President of the Civil Service
Mitch Daniels continues to be an interesting potential candidate to watch in the nascent 2012 race for the Republican presidential nomination. If he runs, he will bring both executive experience as governor to the race and service as head of the Office of Management and Budget under President George W. Bush.
That means his pet issues are likely to be different than those of the other candidates, and -- for better or for worse -- more focused on the internal operations of government. A case in point: Newsweek has a feature up called "Government is Broken: These Guys Can Fix It." The "guys" range from former Google CEO Eric Schmidt to Wendy Kopp, CEO of Teach for America. Their prescriptions tend to be narrow and policy-focused. (Country singer and guitarist Vince Gill, for example, wants export-import laws changed to allow him and other performers to travel with rare antique guitars.)
Daniels is included on the list, but he has an altogether different idea to promote: overhauling civil service laws and regulations in his state. Here's what he says about Indiana's system:
Employee complaints about the most trivial of matters ("I don't like my uniform style") subjected management, administrative-law judges, and indirectly the taxpayers to a five-step, year-long grievance process. Promotions and layoffs were dictated by seniority. Disciplining or dismissing poor performers? Forget it. This year, we are replacing this system with one that highly rewards the best workers and deals with the worst. Employee rights will still be carefully protected, but in a streamlined, three-step process less vulnerable to abuse.