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tv   Washington Journal Max Stier  CSPAN  February 2, 2018 6:35pm-7:07pm EST

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violent and property offenses, national security threats, and those who have communicable diseases, and that's it. i think zero enforcement should be devoted for people whose only violation is breaking immigration laws. whether it's possible or not, think it would be very difficult and expensive and would destroy a lot of american civil liberties, not to mention the civil liberties of immigrants and their families to do something like that, trying to deport 11 million to 12 million people. the biggest deportation rates we saw were in the first term of the obama administration, which then decreased substantially in the second term, and i think it's going to be nearly impossible for this administration to even reach obama first term numbers for deportations. host: our guest is alex nowrasteh. a fellow at the cato institute, cato.org. guest: thank you.
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host: good morning. talking here about presidential appointments and the filling of federal positions. give us the 101 on your organization, the partnership for public service. what is it? nonpartisan, nonprofit organization trying to government more effective. nonprofits.6 million focused on many different things. our federal government. we need to see all of those nonprofits and others focused on making sure that in addition to whatever policy they want, we have a government that is effective at delivering results for the public. that is our focus. how do you get good talent in the government, how do you make
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sure it is well led, and how do you make sure the system promotes effective and efficient delivery of services. how do you make sure people care about what government does and does it well. get most nonprofits, we donations from individuals, foundations, corporate support, and we do a fair amount of work training leaders in government. that work is done the poor service. as a ceo of a nonprofit, it is where i spend a decent chu nk of my time. host: what is the president's role for filling federal positions? guest: we have a crazy system. it is a good starting point. no other democracy on this planet has anything posted. the president has 4000 political appointees to make. 1200 of those require senate information. a unique process in the world. 630hose, we identify about
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that we see as the most fundamental jobs in running the u.s. government. the president is ultimately the person who chooses these folks, and the senate has to confirm them to but the president ultimately has to create a system that is able to fill these jobs with highly effective people with speed. no president has done that well. i think the system has to change. unfortunately, the administration is far behind previous administrations. lines forill have two this segment. one is for federal employees. (202) 748-8000 for everyone else, (202) 748-8001. let's take a look at those numbers. so keyed about 630 or positions. we have 635 on her graphic senate confirmation. 239 have no nominee at this point. five awaiting nomination, 146
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nominated, and 245 confirmed. take us through those numbers. roughly 400 positions have not been filled. guest: it begins at the very beginning, and that is that all new presidents come to be president without the experience of having done it before. to take incredible lift over the united states government, the most complex organization on the planet and probably in history. very few recognize the pre-work you need to do even pre-election in order to be prepared to be an effective president. this administration actually did start well. you had governor christie who led their pre-election transition. a lot of the work he did after it was removed was ignored. this administration did not have
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the infrastructure to fill these jobs or an understanding of the complexity of this process. it is crazy what you have to go through in order to be confirmed. jobs, of those, what are the top jobs that are not filled? guest: across the board, look at the world we live in today. we don't even have a nominee for ambassador to south korea. obviously, a critical hotspot. we are missing a census director, one of our constitutional imperatives, and it is an incredibly big lift. across the board, there is not an agency missing fundamental talent. there are people in those jobs in acting capacities, but they are not fundamentally equipped to do those jobs as effectively as we need them because they are not named by the president and confirmed by the senate. the substitute teacher phenomenon. the third highest ranking
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official in the state department who acted as a standardbearer for diplomatic integrity and professionalism for what they call demoralized employees. he is leaving. he served as active cemetery of state for 12 days last year between the inauguration of the president and the confirmation of rex tillerson. although the total number of employees is not diminished significantly from a year ago, state farm has experienced a brain during of serious -- drain a serious and respected diplomats. some were pushed out and some left. morale remains low among the remaining employees, and shannon sometimes privately counseled some of them. your reaction? guest: it is sad. the state department place a fundamentally critical role in protecting us as a country and managing the relationships we have with the rest of the world. data show that morale is down.
