Federal Manager's Daily Report

A US Customs and Border Protection, Air and Marine Operations marine interdiction agent prepares a 41-foot Coastal Interceptor SAFE Boat for patrol in the coastal waters of Long Beach, Calif., Feb. 7, 2022. (CBP photo by Glenn Fawcett)

The public has a higher opinion of federal employees than it does of the government in general, according to a study sponsored by the Partnership for Public Service, which meanwhile said that the results regarding both are concerning.

Between 53 and 58 percent responded positively—and between 24 and 27 percent negatively, with the rest neutral—to statements that federal employees are as competent as private sector employees, are doing public service, are hard workers, are competent and work as hard as an average private sector employee.

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However, only 50 percent agreed that federal employees “are committed to helping people like me” and 30 percent said federal employees “are corrupt.” Said the report, “While that is less than the 49% who did not agree with that notion, the fact that about a third of the public views federal employees as corrupt could be a source of negative feelings toward the government.”

The study, conducted with the Freedman Consulting firm, involved both polling and focus groups. Key findings regarding views of the government overall included that:

*  more people agreed that the government is too bureaucratic, wasteful, corrupt and incompetent than agreed that it is effective, accountable, responsive to the public or transparent;

*  56 percent have not much or no trust that the government will do what is right vs. 40 percent who had a lot or some trust—similar to percentages who say the government has a negative vs. positive impact on the country as a whole and on individuals such as themselves.

*  an individual’s view of government is linked to personal experiences with those having negative experiences more likely to have a lower level of trust for example.

Opinions of individual agencies varied, with the Park Service the highest at 84 percent positive, followed by SSA, CDC. The IRS was the lowest at just 42 percent positive, with ICE and State just above.

Said the report, “Low trust is a barrier to our government’s ability to meet today’s urgent needs and provide modernized, equitable and accessible services. Distrust also can dissuade young talent from entering the federal service—an issue that will become increasingly important in light of a rapidly aging workforce.”

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