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High cost of civil service


Wednesday, February 14, 2018

As a young man just entering the workforce, I had an opportunity to work on a marketing proposal to the federal government. The project required taking over a function that was being performed by federal employees.

For the initial staffing they went for a 30 percent reduction over the government level. When I asked how they could make that assumption, they laughed and explained the Federal Civil Service system to me.

If an employee is incompetent, refused to do the job, or otherwise not functioning correctly, it is very difficult or impossible to fire him. A common solution is to move the worker to one side and hire someone who will do the work. This accomplishes two things: one, the work gets done; two, the supervisor now oversees more people and is subject to a raise.

At that time, it was estimated that in any large group of federal employees 70 percent were working their rears off while carrying the other 30 percent. In addition to the extra wages, the federal government pays for benefits beyond what is available in the private sector.

Because the private sector company was not subject to Civil Service restraints, they could do the work with fewer people. When this was coupled with the lower cost of benefits provided in the private sector, even with a 30 percent reduction in personnel, the company could cover the additional corporate overhead costs and show a profit, while saving the federal government money.

Now that we have an administration willing to buck the status quo, maybe they can completely overhaul the civil service system and reduce the cost of government.

Dallas Dawson