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we produce a ranking based on a survey of employees across the federal government. it was from april to june lester. while overall numbers in the government went up, state department numbers went down expressly around use around senior leaders. atwas challenging to look the data because we don't have good metrics on the highest performers employed, but there is a lot of anecdotal evidence that the state department is seeing a real brain drain, and they are not bringing enough talent in to replace the folks that are leaving. it is an agency that is in trouble. host: do you have a sense of what the administration's is at this point to fill the rest of the positions? my sense is they are trying. they have a plan, but the challenge is we are a year plus into the administration.
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the patriot showing up at super bowl and having a quarter of their offensive line and half their defensive line not on the field in the second quarter. there is no question they have been nominating folks. part of the responsibility lies with the senate, but they need to do more and do it fast. let's hear from brad from minnesota. you are out first. good morning. caller: good morning. i know he is kind of a young man, but that is ok. i want to ask him one question. what is the world going to conclude when they find out that we have in our premier agencies political moles? guest: if i can start by saying that you're the first person to describe me as a young man in a very long time. they just put a smile on my face. it is very interesting. there has been a lot of attention paid to the question of burrowing which is what i
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assume your question is driving towards. i think there are way too many political appointees who then take on career positions. there is a pretty substantial effort now made to make sure that is tracked their carefully. the office of personnel management has to review this. the government accountability office, which is not art of the administration, a legislative watchdog, they do a review of all this. at the end of the day, the numbers are tiny compared to the full workforce. you are talking tens of people. the vast bulk of the federal employee workforce are career civil servants. they are there because they want to help the american public. if you look at the data and compare it to the private sector, there are all kinds of places where the government workforce is below the private sector in the sense of their respect for leaders.
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where they exceed the private sector is there commitment to mission. they are willing to go that extra mile is they care about what they are doing. i'm not pretending you will not find examples, but they are tiny relevant to the vast bulk of the workforce. the real problem is less political moore's and more -- mo workforce that has not been invested in. it is not healthy in terms of bringing the talent in. host: susan, arizona. good morning. caller: yes. the questions with the workforce, are you specifying on this about the fbi or the workforce in the white house and congress and stuff? which one are you asking for a question? guest: we will take a question on any of it. host: are you interested in a particular part of the government? caller: the fbi.
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i have family members who are in the fbi, and they want the memo to coem out. it is embarrassing the ones that are doing good for the ones that are doing that. it is the same thing for the cops, the sheriff's department. another thing, i wanted to call the other day. host: let me jump in and mentioned we are talking more specifically about openings in the workforce with federal employees in the fact that a lot of administration positions have not been filled yet. anything you want to say about that? caller: well, it is so hard to get them to be filled. it took the most three to four months for someone actually to the background, pass the hard test. there is so much. a lot of people don't pass it.
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guest: you are entirely right. it is a real challenge for the federal workforce. to be clear, there are 4000 political appointees, approximately 2 million careers to the -- civil servants. a lot of times folks say the federal workforce is growing, not actually so. it has stayed steady as responsibility set increased or the federal government such as tsa. i think the caller is correct. the only quibble i would have is when she said three to four months to get through the process. unfortunately, it can take beyond a year. a lot of folks cannot wait that long. one area the federal government has to change is the hiring process. pain point if you talk to anyone on the inside is they will point to that. host: explain why it might take
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a year or more. what goes into that timeframe? careeri am talking about hiring, and the political thinking the expenses of -- extensive as well. part of it is the process, which is credibly difficult. a lot of information is required. the federal government adopts processes that are unique to it rather than standard private sector practices. security clearances, there is a massive backlog. that can also be a huge hundred dranceting talent. -- hin to getting talent. host: who plays the largest role? the executive, congress? guest: it is a combination, but the biggest role is on the executive. the rules need to be modernized.
