation that would give the president broad authority to reorganize federal agencies. His goal is to get the measure through Congress by August.
Its clear that you cant take the existing structure into the 21st century, Davis said during a luncheon sponsored by the Partnership for Public Service, a nonprofit group focused on improving the governments recruitment and retention record. We need to give the administration reorganization authority where they can move ahead without specific congressional authorization in every case.
According to Davis, the public holds the administration responsible for results, but the administration cant do its job without the authority to reorganize.
Theres going to be resistance [to reorganization], Davis said. There are people who want to do this a step at a time, they want to hold it upsome of them are people who are just fighting for their turf, both in Congress and in the federal agencies themselves, Davis said. Every agency reorganization shouldnt have to go through a long protracted review in Congress, agency by agency, at a time when, in my judgment, more consolidation makes a lot of sense.
Revamping the outdated civil service system will be another priority for the committee, Davis said.
The key for us as we look at the civil service and the government bureaucracies . . .is to try to make it more streamlined, more efficient and more effective, and the way to do that is to revamp it significantly, Davis said. Getting hired and getting fired are two of the most difficult things in the federal sector today.
Davis said many of the recommendations of the National Commission on the Public Service for revamping the federal government are a good jumping-off point for the Government Reform Committee because of their close fit with the Presidents Freedom to Manage initiative. The Bush initiative, crafted by NASA Administrator Sean OKeefe while he was deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget, seeks to provide a more flexible pay system than the General Schedule and link employee compensation more closely to job performance.
We need to make investments in our people, Davis said. We need a new structure in terms of how we recruit, in how we retain, in how we reward and how we terminate people. Were dealing in many cases with a seniority system in the government today that discourages people from staying in government, from being more productive [and] from taking initiative.
The best way to make a transition to a pay-for-performance environment is not clear, the lawmaker said, adding it would require feedback from all the stakeholders, including union leaders, Senior Executive Service members, management personnel, and good government experts, such as Paul Volcker, former Federal Reserve Board chairman and head of the National Commission on the Public Service.
Inaction is really not an option . . . at this point, Davis said. There have got to be sweeteners for federal workers [they] need to understand at the end of the day, those who are out there doing their jobs, that there is a reward for this.
Davis said other issues on the committees agenda include recruitment and retention in the federal workplace, ending pay compression in the Senior Executive Service, linking workforce planning more closely to agencies strategic plans and reintroducing the Services Acquisition Reform Act, procurement legislation Davis sponsored during the last congressional session.
However you feel about government being too big or too small, or the role of government, I think we all agree that the government needs to be effective, Davis said.
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