There have long been calls to restructure or reorganize the federal government. A number of experts from the National Academy for Public Administration have advocated a restructuring office in the White House or OMB. Others have called for a new Hoover Commission to reorganize the government. President-Elect Obama has called for a “line-by-line” review of the government’s programs and budget.
These recommendations all focus on the federal government’s organizations and programs. One thesis in addressing the national challenges facing us is that we need to go beyond just the government and look more nationally.
Well, I ran across an interesting piece of pending legislation on national service entitled the “Service America Act.” It promotes greater youth engagement via service programs and includes the development of a “civic health index.” It was introduced in September and is co-sponsored by – among others — Senators Reid, Hatch, Obama, Clinton, and McCain. That’s a stellar crowd!
The act’s goals include efforts to increase public service among youth as well as to “increase civic engagement and participation among individuals of all ages. . . “
But what caught my eye is a provision that would create a “Commission on Cross-Sector Solutions.” This commission would explore “ways in which the Federal Government interacts with nonprofit organizations, philanthropic organizations, and business to address national and local challenges.”
The legislation states that “The Commission shall conduct a thorough study of all matters relating to ways in which the Federal Government can work more efficiently and effectively with non-profit organizations and philanthropic organizations to assist the organizations described in this subparagraph, and the Federal Government, in achieving better outcomes with regard to addressing pressing national and local challenges, and improving accountability and utilization of resources, and relating to assisting the Federal Government, such organizations, and business in improving their collaboration to achieve such outcomes.” The commission would have 18 months to report its findings and recommendations.
This looks like an intriguing twist on rethinking how government should engage in addressing national challenges. I wonder if it’s still a viable proposal given the tumult of recent months?
Tags: Barack Obama, cross-sector, Harry Reid, hillary clinton, Hoover Commission, john McCain, line-by-line, National Academy for Public Administration, national service, non-profit sector, Orrin Hatch, Service America Act