Page 15 - Foreign Service Journal - February 2013

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the DS assistant secretary and directly
supply threat analysis to all DS com-
ponents, regional assistant secretaries
and chiefs of mission in order to get key
security-related threat information into
the right hands more rapidly.
Te board recognizes that poor
performance does not ordinarily con-
stitute a breach of duty that would serve
as a basis for disciplinary action, but is
instead addressed through the perfor-
mance management system. However,
the board is of the view that fndings of
unsatisfactory leadership performance
by senior ofcials in relation to the
security incident under review should
be a potential basis for discipline
recommendations by future ARBs, and
would recommend a revision of depart-
ment regulations or amendment to the
relevant statute to this end.
Te board was humbled by the
courage and integrity shown by those
on the ground in Benghazi and Tripoli,
in particular the DS agents and annex
team who defended their colleagues;
the Tripoli response team, which
mobilized without hesitation; those
in Benghazi and Tripoli who cared
for the wounded; and the many U.S.
government employees who served in
Benghazi under difcult conditions
in the months leading up to the Sept.
11-12, 2012, attacks. We trust that the
department and relevant agencies will
take the opportunity to recognize their
exceptional valor and performance,
which epitomized the highest ideals of
government service.
—Steven Alan Honley, Editor
Spending on Federal
riting in the Dec. 6
Josh Hicks reports that the
federal government reduced contract
spending by $20 billion during Fiscal
Year 2012, largely by increasing coor-
dination between agencies. Defense
accounted for most of the savings.
Joe Jordan, administrator for the
White House Ofce of Federal Procure-
ment Policy, pledged that the cost-
cutting efort would continue across the
government : “It’s a collective efort to
spend smarter and buy less.”
Te Obama administration hailed
the 4-percent drop in contract spending
as the largest single decline for a single
budget cycle on record, and pointed out
that total expenditures via federal con-
tracts were 6 percent below the Fiscal
Year 2009 level it inherited from Presi-
dent George W. Bush. However, Hicks
notes that while Uncle Sam’s spending
on contracts grew every year during
Bush’s tenure, the raw numbers never
exceeded the heights reached during
most of President Obama’s frst term.
Overall, contracts accounted for
about 14 percent of all federal govern-
ment spending last year, the lowest level
since 2003.
—Steven Alan Honley, Editor
State: A Pretty Good
Place to Work
Partnership for Public Service,
in collaboration with
Deloitte Con-
sulting Services,
recently released its
seventh annual survey of
“Best Places to
Work in the Federal Government.”
Te 2012 results are based on data
collected by the Ofce of Personnel
Management from 700,000 employees
at 362 agencies. Tat total accounts for
nearly a third of the total federal work
force, making it the largest such survey
ever conducted.
With 68.2 percent of employees
expressing job satisfaction (two per-
centage points down from 2011), the
Department of State ranked third on the
large agencies list, behind NASA and
the intelligence community. Te Com-
merce Department and Environmental
Protection Agency rounded out the top
Mid-size agencies were a new cat-
egory this time, with 22 selected for the
PPS survey. Te U.S. Agency for Interna-
tional Development came in 15th with
a score of 58.8 percent (up a percentage
point from 2011), while the Broadcast-
ing Board of Governors came in last at
46.8 percent (down more than six per-
centage points from the year before).
Among small agencies, the Peace
Corps ranked fourth with a score of 81.5
percent (up nearly three points from
last year).
As a whole, just 60.8 percent of
federal government employees said
they were satisfed with their jobs.
Tat score, the lowest since PPS began
reporting the rankings in 2003, refects a
drop of 3.2 percentage points from 2011.
Te survey indicates that workers’
perceptions of their leaders were key
to their job satisfaction, as shown by
signifcant drops in positive comments
about agency management. Other
factors leading to the overall decline
in rankings include the federal pay
freeze, constraints on opportunities for
advancement and fewer rewards for
good performance.
Max Stier, president and chief
executive of the Partnership for Public
While Uncle Sam’s spending
on contracts grew every year
during Bush’s tenure, the raw
numbers never exceeded the
heights reached during most of
President Obama’s frst term.