Opinion
May 7, 2012

Cutting bold advice

Quote of the week

 

“Overall, there’s concern about how we can continue to provide the valuable and essential information that we do to Congress, if the size of our workforce continues to decrease.”

 

– Gene Dodaro.

 

Editor’s Corner

 

Gene Dodaro is the Comptroller General of the U.S. Government Accounting Office (GAO). These guys are the watchdogs of potentially wasteful government programs, and the office seems to be one of the few government organizations that has bipartisan support.

 

Its most recent report was released just over a month ago. It found 32 areas of overlap and duplication, and 19 other areas where the government could cut back costs or bring in more money. 

 

Potential savings, according to the GAO, are in the tens of billions of dollars annually if the government were to follow its advice.

 

As it turned out, last fall Congress cut the GAO�s budget by $30 million, and its staff numbers will be dropping to 1930 levels by the end of 2012.

 

Dodaro is now asking for more resources so he can get the job done.

 

There is a lesson here. Sometimes it costs money to save money.

 

Those in Congress favouring ongoing cuts to the office talk of the out-of-control Washington “bureaucracy.” Those defending the GAO argue that its work is helping the government find ways to reduce costs.

 

All of which reminds us that cuts should not be made simply “across the board” or because an organization is associated with “government.” The fact is government has a role to do, and organizations like the GAO can help it do the job better – and cheaper.

 

And perhaps the issue is less the GAO watchdog, but more a political one. How willing are politicians to follow advice of organizations like the GAO (perhaps in Canada, like the Auditor General or other parliamentary watchdogs like the Parliamentary Budget Officer) and follow informed advice to make smart decisions on cutting and saving?

About this author

0 comments

There are no comments for this post yet.

Be the first to comment. Click here.

Opinion
 
Can government remember? Is it condemned to repeat mistakes? Or does...
 
In 2011, the World Economic Forum presented its vision of a...
 
Written by  Benjamin Selinger and Gabriel Flores A real challenge for...
 
Most attention in Canada is focused on today’s federal budget. But...
 
The February 5th Public Sector Quality Fair suggests that different ways...
 
Unprecedented realities demand new ways of thinking, new ways of seeing,...
 
2012 has been a very tumultuous year in the world of...
 
As the public sector faces its uncertain future, one key area...
 
The U.S. government 2012 Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey (FEVS) results have...
 
I attended the Government Technology Exhibition and Conference (GTEC) last week...
 
I can remember when technology promised the end of paper and,...
 
At the GTEC Distinction Awards Monday night, there was ample cause...
 
There’s nothing like a Frankenstorm to make one ponder the value...
 
The US Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has released a report...
 
My car was in for a “recall” repair the other day,...
 
Governments are busy downsizing. But how much are they doing to...
 
Readers’ Digest Canada recently conducted a poll that found the Canadian...
 
It was minus ten Celsius, damp, with a wind chill that...
 
A U.K. House of Commons report by the Public Administration Select...
 
What’s in store for the public service of Quebec? We heard...
 
Most Americans … believe the government should invest more in providing...
 
Robert Thompson, the head of the government of Newfoundland’s Executive Council,...
 
“The public service is being asked to do the impossible,” says...
 
Even diplomats aren’t immune to the trends spawned by social media....
 
In the government’s Action Plan for Open Government, Ottawa commits to...
 
When new International Cooperation Minister Julian Fantino launches a CIDA project...
 
“Do you see me? I’m electrified!” beamed Mark Tewksbury, as Emilie...
 
“Follow those who seek the truth. Run from those who have...
 
Covey became famous by articulating enduring principles of behaviour. Looking at...
 
Launched with so much optimism ten years ago, the government of...
 
What happens when a minister asks: “What’s the solution to the...
 
Ironically, at a time when governments should be ramping up to...
 
It’s no secret that the government workforce is changing in both...
 
Yesterday I chaired a Toronto session, sponsored by IBM, that looked...
 
Over the past few years there has been much dissatisfaction directed...
 
Do we read books anymore? Travel on airplanes or trains these...
 
In February, President Obama and Prime Minister Harper announced the formation...
 
It is unlikely that any international affairs expert could have predicted...
 
As a new professional in municipal government, the notion that municipal...
 
The U.K. Big Society project includes the reform of government service...
 
A few years ago, my colleague Paul Crookall and I wrote...
 
Wayne Wouters has got the perfect balance between telling it like...
 
Quote of the week “Departments have invested significant cost and effort...
 
Le présent article a été composé sur un wiki par la...
 
Stacked in different colours and piled high on our desks, paper...
 
President Obama has it right, and it’s a message that all...
 
A report released by RBC tells us that the fears of...
 
Quote of the week “…these changes (must) be grounded in the...
 
It’s no secret that service delivery is a concern of governments:...
 
If there is one area of government that continues to change...
 
Quote of the week “Departments have invested significant cost and effort...
 
Gene Dodaro is the Comptroller General of the U.S. Government Accounting...
 
You may remember Vivek Kundra as the U.S. federal government Chief...
 
The Irish government is determined to reform government, including the way...
 
The federal Parliamentary Budget Officer has stated what everyone in Ottawa...
 
Yesterday I participated in a panel discussion examining the role of...
 
In a document entitled “Our Values at Work,” the Secretary of...
 
This report from the UK Public Administration Committee looks at the...
 
To maximize (social media) potential within your organization, intelligent risk management...
 
Robert Fonberg, Deputy Minister of Defence, was launching the Government of...
 
Yet another MP – Nancy Duncan – is attacking the credibility...
 
One area where there was virtually no discussion from any of...
 
Not too long ago, Canadians were challenged by their political leaders...
 
It is becoming apparent that we are entering a new phase...
 
Most Canadians were glued to their televisions on February 28 when...
 
The recent decision to prorogue Parliament on December 30th was yet...
 
Le 31 mars dernier, le greffier du Bureau du Conseil privé...
 
Après avoir passé plusieurs années à combattre le gaspillage et à...
 
After years of attacking waste and piling new administrative rules on...
 
What keeps new public servants awake at night? The latent potential...
 
To say that over the past decade, the nature and forms...
 
Some title Some author
Some excerpt
 
Some title Some author
Some excerpt
 
Some title Some author
Some excerpt
 
Some title Some author
Some excerpt
Can government remember? Is it condemned to repeat mistakes? Or does...