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SEA’s 2019 Legislative and Policy Agenda
With the government shutdown now in its fourth week, SEA’s efforts are focused on reopening the federal government and ensuring furloughed federal employees are made whole with back pay.
We are communicating with lawmakers, the Administration, and the public the damaging effects any lapse of appropriations and shutdown has on morale, federal recruitment and retention issues, and ultimately the ability of federal employees and agencies to deliver their missions and services for the public.
We’ve joined letters to the Hill and White House along with our colleagues in the Federal-Postal Coalition and will continue advocating to bring federal employees back to work and to open the government.
In a research report released this month that SEA helped develop, Are Declines in US Federal Workforce Capabilities Putting Our Government at Risk of Failing, makes the strong case that continued neglect of the government workforce, across all three branches of government and especially in the Executive Branch, threatens to undermine the resilience of our institutions and ultimately the government’s ability to respond.
Consequently, SEA will continue our efforts to educate and advocate in Congress on the needs for civil service, and indeed government-wide, modernization efforts, necessary to ensure the sustainment of our democratic institutions, consistent with the 10 Considerations for civil service modernization that SEA developed over 2018 through dialogue with a wide range of organizations.
Our efforts to strengthen senior career leadership, including the SES and the executive talent pipeline, will also continue as we pursue reforms consistent with those laid out in our Joint SES Policy Agenda developed in concert with the Partnership for Public Service and the Volcker Alliance.
Despite a divided Congress, we believe forward momentum and success can be achieved on specific elements of these policy agendas; for example, there is wide and bipartisan agreement that the hiring process and too many hiring authorities are a problem for the government. There are focused proposals to address this issue, and we can make progress while pursuing broader and more long-term updates to the civil service.
SEA cannot do this work alone. I encourage you to sign up for the SEA Policy Task Force by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org to express your interest.
What the SEA Policy Task Force does:
Works with the SEA Board Policy Committee, SEA President and SEA Executive Director to determine the issue areas (legislative and administrative) that SEA should focus on. Topics that may be considered by the task force include but are not limited to: talent management, SEA reform, civil service modernization, human capital policies, hiring reform, ECQs and assessments, organizational and individual performance management, etc.
The task force will review and provide insight and input on policy proposals that SEA is building, and provide feedback on policy proposals SEA is reviewing. Participants will be invited to engage in meetings with policymakers at their discretion. This task force will convene primarily via phone and email, with infrequent in-person meetings. The members of this task force serve as advisors and subject matter experts, providing personal input (not representing an agency or job position).
As we launch into 2019, SEA is looking to the future…the future of leadership in the Federal government, a future that will modernize the civil service, a future where our Nation’s citizens recognize the important role that government plays in their lives, and a future where public service is once again viewed as a noble calling.
This is an ambitious agenda, but our current state of national affairs requires nothing less. In 2018, SEA built many new coalitions and launched a number of new initiatives that will set the foundation for our work in 2019. Among those initiatives are:
Creating the Public Service Leadership as a Profession Framework: SEA’s Human Capital Leadership Community of Change created a Framework that will guide the implementation in 2019 of SEA’s Public Service Leadership as a Profession initiative. We believe there is increasing recognition across the country of the lack of leadership that is focused on restoring a public service ethic. SEA in 2019 will lead the effort to fill this vacuum in leadership with an ultimate goal of restoring public confidence in government’s ability to deliver optimal mission value. A long-time SEA Member recently sent me the following observation that is related to this effort:
“Doris Kearns Goodwin’s new bestselling book, ‘Leadership,’ as well as other similar books and events make the point that the American public recognizes this deficiency in leadership and longs for a solution. Demonstrating and articulating what leadership within the federal government means and the benefits career executive leadership provides to the American public might help to fill the present leadership void in the minds of many Americans.”
Developing the “10 Considerations for Civil Service Modernization”: SEA’s Governance Innovation Community of Change, in partnership with the Hoover Institution, hosted three Civil Service Modernization Dialogues in 2018 with a diverse group of good government groups, including the National Academy of Public Administration, Volcker Alliance, Federalist Society, Heritage Foundation and the Partnership for Public Service. These Dialogues resulted in the 10 Considerations, which fall into three general categories:
- Streamlining processes, providing sufficient resources, and promoting a cultural shift that enhances accountability in the workforce, including training of supervisors to incentivize high performers and ensuring that poor performance is appropriately addressed.
