First Out of the Box

by

 John Kamensky, Senior Fellow, IBM Center for The Business of Government

Senator Hillary Clinton seems to have been the first candidate to discuss government management on the campaign trail, with a speech at St. Anselm on April 13th (a Friday; hopefully no symbolism associated). She announced a 10-point agenda that she would follow if elected President. The media picked up on one of the points – to eliminate 500,000 contractors for a savings of $18 billion – but there were some other interesting items on the rest of her list. For example, she proposes an “America Results Initiative.” She says that with the technology we have today, we can get real-time data on just about anything – from the purity of our water to the health of our ecosystems to the condition of our roads and bridges. She says: “We’ll gather and analyze that data to see whether our government programs are effective. We’ll then post it online so that our citizens can have the most up-to-date knowledge about everything from the quality of their air to the traffic on their streets.”

She also proposes to more transparently report budget information, use e-government to transact government services, and create a public service academy.

A few weeks later, Rudy Guiliani also announced a management-related theme in a campaign event. He said that if elected he would only replace half of the feds who would retire during his term of office. Extrapolated, that would reduce the federal workforce by 20 percent between 2009 and 2017 and save $70 billion a year. Of course the skill balance would be affected randomly, so this would require some reshuffling of the workforce between occupations and agencies, but that’s the value of having a strategic workforce plan!

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