Civil Service "Reform" or "Modernization?"
There is a growing realization in Washington that the civil service system isn’t “broken” and in need of “reform.” Instead, the civil service system, which was created in 1883 through the Pendleton Act and “reformed” in 1978 through the Civil Service Reform Act, is in dire need of modernization.
The simple reality is that the civil service system is creaking and groaning under the weight of 125 years of rules, regulations, laws and practices/processes. This system, which was elegant in its original construction, is now a bureaucratic beast that requires deep study and analysis in order to bring the Executive Branch up to speed and able to deal with the dynamic and disruptive challenges we are facing in the 21st Century.
The Senior Executives Association is driving the dialogue that could point to ways to achieve civil service modernization. Three primary activities are key:
- The SEA Governance Innovation Community of Change has hosted two dialogues on modernization in partnership with the Hoover Institution, with a third scheduled for September 11th. These dialogues have a goal of building a coalition of the willing who agree to a broad set of modernization principles and efforts.
- SEA led a series of Modernization Workshops this summer that identify specific and achievable policies and legislation that will achieve short-term and highly impactful modernization goals, such as improved performance management and flexible hiring authorities.
- SEA’s Human Capital Leadership Community of Change is organizing a Public Service Leadership as a Profession initiative that will transform how Federal leaders are developed and restore leadership practices to what was envisioned in the Constitution and in the Merit Principles.
These three initiatives are all oriented toward delivering results in time for Senior Executives Association Professional Development League's 2018 Presidential Rank Leadership Summit, which will be held December 13th at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, DC.
And our end goal? We want to restore the notion that public service is a noble calling and that the Federal government will continue to be responsive to the needs of our Nation in these disruptive and dangerous times. No small ambition, but we believe it is achievable and, most importantly, vitally important to our national interest.
If you wish to join in this effort, please do not hesitate to reach out to me directly at Bill.Valdez@seniorexecs.org. Also, please be on the lookout for Member Alerts that ask for volunteers to work on these and related initiatives.