Letter to the editor

The Brookings Institution poll showed that the number of federal employees who come to work "just for the paycheck" is on the rise ["Workforce poll result 'disturbing'"]. Should this be a surprise to anyone?

The past two administrations have focused on making government employees "act just like private sector employees." The implementation of increased A-76 activity and the new competitive sourcing initiative sends the message that the government doesn't want employees that, as the article says, "are motivated by the right things." Because government leaders do not value having employees that are motivated by "the right things," why would employees hold those values dear?

Having witnessed A-76 competitions and their impact on employee morale, it should be no wonder that the poll shows that employees are there "just for the paycheck." Leadership sets the tone.

The human capital initiative of the President's Management Agenda does not recognize the effects caused by the competitive sourcing initiative. That issue is the creation of two classes of government employees — Federal Activities Inventory Reform Act Category B employees and all others. One of the tenets of competitive sourcing is that recompetition will occur every three to five years.

Given enough competitions, any government unit will at some point lose. And once you lose, you're never given a second chance. Ultimately all Category B employees will be removed from government ranks. In the meantime, they'll be there "for the paycheck" and not much more.

It would be interesting if the poll were stratified to account for the two classes of employees.

Name withheld by request


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