The Civil Service and National Security Personnel Improvement Act

May 5, 2003

Thank you for inviting me to testify before this Committee at this critical moment in civil service time. As some of you may know, it was twenty-five years ago that this Committee took up the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978. That statute reflected an effort to modernize a personnel system that had not been reformed since 1946, and addressed many of the issues embedded in the bill before this Committee today. Launched in a bipartisan spirit by the Carter-Mondale Administration, the act was designed to create a new era in human resources management. It contained new procedures for pay for performance, accelerated hiring, and waivers for experimentation. It also created the Senior Executive Service, and sought to modernize the outmoded job classification system that governed the hiring and promotion of civil servants.

I can think of no better way to celebrate the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Civil Service Reform Act than to pass this bill and begin the next generation of reform. Civil service reform is not a Democratic issue or a Republican issue; it is a good government issue. It should be designed first and foremost to assure that talented Americans have the chance to serve their country. As President Carter argued in 1977, the public deserves a government as good as its people. I believe there is overwhelming empirical evidence that this proposal would advance that cause.