Paul Verkuil, the former Chairman of the Administrative Conference of the United States and a nationally recognized legal academician, has written a book highlighting the invaluable contributions and ever increasing significance of career civil servants.
The author makes a fundamental point regarding infrastructure. Yes, he argues, that the nation’s physical infrastructure, such as roads and bridges, are in need of repair but equally important is the need to rebuild the civil service infrastructure which delivers social security checks, Medicare, Medicaid, protection from terrorists and foreign enemies as well as clean air and clean water.
The sad state of affairs is that in order to keep federal personnel levels low the government has turned to hiring large numbers of contractors. The primary allegiance of government contractors is to the bottom line of their employer not their client– the US government. To this end all of the recent massive disclosures of sensitive federal information were the action of contractor’s not federal employees.
The bottom line is that serious attention has to be given to a return to “insourcing” jobs that perform inherently governmental functions accompanied by civil service reform measures which reward productive employees and discharge non-producers. Mr. Verkuil’s book is a roadmap for restoring sanity to the over reliance on government contractors.