Monday, August 30, 2010

Hors de Combat

So I have been pondering the way that we treat government employees (like a protected fiefdom) and I have come to the conclusion that we have a time-tested means of dealing with the problems we are facing there.

I really think that the core of the problem is considering government employment to be a lifetime affair. Truth be known, this approach really can't work. The government will wax and wane as part of the greater cycle. The needs of the government will change as time and history change around it.

Government has become bloated through mismanagement. That much is certain. But the people within government, with their permanent status and their unrealistic perceptions of protection and workload have become part of the problem. In a nutshell, government sinecures, once achieved, have become a right, not a privilege and a responsibility.

The armed forces have always had a means of dealing with this problem. Fixed-length re-enlistment contracts allow the military to get rid of folks who aren't up to snuff. I cannot tell you how many folks I know who absolutely hate this system. They are also the people who the military has chosen to reject.

But, the truth of the matter is, you do not have a right to permanent employment in the government, either the military branch or the civilian branch. It really doesn't matter what you think your rights are, if you don't fit anymore, if you don't provide a needed service, you get to leave. Your opinions about your performance and suitability are in no way important to the needs of the people.

Above all, government service is and honor and a duty. You are there because you serve the needs of the people. Your needs, wants, and plans are, and forever must be, secondary to the needs of the people you serve. In 99.9% of cases, your worth is directly related to performing your assigned tasks in a manner that allows the law, as written, to be well-executed.

If your retirement plans are going to bankrupt the rest of the populace, your retirement plans must change. If your need for security keeps you in a job which is no longer needed, your needs must take a rear seat.

The Republic is in jeopardy. A person who lauds a soldier for sacrifice while unwilling to accept that their petty wants may be hors de combat in times of the Repubic's need shows that your really don't understand the nature of service.

So, I think that all government positions be placed on four-year enlistments. A re-enlistment may be refused at any time. It is time to end the permanent status of all government employees.


Stephanie in AR said...

Passing a test similiar to the ASVAB would not be a bad idea either, certain jobs and promotions (thus pay grades) are out of reach without a set score and the test must be retaken before anyone begins a new contract. Results are published in local newpapers and on the internet. Yes there is the civil servants test but who sees the results. The military is having reduce their numbers (at least the Air Force is) so the federal force should be linked to the armed forces numbers - if the country's protection must be reduced then automatic reductions on the civil side too.

Oh and contractors/out sourcing count in the numbers too.

Too many complaints from the public and the contract can be terminated. The armed forces do not keep people who cause problems or who cannot keep their private life halfway respectable - too many DUI tickets or addictions and no job, why not the civil servants?

russell1200 said...

Are you under the impression that government workers have tenure?

In many areas they are not allowed to unionize, and many have been laid off with the downturn. Don't take the highly visible example of a few big city unionized workers as the norm.

Within the United States, typically the only protection that a government worker has is that they have to be fired for good cause. In many states private employees have the same protection.

The reason it is difficult to fire them is because the public expects there service. You may not use any one particular service, but someone does.

I have always worked in the private sector. I would not exactly say that the private sector is always full of bright shining stars either. People are people.

Not very noble volunteering to fire other people from their jobs, and not very likely to help our current deflationary cycle either.

Degringolade said...

Russell: Gotta disagree on you in this one.

No, small municipalities workers usually aren't that well protected. But, in truth, these are a very small portion of the overall pool of government workers.

Teachers and school employees, state workers, and fedguv employees are the biggest components of "government workers", and you can rest assured that they are covered by unions.

Look, everything has to be on the table. As for your snotty little comment about volunteering someone else's job, please remember that I am a fed employee, and I am more than willing.

russell1200 said...

There are expected to be 1.43 million civilian federal employees this year.

There are 3.84 million state and local employees.

Because the State and Local governments do not have a printing press, they frequently are forced to lay off workers. They of course have to make many of these layoffs at time when the need for services is increasing.

The average age for a state worker in North Carolina is just shy of $42,000. This is pretty good when compared to the state per capita income of around $21,000, but is probably low when education levels are compared.