Civil service reform is a hardy perennial that doesn’t die, but also doesn’t bloom.

Good-government groups call for changes in reports that are read, discussed and shelved.

President Obama’s repeated proposals for a Commission of Federal Public Service Reform have been ignored by Congress. He first made that call in 2011, then in each budget request since, although the White House has put no energy behind it.

Rep. Jeff Miller (R-Fla.) doesn’t need a commission or another report. He chairs a congressional committee. He is using that powerful perch to remake the civil service at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) one step at a time. It is an effort that has implications, some better than others, for the federal workforce generally.

Miller said he hopes his colleagues use his legislation “as a template to look into other agencies within the federal government.”

Yet for the many positives Miller has produced, the parts of his approach affecting the department’s employees, particularly its senior executives, show why federal employee leaders are wary of what passes for civil service reform.

Read more in the Federal Diary.