- Simplifying administrative and regulatory processes that hinder the effective and efficient functioning of government, for example hiring and procurement processes.
- Reskilling/retraining the civil service workforce to ensure that civil servants have the tools and knowledge they require to effectively deliver mission results to the American taxpayer.
Our goal in 2019 is to work with Congress, the Administration and other key stakeholders to implement these initiatives and similar ones through policy and legislation changes. If you would like to join us in this effort, drop me a line at Bill.Valdez@SeniorExecs.org.
We’re living in a populist moment. But with so much energy devoted to the question of how politics is — or isn’t — addressing this challenge, less attention has been paid to how federal leaders should take advantage of their position to help the civil service adapt.
I hope you are as excited about the upcoming SEA Annual Meeting on December 12th and the SEA Presidential Rank Awards Leadership Summit on December 13th as I am!
If you haven’t seen it, The Incredibles 2 takes place where superheroes have been made illegal for public safety reasons, with the government claiming that the good superheroes do is outweighed by the harm their well-intentioned actions cause and the concern that regular citizens don’t feel they’re in control. However, a media mogul offers to rehabilitate the heroes. He asks them, what’s the real source of their problem? Not the law, he explains, but the perception of reality that led to the law. Because the average person only sees one side of the story—the bad news that gets onto the news and the damage their heroism causes, they don’t support the work these heroes do. Because they see what others show to them, like politicians and media organizations with their own story to tell, they adopt the worldview of that viewpoint.
On October 13th, 1978, the Civil Service Reform Act was signed into law, marking the first major changes to the American civil service system since the Pendleton Act of 1883. The CSRA brought about sweeping changes to the federal government and workforce. Among its effects were the creation of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM), the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB), the Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA), the Office of Special Counsel (OSC), and the Senior Executive Service (SES).
As everyone from Congress to the White House to agencies contemplates reform, reorganizations, budgets, and modernizing the civil service, SEA is leading efforts to take a look - from a member perspective - at the root causes for many challenges endemic in the system today.
Deputy Assistant Commandant for Capability, ES-0340
Department of Homeland Security
U.S. Coast Guard
Open & Closing Dates: 07/10/2018 to 08/09/2018
Salary: $126,148 to $189,00 per year
Location: Washington, D.C.
Every organization, large or small, needs to learn from its past successes and failures. What better way to learn than from its most celebrated leaders? Federal departments and agencies can always learn from our Presidential Rank Award winners.
On May 22nd, SEA held the first of its Quarterly Leadership Dialogues for aspiring senior leaders. As part of a new initiative to provide career development assistance to Participant Members and others in the leadership pipeline, SEA has partnered with Young Government Leaders (YGL) and Treasury Executive Institute (TEI) to hold a series of informal discussions each quarter.
Predictably, prior to any substantive public debate many partisans and stakeholders quickly fled to their respective corners and talking points. As was on display during a June 27 hearing of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on the reorganization plans, Republicans generally lauded the Administration for thinking big and bold whereas Democrats generally decried the plans as half-baked notions on how to destroy the government and the civil service all at once.
Surely, reality must fall somewhere in the middle; and that is the space SEA intends to occupy. Our nation’s capital should be a crucible of ideas and vigorous debate consistent with the vision laid out by our Founding Fathers.
We at SEA have ideas, and questions, and we’re not shy about sharing them.
With increased longevity and medical advancements, many retirees are concerned about the possibility of outliving their savings. And when it comes to retirement, you want to enjoy it―and that means you want to be prepared. There are many considerations to think about in retirement besides your living expenses, such as where you live, family support, your health, and the rising costs of care. That’s why it’s so important to plan now for any long term care you may need.
As this new year begins, we’d like to take a moment to reflect on the past as far too many of you still think you are immune to allegations of wrongdoing, regardless of how many times we reinforce the need to have professional liability insurance. Unfortunately, ignorance is expensive.