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how they manage and pay him bring on talent are 70 plus year s old. they are operating on the same rules as they were in 1949. most of it belongs on the part of the leadership, the political leadership. political leaders you there job as crisis management and policy development, not on running their organizations effectively. host: any federal employees that want to call in, we would like to hear from you. ben, you are on. caller: thank you for taking my call. i really appreciate the effort of what you are doing, but i have some serious concerns of some of the statements you make. i have been in federal government since 1991. i am currently a career civil
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servant. towards the top of the gs ranks. regarding persons in an acting capacity, you equated into a substitute teacher. this is not accurate in my opinion. i have worked with plenty of people who were in a senior capacity acting and functioned in that role for years and were completely successful. whether or not someone in an acting capacity is able to seek the mission with that role moving forward has much more to do with the individual than any limitations with virtue of it being acting. is it same as being in full capacity, no. many of them are able to be fully functional in that role. the second one has to do with the difficulty of filling those positions. say that i truly believe that this administration
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has been handicapped by the response from the agencies. i spent the majority of my career in the intelligence community. i left the intelligence community deliberately because of the politicization of the community. thegan so fed up with actions of appointees from the obama administration that i left. know many and i people who work in government who believe that there is a deep state deliberately undermining this administration. i have seen actions on it. you said something about numbers of people, the burrowing in, that it was not a lot of people. problem is the overwhelming majority of federal employees follow the rules and will not raise any issue of someone doing something wrong unless the
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evidence is so obvious because they will be the ones taken to task for raising a complaint. you stand to lose a much more by complaining then breaking the rules. the few people willing to break the rules to assist the previous administration are able to get away with it. host: i am going to let you go. you make several points. they are all interesting points. guest: they are. i am going to pull out three and try to respond to them in a helpful way. the first is the metaphor of the substitute teacher i raised. i think we have more agreement that disagreement. i think the people who are in these acting roles are better qualified to do those jobs than the majority of the political appointees who come from the outside and don't know the environment they need to operate in. the challenge is, and i would
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expect you agree with this, every one of those acting individuals would say they would be better off if they were the named person who was confirmed by the senate. you say some of them are in office for years and years. that is correct, but they don't know they will be in office for years and years. they don't know if they will be there for three years or three months. they will not make decisions with the expectation that they will be able to see them through with that time horizon. nor will they be perceived by those around them as having that longer-term authority. the nature of the beast is people will not invest in the same way. maybe it is a difference of degree. there is no question that wonderful person who is serving and acting in my view as a substitute teacher may be an excellent educator, but they would be better off in a permanent place. you talk about the difficulty of filling the jobs and the question of whether the deep
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state is at play. i would say i personally think the whole notion of the deep state is a bad one. there are certainly people who do not do their jobs well and who are career people who may push a policy, but the vast majority, and that that you think this is welcome are actually there to follow the lead of the political leader. their job is to do with the president who was elected directive to do. they may have differences of view, but they are there to uphold the constitution. the president has a responsibility to create an effective leadership team. whether there are people who are unhappy about the choices they are making, they are not the ones making it hard for him to find or select people. that is something he owns very directly. the third one is very powerful and important, your question of whether people raise problems.
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there is the survey i mentioned earlier, and question number 17 on that survey asks are you able to raise a violation of law or ethics without fear of retaliation. i think this is a critical health question for any organization. if you look at the obama administration and the challenges they had, whether or general the irs services administration, this is fundamental to the problem they had. in a bigger organization, someone is going to do something stupid somewhere. what does the rest of the culture do? do they identify the problem and raise it to leadership or sit on their hands and let it get worse? if you don't have a healthy culture, people don't raise that information to leadership. if you look at the federal workforce, and this is not unique to obama or trump,
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federal workers don't believe a are in an environment where they are safe to raise problems. that is a big problem in my view. this is one of the key metrics. there are some agencies that it is only about a third of the work worse say they can -- arkforce say they can raise violation. the overall average is 60%. that is 15 points lower than it is in the private sector. call,as we go to our next you can see of the large agencies, nasa, commerce, hhs top the list. where can people read this chart? caller: -- bestplacestowork.org. a lot of people talk about running the government like a business, but you can't.
