The Eagle Blog

Get Rid of Deadwood … a Simple Approach to Saving Tax Dollars

It is budget day in Canada and the government is talking about cuts, savings etc.  Here is a novel idea … attack all the low hanging fruit first. 

According to Statistics Canada there are approximately 417,000 people working for the Federal Government in Canada.  That is an increase of approximately 10% (or close to 40,000 people) since 2006.  Our deficit was $34 billion last year and we are approaching a national debt of $600 Billion meaning that we need real value for our dollars and we can’t afford to waste tax dollars on “deadwood”.

I live in Ottawa and know lots of good people who work in the Public service and have the greatest respect for them.  I am also amazed at the number of stories they tell me about the “slackers” in the government who never get dealt with.

  • The guy who is getting close to retirement, doesn’t much feel like working any more so he comes to the office most days, reads the paper, reads a book, occupies a chair and does basically nothing.
  • The lady who was hired last year, still on probation, formerly a contractor … now as an employee she just doesn’t come to work.  She doesn’t feel like it, who knows why … but she is being paid out of taxpayer dollars and nobody does anything about it.
  • The many people I have heard about that get shuffled between departments because nobody wants them.
  • The “sidelined” executives that have no real task but are just kept around … and who then apply for every job for which they might be a fit on paper, but everyone knows they can’t do.
  • The employee caught surfing porn multiple times and the answer is to put him in a more public office space … why, so everyone can see?

I couldn’t make this up … these are stories I have been hearing about on a regular basis for years.  It is my very strong belief that I could talk to ten people in this town and they would all know someone who could fit into this “deadwood category”. 

If 2% (my conservative estimate of numbers) of the Federal Government staff were actually fired for this kind of inexcusable stuff the tax payer would save $400 million (assuming an average $50,000 cost with benefits etc.  which is also a conservative estimate based on Treasury Board information). 

In addition to the considerable savings …

The affect on government programs would be zero.

The affect on employee morale would be positive … nobody likes to see that kind of behaviour.  The vast majority of government workers earn their pay cheque, and they would appreciate not having to carry the deadwood!

How hard can this be?  What private sector organization would let this happen?  Maybe the govt could create an official Director of Firing, if it was a guy he could get a Donald Trump haircut!

Once Project Deadwood is done we can tackle Project People Investment that could look at the training investment the taxpayer makes in people with a year or two left before retirement.  After that I have plenty more Projects in mind 🙂

PS.  This would work at the provincial and municipal levels of government too … even more tax savings!!!

Kevin Dee is CEO of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
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