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Government Executive Editor in Chief Tom Shoop, along with other editors and staff correspondents, look at the federal bureaucracy from the outside in.

Prez to Press: Is Reorganizing Government ‘Extraordinarily Boring’?

President Trump speaks during a Cabinet meeting at the White House, June 21, 2018. President Trump speaks during a Cabinet meeting at the White House, June 21, 2018. Evan Vucci/AP

Reasonable people can differ on the merits of the ideas included in the Trump administration’s plan to reorganize and retool government operations, but there’s no denying that it is a substantive, serious policy document that addresses complex management issues in great detail.

Indeed, the proposal is 132 pages of pure wonkery. Here’s a sample from the introductory section:

Operating models must also be reviewed in light of the improvements possible in the digital age and lessons learned from peer organizations. Analysis that simply looks at the formal reporting structure on an organizational chart misses other critical organizational structures, including customer engagements, data flows, organizational processes, and the informal networks and cultural elements which make an organization run.

The document goes on to list hundreds of specific proposals, ranging in scope from merging the Education and Labor departments to standardizing office design at the Social Security Administration.

So perhaps it’s not surprising that President Trump offered members of the national news media the opportunity last week to opt out of observing Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney’s update to Trump’s assembled Cabinet on the reform plan.

“Would the media like to hear Mick Mulvaney’s report,” Trump asked, “or would you find it extraordinarily boring and therefore not fit for camera? I don’t know.”

Reporters assured the president that they were indeed interested in Mulvaney’s report, so the OMB chief launched into his presentation, saying “I’m going to try really hard to make this not boring, Mr. President.”

Tom Shoop is vice president and editor in chief at Government Executive Media Group, where he oversees both print and online editorial operations. He started as associate editor of Government Executive magazine in 1989; launched the company’s flagship website, GovExec.com, in 1996; and was named editor in chief in 2007.

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