The government is wasting so much money in so many ways that it takes something really odd to shock me, but this story from the Federal Times certainly meets that test. The Office of Personnel Management is actually squandering money on a marketing campaign to improve the image of bureaucrats. Call me old fashioned, but I think the image of bureaucrats will increase if they spend some time figuring out ways to save money rather than coming up with innovative ways to waste it:
The Office of Personnel Management is working on a new marketing campaign intended to boost the public’s opinion of federal employees. OPM Director John Berry said his agency is surveying liberal and conservative citizens about their impressions of federal workers and issues most important to them. Once that survey is done, OPM will contract with a marketing firm to “come up with the right vocabulary, the right messaging and the right energy that we believe will re-polish the public servant’s image,” Berry said at the Excellence in Government conference in Washington this morning. Berry said that the government’s outreach efforts should focus on employees’ specific jobs to counter the perception of civil servants as bureaucrats. …Berry’s comments came a day after the Pew Research Center released a survey showing that the public’s trust in the federal government has reached historic lows. Just 22 percent of Americans say they can trust the government almost always or most of the time, the survey found. That’s down from 31 percent in January 2007, and down from 40 percent in February 2000. Surveys conducted by other organizations in late 2009 and early 2010 yielded similar numbers. The last time national polls consistently showed this level of mistrust was in the mid-1990s. Public discontent could hurt government agencies’ ability to recruit and retain employees, said Tim McManus, vice president for education and outreach at the Partnership for Public Service.