Low confidence in government deters jobseekers

Friday - 7/30/2010, 4:42pm EDT

Tim McManus, Vice President for Education and Outreach, Partnership for Public Service

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As the DorobekInsider has been reporting, the government continues to have a difficult time generating greater trust from the public.

A new poll that the Center For American Progress just put out on what Americans want from government generally seems to make a case for that. The poll shows that 33 percent say they have "some" confidence, while 31 percent say "no, not at all."

Tim McManus is the Vice President of Education and Outreach for the Partnership for Public Service.

He says one finding the poll shows is that the public's lack of confidence may be more closely related to perceptions of performance than any ideology.

"They don't necessarily want a smaller government," says McManus. "They want an effective government."

But in order to get a more effective government, says McManus, the government needs to make sure it has good people.

A key finding that the poll illustrates is that the low confidence levels actually deter experienced and skilled workers from looking for government jobs.

"Based on our research, particularly with experienced workers, (the public sentiment) is actually a key driver of interest in working for the government," says McManus.

"We frequently have conversations about how do you get good people in, how do you keep the good people - this is really one of those uphill battles that government is going to have to continue to fight," says McManus.

As the poll indicates, most Americans don't believe that poor performance in the public sector is inevitable. They believe that government effectiveness can improve.

The Partnership for Public Performance says that improvement really needs to come from leadership within the government, and not just in terms of managing effectively, but leading efforts to achieve success.

But according to poll responses, Americans really do seem idealistic about change.

"I think this could be a little bit of a wakeup call to policy makers that Americans do care...and that they actually expect more - particularly in areas of energy, poverty and education," says McManus.

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