11/5/08: NTEU views the Obama presidency as a major opportunity to turn the public conversation toward a much-needed discussion of how federal agencies may best serve the public, NTEU National President Colleen Kelley said today.
“Federal agencies have been understaffed and underfunded and federal employees have been marginalized by the current administration,” said Kelley. “As our new president prepares to lead our country, NTEU stands ready to work with him and the congressional leadership on ways to strengthen federal agencies to help them better meet their critical missions and serve the American public.”
NTEU will work with the Obama administration and Congress on a number of measures that will help federal agencies focus more on delivering services to the American public and less on wasteful contracts, consultants and near-constant changes of personnel systems, Kelley said. These include finding savings and increasing accountability by ending inefficient contracts and bringing work back into federal agencies; providing adequate resources to agencies, including sufficient staffing levels, and the necessary authority to achieve agency missions; driving agency resources to the frontlines; and increasing productivity at our agencies through the use of partnership and other collaborative efforts.
“Federal agencies need to be refocused on mission-critical efforts, and put aside distractions that have stymied progress in the past several years,” Kelley said, adding that any civil service changes, including alternative pay systems, should be linked to increasing the potential for reaching agency missions.
“NTEU also will work with the Obama administration to provide to every eligible federal employee full collective bargaining rights,” said Kelley. “Frontline federal employees know how to get the work done, how to make improvements in their agencies and best serve the American people,” Kelley said. “It is time for positive change in federal agencies that starts with listening to suggestions and working cooperatively with employees.”
“President-elect Obama has said that he wants to make public service ‘cool’ again,” Kelley said. “This will become increasingly important as the so-called ‘retirement wave’ of federal employees crests in coming years. NTEU looks forward to working with him to turn back the tide of negative perceptions about the federal workforce and make public service a viable and desired career path for young workers.”