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Learning It Your Way

July 1, 2010 Formal classroom training isn't the best route for many federal workers. Let's say your boss has given you the job of setting up your office's Facebook page and Twitter account, but you don't know a Facebook fan from a Facebook friend, or a Tweet from Tweety Bird. You could go ...

Where’s the Rigor?

June 16, 2010 One decade ago, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy instructed federal agencies involved in scientific research to set up and follow integrity policies -- rules and procedures designed to ensure government-funded scientists produced reliable, accurate and objective work. Many federal agencies that spend billions of dollars on ...

Political Hot Potato

June 2, 2010 Civil servants can make decisions that are better for the long-term good of the country than elected officials can, right? In a new book, public management expert Alasdair Roberts explores the rise and limits of that way of thinking, which he dubs in the title, The Logic of Discipline (Oxford ...

Political Hot Potato

June 1, 2010 Career civil servants can't be expected to make all the hard decisions. Civil servants can make decisions that are better for the long-term good of the country than elected officials can, right? In a new book, public management expert Alasdair Roberts explores the rise and limits of that way of ...

Mission Fissures

May 19, 2010 Through much of the 1990s, critics of the Immigration and Naturalization Service argued that its spotty performance was due largely to its conflicting missions. On the one hand, the agency was charged with quickly processing legal immigrants whose skills were needed in a growing economy. On the other, INS had ...

Transparency Trap

May 5, 2010 Earl Devaney has launched a revolution. A transparency revolution. Devaney has spent his career keeping Uncle Sam honest, first as an investigator at various agencies, then as the inspector general at the Interior Department, and now as the chairman of the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board, the oversight agency that ...

Transparency Trap

May 1, 2010 Opening the book on government operations could cause major headaches for federal managers. Earl Devaney has launched a revolution. A transparency revolution. Devaney has spent his career keeping Uncle Sam honest, first as an investigator at various agencies, then as the inspector general at the Interior Department, and now as ...

Don’t Go, KSAs

April 14, 2010 Woe is the fresh-faced graduate, clenching a new master's degree in public policy, when he finds himself staring at a federal government job application that asks for a series of expository paragraphs describing how his knowledge, skills and abilities qualify him for the position he wants. How horrible that he ...

It’s a Stretch

April 1, 2010 For many, the age-old jokes about government work are no laughing matter. Twentieth-century humorist and actor Will Rogers spent a good part of his career poking fun at the bureaucracy. "I don't make jokes," he would say. "I just watch the government and report the facts." Another favorite: "Be thankful ...

Ha Ha Ha

March 31, 2010 Twentieth-century humorist and actor Will Rogers spent a good part of his career poking fun at the bureaucracy. "I don't make jokes," he would say. "I just watch the government and report the facts." Another favorite: "Be thankful we're not getting all the government we're paying for." And one from ...