Should there be a hiring freeze at your agency?

Friday - 10/1/2010, 4:30pm EDT

Tim McManus, vice president for education and outreach, Partnership for Public Service

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The GOP Pledge to America calls for a federal hiring freeze.

As the country is still in economic pain, at first glance a freeze makes sense. But if implemented, a freeze would be "counterproductive and would handcuff our government's ability to effectively fulfill important functions," according to The Washington Post.

And as government performance diminishes, so will the public's trust in government to do its job, said Tim McManus, vice president for education outreach at Partnership for Public Service.

What's important is to look at where a hiring freeze is needed -- not just implement one "across the board," McManus said in an interview with the DorobekINSIDER.

"It's not about size of government; it's about effectiveness of government," he said.

In the last 50 years, the number of federal civilian employees has stayed the same while the total population has increased from less than 190 million to 310 million, according to The Washington Post.

McManus said some agencies may actually need to grow in order to do their jobs, pointing to the Deepwater Horizon oil explosion as an example of what happens when an agency is understaffed.

"At the time, there were 60 inspectors covering 4,000 facilities in the region," McManus said. "Suddenly you put a hiring freeze and you say, You know what, we're not adding anybody else. Well, let's look at where the need is ... Let's look at the financial implications from not having enough of the right people and good people in those positions really doing what they needed to do."

A freeze could also end up costing more money if agencies must hire contractors, McManus said.

"The smart way is not taking a holistic approach across a very large, very complex organization like the federal government but looking at it piece by piece and saying, What do we need here and what's the right solution here?"