Management Magazine, the once stuffy but informative government-financed journal aimed at civil service bosses, has undergone some not-so-subtle changes under the Reagan administration.
The magazine is produced by the Office of Personnel Management (formerly the Civil Service Commission). This month's issue looks like a cross between Conservative Digest, Forbes magazine and People.
Where else could you find a government publication ($11 for four issues) with juicy (sort of) items about Jane Fonda and Chicago Mayor Harold Washington, plus a thought-provoking suggestion from a Nobel prize-winner that the government return to the spoils system? Management Magazine, that's where.
The magazine, with a circulation of 34,000, pokes fun at Jane "9 to 5" Fonda for being a less-than-model employer. It advises U.S. managers that she is being sued by three former employes of her San Francisco studio, Jane Fonda Workout, who charge that they were paid less than male employes doing the same work.
An "editor's note" says: "Fonda's present problems are not unprecedented, however, as she posed for a military recruiting poster in the early 1960s. Some years later, Fonda gained world-wide publicity by posing on a North Vietnamese anti-aircraft gun, one part of a deadly air defense system that killed hundreds of America's fighter pilots."
Management Magazine also has a little fun with Harold Washington, a former member of the House Post Office-Civil Service Committee. During his time in Congress, the magazine says, Washington opposed Reagan administration attempts to increase the number of political appointees in government. As mayor, however, the magazine says Washington is trying to increase the number of political appointees in Chicago.
Perhaps the most interesting item to feds, however, is the question-and-answer interview with economist Milton Friedman. The interview was conducted by editor David Turner and reporter Joseph Morris, who is also the OPM's general counsel.
During the interview Friedman was asked about a proposal from "liberal thinkers" that the government be made up half of political appointees and half of civil servants. The magazine asked "What possible virtues are offered by a spoils system?"
Plenty, according to Friedman. "The virtue of the spoils system is that it provides a bottom line for the public servant," he said. "It offers an incentive to trim his or her activities and effectively achieve only those goals acceptable to the citizen. If the worker fails, or overshoots, he might face unemployment hassles in the wake of the next elections.
"The civil service system has no effective bottom line. Your readers know the turnover rate in civil service is extremely low--much lower than it is in any other activity."
Asked about the graft and inefficiency that eventually toppled the spoils system, Friedman replied:
"Now along the way, no doubt, there will be a good deal of inefficiency, there will be a good deal of graft. But there is a good deal of inefficiency now. And on the whole, I believe a spoils system would do a far better job making government responsive than does civil service."
Many people--not necessarily people in government--will agree with the aggressive, you-know-where-we're-coming from tone of the magazine. Many will not.
The Voice of America, for example, does nice work and is considered by many to be a first-class news outfit. But because Congress doesn't think the government should be in the news and opinion business, VOA broadcasts are not heard in this country.