Department of Health and Human Services

Term limits for government management promotes innovation

In private industry, if your team, branch, division, etc. is not making money or otherwise performing poorly or not contributing to the organization, the issue likely shows up rather quickly in the form of profit loss, decreased product quality, or increased customer complaints. Corrective action is usually implemented in likewise fashion, rather quickly. The main point is that private industry uses profit and loss to make objective determinations on how effective management and processes are in achieving their goals. However, there is no metric by which objective determinations are made regarding effective government management and organizational performance and direction. The basis of this proposal is to implement term limits on government management positions. After a specified period, say 5 years, Team Leaders advance to a Branch Chief position, take over another Team Leadership position, or step back into a team member position. Over time, this would improve opportunities for all members of an organization and ensure only the most effective managers are promoted and new ideas are continually being generated. A model of this style of rotating management might be academia, where department heads are periodically cycled out to make room for “different ideas”… we may not care what that difference is so long as we are changing and keeping up with the times and bringing in new ideas and fresh faces. Another excellent model would be the military model, whereby Commanding Officers on down are frequently rotated up, down, or laterally across their respective service. The military has proven their system works and does provide opportunities for fresh, new, and innovative minds to cycle into the management structure.

Lastly, ensure when implementing a management term-limit plan that the newly promoted manager is informed upfront they will either promote up or laterally or otherwise drop back down to their previous pay-grade level at the end of the set term.

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Idea No. 12834