You've got to reach out

In Washington, outreach is critical to any good public affairs effort. But it's not without its risks.

In Washington, outreach is a must-have program element of any good public affairs effort. Of course, reaching out has its risks. That’s a lesson often learned by people who have reached out to pet the wrong dog.

And right now, plenty of federal employees are ready to bite back.

Witness some of the entries on a new website — a product of the president’s Government Reform for Competitiveness and Innovation Initiative — created to solicit feds’ ideas on how to make the government more efficient and effective.

Although most feds are offering nuts and bolts ideas, many more are offering suggestions combined with a piece of their mind. For example, one of the more popular ideas, which users can vote on, is: “Stop balancing the budget on the backs of federal employees.” Another: “Contractors cost too much.”

Plenty of the suggestions take particular aim at Congress, which recently has taken particular aim at feds.

“Congress should have the same benefits as [regular] feds,” one wrote. “Pass a budget or withhold congressional pay,” wrote another. And “make all laws passed by Congress apply to Congress.”

Another fed suggests eliminating salaries for members of Congress who have a net worth of more than $3 million or who earn more than $300,000 a year.

One fed suggests an even more frugal approach: Capping members’ salaries at the average household income for the state they represent. Talk about pay for performance!

You can go to the site to get a look at more of your co-workers’ ideas — and to offer your own.

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