Focusing on six words: Helping government do its job better

Another big score for Deloitte — Tom Davis

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We told you earlier that OMB’s Tim Young would be joining Deloitte. Well, the consulting firm has another big score — Rep. Tom Davis (R-VA).

Congress Daily reports — and I have confirmed from Davis friends — that the ranking leader of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee will work in the federal practice area as a non-lobbyest when he leaves congress on January 20.

Back when I was at FCW, we had an exit interview with Davis… The NYT Magazine also had an excellent piece with him.

Davis has been candid about his reasons for leaving — money — he notes he is getting paid less today then he was when he joined congress some 14 years ago — and it’s just not that fun to be in the minority.

Now, part of it is leaders who inspire people to go into government. The one thing you’ve got to like about [Sen.] Barack Obama [(D-Ill.)] is that he’s inspiring a lot of young people. Maybe you get them to come into government. But I tell you what: He can inspire them to come into government, but once they fill out the forms, they wait six months and find out that they didn’t hit the right category, it’s going to discourage people. You want to bring good people in, and then you want to pay them. You want to bonus them. You want to inspire them to stay in government. Work satisfaction is an important part of that. If people feel they’re being productive, they’re going to stay in government.

So much of government today is [about] good, talented people that we’re not retaining. They’re filling out forms that never needed to be printed. They’re working under regulations that shouldn’t be. They’re sitting there on idle where we could make them more productive if we could step back as managers and say how do we get the job done? But we’re so regulation-driven instead of mission-driven that it’s very discouraging for talented people, and they go somewhere else.

I’ll just add one other thing. We’re part of the problem in Washington. Politicians come in and when they’ve got to cut the budget, the first thing they do is chop off fingers and toes. They don’t look at their business processes in terms of how we can be more productive, how training people is a pretty good investment. And so, they cut out training. They take away their discretion to act by writing rules and regulations telling people what they have to do and how they have to do it. And who wants to work in a straitjacket? That just stops the innovative juices.

Unfortunately, Davis is one of the few people on the Hill who really cares about government management issues, particularly government procurement issues — there isn’t much of a back bench. We hope that others will step up — maybe Senator-elect Mark Warner (D-VA).

Written by cdorobek

November 14, 2008 at 6:42 PM

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