Most politicians say they want a leaner, more efficient government. That they want to eliminate waste and duplication. Many of them actually mean it, unless it comes to a program or facility based in their home state or congressional district.
Today’s guest column is by a former fed who saw many efforts to curtail spending during his long government career. He says spending isn’t the only problem:
“Over and over, every day, we hear legislators and political pundits say “Spending is the problem” and “We need to control our spending”, and that has translated into cutting programs and/or pay and benefits for active and retired feds.
When are the supposed grownups going to start talking about looking for operational efficiencies? Plenty of examples abound. For instance, I was a manager in HUD’s Multifamily Property Disposition Program which, at one time, owned and managed over 450 properties around the country. It was operated in about 47 offices. Some offices had dozens of properties, some had one. For many offices, they were in charge of less that a half dozen properties at any given time, some with only one or two. As such, their processing times were among the worst in the country. In a program where time was money, a change was needed, but I was told such a change was impossible.
Those who know me know that I do not easily take “no” for an answer when I think there is a more efficient way to operate. I evaluated the situation, and recommended we consolidate and centralize the program into two offices. Much to my amazement, upper management agreed. We had a competition for the offices that would be those two, and implemented the consolidation. As a result, we reduced the number of staff needed to run the program in the field from over 150 to about 60 at the time. The staff no longer assigned to the program were reassigned to other programs where their skills could be better utilized.
As a result of the consolidation, processing times, holding costs, and the inventory was greatly reduced. And recently, due to the continued decrease in workload, the program has been further consolidated into only one office.
The model we launched back then was used as a model in several other programs, and I am sure it could be used in thousands more programs. In fact, HUD recently announced a consolidation of its Multifamily Housing Program.
Leave our pay and benefits alone; savings will evolve by running a tighter ship!
Marc Harris is the President of eNARFE Florida, a Realtor, and CEO of Marc Harris & Associates in Windermere, Fla.
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