July 12, 2018

CHANGE: Under New Management: Trump’s ‘fresh eyes’ sparks massive federal reform.

President Trump is taking charge of his administration’s effort to reform the federal government and workforce, the biggest demonstration yet that Washington is under new management.

Aides describe the president as personally invested in the 32-point plan to shake the bureaucracy out of a 1950s model based on secretarial pools.

“So much of the ability to drive change requires a fresh perspective,” said Margaret Weichert, an author of the recently announced reform blueprint and deputy director for management at the Office of Management and Budget. . . .

Trimming and reeducating the workforce, combining federal agencies and eliminating overlapping services won’t be easy and Trump’s team are bracing for a bruising fight with bureaucrats, federal employee unions and lawmakers.

But it is one that Trump is approaching like he did many of his business challenges, setting the overall goals and then promoting them.

“He gets involved in the high level conceptual framing of it and then when we pull together the proposals,” said Weichert.

One business practice used in drawing up the reform plan was keeping the proposals broad and welcoming outside ideas, she said.

“Very often good ideas literally die in committee because if you have a single proposal the people who are invested in the status quo start picking at it, and picking at it and picking at it and then what’s left isn’t even worth pursuing,” Weichert explained.

Another tactic is selling it, and that means describing how poorly the current federal structure works. She and OMB Director Mick Mulvaney, for example, are armed with silly stories of how Washington works, such as how chickens are regulated by the Agriculture Department, but eggs by the Food and Drug Administration, or how salmon are regulated differently if they are in the ocean or river.

“We are serious about top down change. It cannot all happen at once, it can’t certainly happen by fiat, but when you look at where we are at in 2018 two decades into the 21st century and you pair that with a bureaucratic infrastructure that was very well aligned to the needs of the post-World War II era, it’s so clear there’s a mismatch,” said Weichert, adding, “If now isn’t the time to get traction on this, I don’t know when is. We have to get serious about making change happen.”

Legislation has already been introduced to begin making Trump’s reforms, headlined by a plan to revamp the federal workforce, reform IT and add automation, and combine the Education and Labor departments so that schools can focus more on filling the nation’s skills gap like some European school systems do.

There are a lot of areas where Trump could campaign on making America “more like Europe” and confuse the Dems.