Biden’s New OPM Director May Be Among His Most Critical Appointees. Here’s Why. | Talking Points Memo

This article is part of TPM Cafe, TPM’s home for opinion and news analysis. 


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://talkingpointsmemo.com/?p=1379253

Ever since I started in the Civil Service the repeated mantra is “Do More With Less” and the consequences be damned. My agency is short staffed and we’re swamped with backlogs. Trump and his cronies didn’t care. I am hoping that things will change!

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Government agencies should seek to re-hire staff discouraged by Trump and his anti-agency collaborators. They ought to also take to heart the lessons of COVID. Many people can work from home. Many more people can work outside of the Washington bubble.

When people are asked about their jobs, few would reply, “I love the bureaucracy and layers and layers of arcane rules.” HR may be more guilty of creating rule-bound systems than most other functions - fairness is really important and rules are meant to ensure it. But such rules in the hands of bad people leads to worse outcomes than simple principles in the hands of good ones. The job of the leader is to establish a vibrant mission and the culture to support it. Employees are far more likely to be inspired by those things than the chance to work in a sclerotic, bureaucratic abyss.

Let’s hope Ahuja understands that.

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If only. “Didn’t care” implies indifference, and they very much did care about intentionally and maliciously sabotaging the ability of government to function at all. Whether it’s starving the IRS budget so they can’t investigate any but the least complicated (read: not the rich) cases of tax fraud, undermining the ability of the post office to fulfill its constitutionally mandated role, undercutting the independence of inspectors general, hounding career diplomats out of their jobs, gutting scientific staff, … the list goes on and on.

So yeah, Ms. Ahuja has her work cut out for her. Thank God we’ve got an administration in place that knows how government works, and believes that it ought to work.

Courage! Help is on the way.

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Bureaucracy gets a bad rap but you can’t run a modern state without it and if that state also expects to remain a free democratic republic you had better not shortchange the process of defining and building it. Full stop.

“Civilization is a place to hang the broom.” - Eric Hoffer

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Do you mean that the departments are not “keeping my resume on file” !:astonished:

I’ve never heard of HR departments making good, reasoned decisions. They seem to rely on abstract checklists with little regard for a candidate’s qualities and real qualifications.