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Verkuil, Chairman of the Administrative Conference of the United States (ACUS), argued that political leaders across the ideological aisle should pay more attention to recruiting and retaining those people who are best able to get the challenging job of governing done.
As the problems associated with delegating crucial government functions to contractors and replacing civil servants with “at-will” employees become clear, it turns out we actually need more well-qualified bureaucrats – not fewer.
The popular narrative of an outsize bureaucracy staffed by inefficient workers does not reflect the reality of government today, according to John Dilulio, whose contribution to this series paints a picture of a federal civil service that is “….overloaded, not bloated.” When the government fails, it is often at least in part because there are too few civil servants to oversee the increasing number of for-profit private contractors to whom the federal government has outsourced many of its most important functions.
Imagine a business school textbook that covers only failed businesses.
Imagine a business professor describing all that can go wrong in the private sector, but not how to get things right.
Verkuil serves as the head of a small but important federal body: ACUS, an independent federal agency that solicits expert research and makes recommendations to other federal agencies about how to improve administrative practices and processes.
Its aim is to make government better, more transparent, and more efficient.to keep government running, no matter what its size may be.Speaking earlier this year at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, Paul R.There are no agents, no officials, that persist from one deliberative assembly to another. There may be customs that persist from assembly to assembly, such as customs for due notice, parliamentary procedure, judicial due process, and enforcement of court orders by militia.This second term could be called the constitution of society, but it precedes a constitution of government and should not be confused with it.The fundamental basis for government and law in this system is the concept of the social contract, according to which human beings begin as individuals in a state of nature, and create a society by establishing a contract whereby they agree to live together in harmony for their mutual benefit, after which they are said to live in a state of society.This contract involves the retaining of certain natural rights, an acceptance of restrictions of certain liberties, the assumption of certain duties, and the pooling of certain powers to be exercised collectively. It has only two basic terms: (1) mutual defense of rights; and (2) mutual decision by deliberative assembly.President Obama appointed Verkuil to lead its second generation.Since his Senate confirmation in 2010, Chairman Verkuil has rebuilt and revitalized ACUS.In this essay, David Lewis discusses the flaws of that approach.Government does fail – but it also gets a lot right, and policymakers should focus on identifying and replicating its successes.