Presidential candidate would freeze government hiring

Republican presidential hopeful Fred Thompson wants to curb government spending by halting federal hiring.

If elected, Thompson said, he would stop government agencies from acquiring new personnel for one year and his administration would perform senior-level assessments of agency priorities.

“This will give a new administration time to assess its personnel requirements in order to ‘right size’ the federal workforce,” according to a statement posted earlier this week on Thompson’s campaign Web site.

Two other candidates have promised to reshape the federal workforce. Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani said he would not rehire half the positions that will be vacated after the baby boomer retirement wave hits in the next three years. Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) said she would cut half a million contractors.

Thompson also promised to conduct a cost-benefit analysis of all federal programs in an effort to defund, combine or probate underperforming projects. The issue was spurred by the results of the Office of Management and Budget’s Program Assessment Rating Tool, which found many government programs moderately effective or ineffective.

The Bush administration responded similarly to PART results, eventually issuing an executive order Nov. 13 requiring all agencies to select performance improvement officers to be part of a Performance Improvement Council. The council will be charged with standardizing evaluation criteria, monitoring performance assessments and making policy recommendations.

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