Culture trumps everything. That's the central theme of Civil Disservice, an impassioned call for genuine reform and renewal of the U.S. federal civil service. In this acerbic, fast-paced, and irreverent polemic, long-time government consultant Fred Mills offers a unique perspective on federal employment culture, gleaned from years of ground-level experience working with dozens of federal agencies and organizations. Mills argues that much of the dysfunction of our national government today has its roots in this culture - in the norms, behaviors, incentives, and expectations that have come to define federal civil service.
Mills goes on to deliver a pointed critique of civil service reform efforts to date, arguing that virtually none of these initiatives has recognized or addressed the underlying sources of the government's human resources management challenges. Instead, most attempts at reform over the past several decades have been little more than cosmetic exercises, focused overwhelmingly on tweaking the mechanics of federal HR. Predictably, these efforts have foundered, falling far short of expectations and in the end contributing nothing of lasting value to the quest for improved government performance.
Civil Disservice challenges the next generation of federal sector reformers to dig deeper, to think harder, and to acknowledge and confront outdated assumptions about what it means to be a civil servant. Mills offers a vision of a future federal workforce designed to deliver results to the American people: a more responsive, flexible, and capable workforce, with an employment culture strikingly different from today's. Given the prospect of massive generational turnover during the coming decade, now is the ideal time for fresh thinking and unconventional ideas about reforming and renewing the federal civil service. Provocative, insightful, and refreshingly direct, Civil Disservice makes a powerful case for a new way forward.