Government Reform: Senator Obama



Sen. Barack Obama

Sen. Barack Obama

Government Executive magazine’s October cover story, “Great Expectations,” profiles Senator Obama’s anticipated approaches to federal government reform and management issues.  Editor Tom Shoop told me that they had to pull their draft article from the printers after Obama’s government reform speech in Wisconsin in late September!  This article is a parallel to Gov Exec’s September cover story profile of Senator McCain’s anticipated approaches to management issues.


Here are some extracts:


“I will also go through the federal budget line by line, eliminating programs that no longer work and making the ones we do need work better and cost less, because we cannot meet 21st century challenges with a 20th century bureaucracy,” he said.



“Obama also promised to “fundamentally reconfigure” the Bush administration’s Program Assessment Rating Tool. . . “


“Sen. Obama will have an agenda that is really focused on results in the agencies and ensuring that the government is working effectively with real accountability for the public,” says the campaign’s domestic policy director, Neera Tanden.


“Observers agree that the most important tenet of Obama’s government reform agenda is his push for transparency and pledge to provide the public with an unobstructed view into his administration’s operations.”


“Tanden says Obama supports scaling back some privatization initiatives, although he has yet to make a determination on whether to continue the Bush administration’s competitive sourcing agenda. “He wants to do what is most effective,” she says. “There has been an ideological push for outsourcing and contracting out, and he would restore balance to that and end the abuse in contracting.”


“Some hope a renewed spotlight on public service will translate into more interest in federal careers. “Ultimately, I think for the same reason that people are willing to serve their community, there is an opportunity to harness that energy to serve in the public service,” [Max] Stier says. “Sen. Obama is primed to unleash that interest and energy.”


“Obama’s focus on technology permeates through virtually all his government reform proposals, from creating millions of green jobs to providing financial assistance to small business owners. Most significant, Obama says he will name a federal chief technology officer and a national cyber adviser, creating the government’s two highest level technology positions.”


“He will inherit such a mess on so many levels,” [Elaine] Kamarck says. “He really needs to look for people with experience and with a track record of moving the bureaucracy and understanding how the bureaucracy works, because he won’t have time for on-the-job training.”


One Response to “Government Reform: Senator Obama”

  1. Norman M.Macdonald Says:

    The Federal Civil Service is now a basket case. To be efective there has to be damange control. Some places where the Civil Service has met this challange by taking part in orgaaniztions that are basicly collaboative governece: this may be a path we should folllow . Without a truely functioning Civil Service any effort at change is an exercise in futility.

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