Category: Government Reform

Why Can’t You Text 9-1-1?

9-1-1 needs to move into the Internet era.

In today’s Internet-enabled world, most people take for granted their ability to communicate with just about anyone, anywhere, and by any number of means – voice, text, email or through social media such as Facebook or Twitter.

But one essential communications service remains largely trapped in the landline era: 9-1-1.

In many parts of the United States, 9-1-1 is still rooted in the landline-telephone-based infrastructure that gave the system its start in 1968. The texts, videos, images and data now integral to rapid-fire modern communications are beyond the capacity of most 9-1-1 systems. While a concerned citizen could snap a photo of a fleeing suspect on her smartphone and post it to Facebook, she likely can’t share that same photo with a 9-1-1 dispatcher. As of November 2014, just 152 counties in 18 U.S. states even had the capability for citizens to text to 9-1-1.

But a few jurisdictions – such as Iowa and Vermont – have made the leap to Internet-enabled 9-1-1, known as “Next Generation 9-1-1.” The potential rewards include not just better public safety but cost savings in the long run.

Continued at the Washington Monthly…

The Death of “Reinventing Government”

New research says “dismantlers” now have the upper hand.

In 1993, President Bill Clinton and Vice President Al Gore launched modern history’s longest-running project to fix the federal government.

Posing with two forklifts loaded with federal documents, Gore vowed to streamline an “old-fashioned, outdated government” with a ruthless focus on efficiency.  By the project’s end in 2000, “reinventing government” had eliminated 640,000 pages of internal regulations, cut 426,200 federal jobs and saved $136 billion. Public trust in government rose from 25 percent in 1993 to 42 percent in 2000, the highest it had been in decades.

Today, however, trust in government has sunk back to historic lows. And as the 2016 elections approach, “government reform” is a likely plank in many candidates’ platforms.

But if it’s time for reinventing government again – the 1990s’ focus on “inefficiency” might be too pallid a prescription for government’s current woes. Americans no longer believe inefficiency and waste are the government’s biggest problems, according to a recent study by Brookings Institution scholar Paul Light. Instead, more Americans now disagree with government’s fundamental priorities. It’s not so much how government is doing its job, but what it’s doing in the first place – a problem no amount of streamlining can fix.

Continued at the Washington Monthly…

The Federal Government’s Worsening Millennial Talent Gap

Outdated hiring practices are to blame, says Partnership for Public Service President Max Stier.

Polls show that, compared to other generations, millennials believe in an active federal government.

Most millennials favor a “bigger government providing more services,” finds the Pew Research Center, while another survey by Deloitte finds that millennials overwhelmingly support government’s potential to solve such pressing problems as climate change and income inequality.

Yet only 7 percent of current federal workers are under age 30 – the lowest share in almost a decade. Why are so few millennials working in federal government?

Continued at the Washington Monthly…