Building a More Responsive Federal Workforce: Lessons from the SC2 Pilot. 4.1 Provide local exposure when possible, particularly for those answering cities’ questions.

08/25/2014

On-the-ground experience in city government was a unique opportunity that not all federal employees have. However, there may be ways to think creatively about providing federal staff with exposure to local issues. First and foremost, federal employees tasked with interfacing with local communities, either through answering questions or providing technical assistance, should be the focus of these efforts. Many agencies have such a group and starting with these individuals will likely achieve the greatest benefit for local communities and the federal programs. When employees are located in regional offices, there will be great potential to create these opportunities. For example, an agency might choose to partner with cities to create abbreviated SC2 experiences. Individual staff members could be assigned periodically to work intensively with a particular city for an extended period of time (e.g., week, month, or quarter) to problem solve. The placements would provide value to the city and build or reconnect the employee to the reality of local implementation. It would be important to design the program in such a way that the federal employees had to step outside of their normal role while working with the city. This might be done by placing staff in cities they haven’t worked before (or for some time) or by focusing on a city’s list of concerns rather than the agency’s agenda. It might also be possible through the use of interagency personal agreements, which would allow federal employees to serve on details to state and local governments.

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