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you can use business fundamentals, but the government is very different. measuring performance is very challenging, not impossible. one commonality is that in a knowledge-based world, the engagement of your employees is the most important element of success. that is what this raises. host: gina, florida, thank you for waiting. caller: good morning. the caller from virginia said there is a deep state trying to undermine president trump. just the opposite. that it was a real propaganda call. this is what i see. there is an expression, many mistake is made on purpose. when you get what you have now, this authoritarian government with so many generals running around the white house, with a are going to do is downplay or theyish the departments
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find unnecessary. they are going to focus on what they want, and what this administration wants is provocation in the middle east, jerusalem isaiming the capital of israel trying to destroy the iranian nuclear deal , and it is obvious what they are trying to do. the department of defense, general mattis, he says i want more clement and less bullets. no. just the opposite. guest: i entirely subscribe to the notion that the idea of a deep state is counterproductive and not accurate. i think americans should understand they are blessed with a phenomenal government. it will not stay that way if we don't take care of it. one of the great challenges you see is politicization of the
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career civil service workforce. calls --u got what we have is an immensely mission oriented workforce that is trying to do their best by the american public, but they are being felt by the system they are operating in and many of the leaders they have. if we want to stay at the top of the world as a nation, we need to make sure we are taking care of our government. the other quibble i would have is this notion that the generals are part of the problem. interesting to me, if you look at our military, they have the most effective talent operation, certainly way more effective than the civilian side. the military, they look at their people as an asset. unfortunately, on the civilian side, most folks look at the talent as a cost.
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most people should also understand that the civilian than the is more majority focused on national security, dod and beyond. host: president trump at the state of the union speech. tuesday, he talked about the the a accountability. passed aear, congress landmark the a accountability act. accountability act. my administration has already employeesre than 1500 who failed to give our veterans the care they deserve. we're hiring talented people who love our veterans as much as we do.
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[applause] i will not stop until our veterans are properly taken care of which has been my promise to them from the very beginning of this great journey. [applause] auto americans -- all americans deserve accountability and respect and that is what we are giving to our wonderful euros. es.hero call on congress to empower every cabinet secretary to with -- with the authority to reward hard workers.
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thing thet important president said was towards the end there. on focus has been entirely getting rid of the bad once. ones. incredibly risk reward work or -- force. because they do it know they are at risk if they do. >> last call. isi think this subject probably the most important issue we face and government today. people who are running this
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government. this president is a visionary. he sees solutions not problems. person wants to cleanse the products they are going to eat, they cleanse it. i think we are going to see government employees rising to the top and cleaning house themselves to make it a better running government. this president talks about the american public. that is his main concern and it has to start with this government. this president is a visionary. he sees the solutions and does not worry about the problems. we know the problems. it is the solutions we are after. i think we are going to see more and more of that coming into fruition as time goes on. thehe middle of this year,
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american public is going to recognize that this man is talking to the american public. not to the political system. god bless him and regardless america. -- god bless america. i am 87 years old and this is the most promising future i see for our country. god bless our military. thank you for your time. guest: congratulations on 87 years. what he said about folks on the inside needing to lead the way in changing the government is incredibly true. we need those clinical leaders in place to help give them top cover so that the ideas they know need to take place can actually happened. it is true of any organization.
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that energyaccessed and talent as fully as we should. rightpowerful given the leadership and institutional support. our public service.org is a place to go for more information. >> the c-span city tour takes of billhe first home and hillary clinton. we will explore fayetteville's rich literary life and history. in lotst was remarkable
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of ways but he could talk to just about anybody. is democratic leader fulbright meeting with the president and the future president. they are all here watching texas --eat the razorbacks did razorbacks. the history of the ozarks and the stereotypes people face leaving -- living in the region. >> lots of things that come with that general territory of traditionally being mostly white, mostly rural, and mostly poor. those stereotype

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