In the bureaucratic version of the long, hot and fearful departure from the Garden of Eden, Adam is supposed to have said to Eve: "Honey, things will be a lot different under the new system!"
Effective today, Uncle Sam has a new system. The government, biggest everything -- employer, supplier of services, spender -- is reforming its nearly 100-year-old personnel system. It will change the way civil servants are promoted, rewarded, punished, paid and fired.
Backers of the new civil service reform believe its enhanced management powers will exorcise deadwood from the 1.2 million federal white collar work force. And they hope it will motivate potential superstars and improve service to the public enough so that the public notices.
Civil Service reform is one of the major goals of the Carter administration. The president entrusted most of its design, and the selling of it to Congress, to Alan K. Campbell and Jule Sugarman. Campbell is the former dean of the Maxwell Graduate School and the LBJ School of Government in Texas. Sugarman is a master bureau-crat-politician, and the developer of the highly successful Head Start program for preschoolers.
As part of reform, Campbell and Sugarman had their old jobs, chairman and vice chairman of the Civil Service Commission, abolished. They now have the number one and two slots at the new Office of Personnel Management. OPM will oversee the sweeping changes coming from the reform law. Yesterday Campbell talked about what the new reform will mean to rank-and-file workers, federal executives and taxpayers. This is a thumbnail sketch of what Campbell believes, and hopes, will happen: