Fixing the Beuro-crazy (Part 4 of 4)
- The Vice President can have a job whereby s/he acts as “Quality Control” over all of the other agencies.
- The President should become the single focal point through which all communications and messaging flow.
- However, those working in the Federal Government should not only be unrestricted from responding to Presidential Communications, but must be protected and encouraged by the President to do so.
Fixing the Beuro-crazy (Part 1 of 4)
If sharing is caring, why doesn’t the government do it?
Fixing the Beuro-crazy (Part 2 of 4)
Getting a seat at the table for People, States, Science, and the Post Office!
Fixing the Beuro-crazy (Part 3 of 4)
Taking money from redundancy and giving it to Team USA!
Office of the Vice President
With all the Departments in place, an area is needed to oversee that all those compartments are not abusing power and are doing what is expected of them. Yes, there are theoretically checks from the Legislative and Judicial Branches, but what about within the Executive function? That is where a Department of Quality Assurance would come into play. Yet that does not fit into the idea that Departments should be key considerations for decision making. As such, we will give the Vice President some responsibility to review all the other baskets and have a person who is outside the structure of those Departments check in on each of them. This is why it was important in the originally added Amendment to make sure Agencies could be organized underneath the Vice President and President directly.
Much like with the Department of Government Operations, many of these functions are split among all the agencies today, specifically the Inspector General Office. If you recall, Congress has mandated the existence of this office, yet it has wastefully allowed each agency to create its own. All of those agencies could have the funding pooled into a new singular agency that would be responsible for the Federal Government as a whole, not just small bits and pieces that have a conflict of interest by working within the agency they are supposed to inspect.
Similar to the checks and balances on the Department functions, the Vice President would also gain the various military police agencies. Right now, these “internal affairs-like” agencies exist within the respective branch of the military. While it may be tempting to keep them underneath the Department of Safety and Security as a sub-division, a true check would be completely outside the Department to ensure that the military is acting within expected parameters and then investigate and prosecute when not.
At the same time, the Vice President would gain control over the Secret Service as an agency that is to be separated from all the rest of Safety and Security. The Secret Service’s function is unique in that it is a protective organization for members of the government, their families, and other important figures. As such, it should have a top-level coordinator in the Vice President so that the President can turn to a specific person when there are concerns or needs to be addressed.
Office of the President
Finally, there is the President himself. Really, the President is the head of the Cabinet over all Departments. There is currently a White House staff, but even much of that would be managed by the Departments. However, there are a few areas of which the President should directly control. Much like with the Department of Government Operations and the Office of the Vice President, these functions exists within agencies independently and not within a single focal point. As such, the President will need new agencies created by Congress and to move the funding from existing agencies to have his agenda recognized.
Most important is that the President becomes the conduit for setting the Executive agenda, doing analysis on how the programs approved by Congress will be implemented, and being the voice between the branches of government, the people of the United States, and the world at large. While that does not necessarily mean the President has to be the person that says everything, each area of the Executive Branch should not be its own mouthpiece as there is an overall government agenda that must be considered. The President and his designated subordinates would instead be the filter for communications and ensure a singular message — with the exception of the transparency requests that anyone can make to find out how these decisions were made and who made them. This is the final check: the check of the people on the executive government.
On the other end, there needs to be a mechanism for civil servants and agency heads to be able to disagree with the official Presidential message. The message that the President puts out would be the official stance of the government, that is true, but that does not mean it is correct or that there are not other valid viewpoints. We have seen time and again Presidents and the Executive Branch in general attempting to suppress items such as scientific consensus or fiduciary concerns because they do not align to their particular political message or placate people who might vote for them. But that does not mean there needs to be anarchy in the system where different divisions in the government are presenting contradictory findings. There should be a single message, and an opportunity to respond.
That is why law would be necessary to solidify these ideas and provide protections from reprisal for anyone who cares to disagree with the official line. We will call this law the “Executive Branch Communications Act”:
1: The United States Executive Branch shall provide singular messaging for the entire executive government through the President or the President’s designated representative(s).
2: All communications to the public, other branches of government, foreign bodies, or any other like institutions shall go through the Office of the President or the representative(s) designated by the President. No Agency, Department, or any other sub-division of the Executive Branch shall provide its own communications outside of this method unless designated as a representative of the President.
3: Should the President or the President’s designated representative(s) refuse to publish a communication authored by a person in the employee of the federal government, by an Agency, by a Department, or by any other sub-division of the Executive Branch, the communication may be presented to Congress and Congress may vote to release the communication under normal voting procedures. When voted upon, the President or the President’s designated representative(s) must release the communication as originally presented.
4: Once the President or a designated executive representative has released a communication, that communication may be responded to by any employee, civil servant, contractor, appointee, or anyone else in service to the Federal Government whose work is directly impacted or referenced by the communication. If the communication was released against the President’s wishes, the President may also respond to the original communication.
5: There shall be no restrictions on those persons responding to an executive communication save for reasons of national security. Elsewise, no person shall be restricted by any form for non-disclosure agreement.
6: The President, the President’s representatives, supervisors, department heads, agency heads, or any other persons in the employ of Executive Branch shall be forbidden from making any reprisal for a person responding to an executive communication. Congress shall create law for the penalties of enforcement and the Judicial Branch shall adjudicate in claims of reprisal.
7: The President or the President’s designated representative(s) shall create methods by which these responses can be attached to executive communications without restriction, censorship, editing, or any other constraint.
It is important to stay generic in “communications” because there could be press releases, speeches on television, tweets, or whatever else may come. The same with how to respond to them and the methods available; depending upon how a message was delivered means there might be different ways to respond. As shown in the law above, the President would be responsible to make sure there is a way for that to happen. Meanwhile, those in service to the government would not need to worry that they will face backlash from an employment perspective because the government is providing both the mechanism and the protections. Enforcement would be tricky, which is why it is important the checks come from the Legislative and Judicial Branches. This includes a way to circumvent the President entirely if the President is trying to suppress information that may not be beneficial to him or his Party. And only with Congressional approval would there be a government check. Note that this is separate from existing “whistleblower” protections as that is a disparate item that already has laws and protections in place (although those may need updating as well, but that is a reason we need Congress to be able to debate). Instead, this is about the work products of the Executive Branch and if there is a compelling case to overturn the President’s decision to withhold an end-product. As always, the balance between each co-equal branch is important to maintain, as we will return to shortly.
TO BE CONTINUED…