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03/14/2013

Firemen First!

First responderFirst responder (Photo credit: patentboy)

The overwhelming discussion of sequestration and its effect is not only annoying it is - to use a diplomatic term - disingenuous.  

All organizations and institutions face times of prosperity and retrenchment. The impact of retrenchment causes leaders to review priorities and make decisions based on those priorities.  The Obama administration has done just that.   The handling of the sequester has made it perfectly clear their highest priority is to maintain spending levels while making any cuts to the federal and state government as visible, damaging and painful as possible..

Only in government is spending less than had been requested - even if more than the year before -  considered a cut. 

So after the standoff was over, the final date arrived when their own idea - the sequester - actually came to pass, a new strategy came into play.  Firemen First is the strategy chosen.  It involves cutting the most visible and valued government services first. 

Cabinet Secretaries toured the country proclaiming the approaching disasters.  The President used his bully pulpit to visit locations he had targeted for the largest cuts using campaign style rhetoric proclaiming the horrors that were to come.

The better interests of the country would have been served if cabinet secretaries and other managers in the federal government had been directed to protect the customer (US citizens) rather than inflict the most pain.  Do many of these high profile "cuts" seem petty and mean spirited?  

There is time to direct managers to manage - to prioritize their most critical and valued programs and manage their budgets accordingly.  Some have tried to do that and have been criticized by their leaders for doing so.  

Allowing managers to manage with the goal of protecting their customers and minimizing the cuts would mean that citizens could still visit the White House, people could still visit the national parks, meat inspectors could perform their duties (even if it meant some would miss the wine tasting in Napa Valley) and members of our military could still have access to education through tuition assistance (a promise made when they enlisted). 

What kind of actions or pressures will be required to take a different approach? 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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