Gov Career

By Phil Piemonte

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People like feds ... really

Congressional leaders are sharpening their budget axes, and gearing up to take another look at federal pay and benefits.

Advocates of a smaller, leaner federal workforce will try once more to make the case that the government cannot afford you, and that the only way to fix this is to downsize the workforce, freeze or reduce pay, and trim benefits.

A few of them will imply—or state outright—that the government needs to do these things also because federal workers are inefficient, overcompensated and too many in number for the work they perform.

A lot of this sentiment has been drifting down to the public over the past year or so, inciting Joe Sixpack to start railing against federal workers.

But luckily, John Q. Public generally knows better—as evidenced by American Customer Satisfaction Index results released this week. According to those results, Americans were more satisfied with services provided by the federal government in 2011 than they were a year earlier.

ACSI, a self-professed “national economic indicator of customer evaluations of the quality of products and services available to household consumers in the United States,” says its research results show that citizen satisfaction with federal government services is up 2.3 percent to 66.9 (on a scale of 100) for 2011, after several years of decline.

Ratings vary within the government, of course. According to ASCI, the Defense Department scored a 76 and the Interior Department a 74, versus the Departments of Homeland Security and Treasury at 59 and 57, respectively. ACSI results also indicate that departments and agencies that deliver benefits have higher scores in general than agencies with regulatory missions.

We could list other findings here, but ACSI has posted the materials online, so you can click through to their site if you want to take a closer look.

But for our purposes here, it’s probably better to cut to the chase, as would Prof. Warwick (“please don’t call me ‘Dr.’”) Blood, who currently teaches communication research methods, public opinion research and other subjects at the University of Canberra, and who was often heard to remark in class:

“Any mug can come up with a number! What does it mean?”

In terms of these particular research findings, ACSI founder Claes Fornell answers that question quite well:

“While people generally distrust federal government as a whole, they are much more positive towards the job that individual agencies are performing. Paradoxically perhaps, these findings suggest that the more people come into contact with government service, the more they actually like it. The lack of trust has much more to do with politicians than it does with federal workers and the services of the federal government.”

Enough said.

Posted by Phil Piemonte on Jan 20, 2012 at 4:02 PM

Reader comments

Tue, Apr 10, 2012 pookeedooo

Thanks to the current administration,OPM and HR offices nationwide (federal), when you visit and search for a particular position wherever it may be, please take careful notice to that particular job announcement. So many of them are now being advertised as Temporary, Term not to exceed a certain amount of time, etc. Positions USED to be advertised as permanent, career/career conditional, but not so much anymore. All of this is an attempt to save benefit monies, retirement? PUUUHHHHLLLLLEEEEAAAAASSSSEEE - Wake up OPM and Mr.President!!!!!

Tue, Apr 10, 2012 NC

Pension delays, no accident,just refusal of OPM and HR to do the right and ethical, when it was known. Let's get our pension backlog taken care of now, "not in small bits and chipping away." Ret. Federal workers are being shamed,spoon fed a stipend and degraded, losing homes, annutities penalized, losing investment income and ability to work, even forced to live with their children, etc. Because they are not being given what they earned, planned, and worked for and contributed to from their own paychecks, just like their parents taught them to do. Yeah,now let's get our kids to work for the US Gov. while they may have to take care of Mom & Dad who are still waiting for their pension. Disgraceful.

Thu, Jan 26, 2012

Political reform is badly needed in this country. I am sick and tired of the status quo. These morons in Washington claim to manage budgets but their the same spoiled for eating off silver platters bouncing checks and breaking the laws they write.

Meanwhile the rich get richer and we pay more taxes.

Watch the morons in Congress when they vote. Their all inline with a silly and outdated party loving views. They waddle in like muppets and bicker like children and vote the party line view majority of the time.

Why the hell do we pay their salary if they have no passion to fix the freaking messes the last guy made?

What is the deal with Goldman Sachs and the revolving door into Congress? Follow the money and figure it out for yourself. The mega rich manipulate things and it needs to end!

How about focusing on solutions that solve problems? Perhaps putting solar panels on out roofs is better then paying billions for nuke plants - big money rich will have none of those novel ideas. Gee, imagine the secondary effect on income and spending if we are relieved of high energy costs!!!

Things need to change and measuring their performance is where we start. Next time McCain suggests cutting back on Tricare I suggest we cut back on their freaking plans first.

Our government needs to be held to a set criteria otherwise they should be removed based on reusable criteria we can all agree on.

Tue, Jan 24, 2012 Chris Ohio

I would like to take this from a different direction: It is rather ironic Congress, with a DIS-APPROVAL RATING of 86-88% by the American public and despised by many Americans, fell they are qualified to judge or be critical of the work performed by federal employees.

Tue, Jan 24, 2012

It is nice that the public recognizes the work being done by goverment workers. It is time they recognize the slackers we have in congress. It is a pitiful statement when the politician veiw us as low haning fruit and try to make political hay for "THIER" party by bashing us. We are the ones who make the best out of the crap they come up with. There should be crime tape around capital hill, because those folks have been stealing thier wage for years. Throw the incumbents out.

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