NYU’s Paul Light: Reorganize government to save money

”Davidson”

Paul C. Light, an NYU professor who often casts a sharp and critical eye on the government’s bureaucracy, says one good thing that could emerge from the nation’s debt crisis is a move to reorganize the federal government.

But neither President Obama nor Congress has chosen to go in that direction, so look for Light, a professor of public service at New York University’s Wagner School of Public Service, to point the way when he speaks to the Excellence in Government conference Monday morning at the Ronald Reagan Building in the District. Light also writes a blog for The Washington Post.

Light’s remarks likely will echo an article he wrote in The Wall Street Journal on Thursday. In that piece, he listed several steps that he estimates could save $1 trillion over 10 years.

Number one on that list is cutting federal jobs. Light suggests, among other things, cutting the number of presidential appointees and mid-level and senior federal managers by one-third. He also wants to freeze hiring of senior and mid-level managers.

Light’s other suggestions:

— Make sure the government gets all the money it’s already due, from such things as errorneous or fradulent payments to contractors and beneficiaries, unpaid loans, fees and taxes.

— Eliminate duplication by consolidating overlapping programs.

— Strengthen federal productivity.

— Stop “automatic time-on-the-job pay increases.”

— Cut 500,000 contract workers.

In the closing keynote address, Office of Personnel Management director John Berry plans to discuss a “human capital game plan” that would help federal agencies think strategically about recruiting, developing, retaining and honoring federal employees.

federaldiary@washpost.com

Follow the Federal Diary on Twitter: @joedavidsonwp

Joe Davidson writes the Federal Diary, a column about federal government and workplace issues that celebrated its 80th birthday in November 2012. Davidson previously was an assistant city editor at The Washington Post and a Washington and foreign correspondent with The Wall Street Journal, where he covered federal agencies and political campaigns.
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