He talked about diversity, but leaders of the Coalition for Change, an organization that fights discrimination in the federal government, said he was not specific enough about racial bias.
“If President Obama fails in his second term to hold officials accountable for violating the civil rights of public servants or the public they serve,” said coalition founder Tanya Ward Jordan, “we can expect a progression of a toxic federal culture that will increase taxpayer costs, that will impair the health of civil servants, and that will jeopardize the safe and efficient distribution of government services to the public.”
The “almost unprecedented challenges” facing the workforce — including an aging staff and competition for talent — present “a very troubling picture,” said Stan Soloway, president of the Professional Services Council, which represents government contractors. But that also presents an opportunity, he added, “to lead meaningful initiatives that include very targeted human capital development strategies,” such as training and development programs.
Those challenges will include “budgetary pressures and legislative gridlock [that] are likely to lead to much greater focus on government management issues,” predicted Max Stier, president and chief executive of the Partnership for Public Service, which has a content-sharing relationship with The Washington Post.
“Improving the government’s effectiveness should be a second-term priority for President Obama,” Stier said.
What policies the administration actually pushes during its second term depend not only on the president but also “to a large extent, on us: the unions, the broad progressive movement and working people in general,” said Carl Goldman, executive director of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 26, which represents feds at nine agencies, with most in the Library of Congress.
“We won the election,” Goldman said. “Whether we win the next four years depends on what all of us are willing to do.”
Eric Yoder contributed to this report. For previous Joe Davidson columns, go to wapo.st/JoeDavidson.