11/19/08: NTEU has provided the incoming Obama administration transition team with a variety of recommendations aimed at significantly improving the delivery of government services to the American people. The document, entitled "Refocusing Federal Agencies on Mission-Critical Issues: The Federal Employees’ View," offers NTEU’s recommendations for both administrative and legislative actions impacting a wide array of challenges facing the nation—from reviving the economy to strengthening security and, perhaps most importantly, restoring the faith of the American people in their government. “This document represents a priority list of suggestions for critical first steps as NTEU works with new administration officials and congressional leaders,” said NTEU National President Colleen Kelley. “The extent to which our government will be successful rests in large measure with the federal employees charged with carrying out agency missions,” said Kelley. “By engaging the federal workforce and refocusing on agency missions, the new administration can right the wrongs of the past eight years, tackle our nation’s problems and restore vitality to our federal government.” NTEU has offered a set of broad principles to the transition team including creating a more collaborative workplace, providing adequate agency resources, particularly to the front-lines of agency work, ending inefficient contracting, expanding collective bargaining rights, and tying changes in civil service rules to increased potential for achieving agency missions. Here are some of the specific changes recommended by NTEU:
- Issue a new executive order re-establishing federal sector labor-management partnership, a proven method of harnessing the ideas of front-line employees to better advance the missions of their agencies;
- Take all necessary actions to ensure that both the Federal Labor Relations Authority and the Federal Service Impasses Panel can quickly and fairly carry out their missions;
- Require that the Office of Personnel Management apply for the prescription drug subsidy available to all employers providing health care benefits as a way of keeping in check costs of the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP);
- Direct all federal agencies to review all of their service contracts, cancel those found to be unnecessary and, within two years, bring any inefficient, wasteful or inherently governmental contracts back in-house; and
- End the use by the Internal Revenue Service of private tax collectors, a costly and ineffective program that puts taxpayers’ personal information at unacceptable risk.
“These changes and others like them that are spelled out in the recommendations will result in direct benefits to the American people through a federal workforce that would feel once again respected and empowered to do what they know best how to do—serve the public by accomplishing their agency’s missions in the way the American people want and expect,” President Kelley said. The NTEU leader said she is optimistic that the administration and congressional leadership will be receptive to NTEU’s recommendations. “During the presidential campaign, President-elect Obama provided NTEU with written support on many of these issues in response to our pre-endorsement questionnaire, including fair pay for federal employees, repealing the private tax collection program, reducing FEHBP costs and extending collective bargaining rights to all Department of Homeland Security employees,” she said. NTEU Chapter 293 President Greg Gilman will be meeting with transition officials soon to discuss issues related to the SEC.