REQUIRE 1 day per month of volunteer service by HUD staff
The major single problem HUD has is that it is not grounded in reality. There is a way to solve that, already on the books. It is called Admnistrative Leave, which allows up to 8 hours per month. Don't just recommend, REQUIRE it. Whether it is helping in a soup kitchen, helping in a homeless shelter, tutoring with Adopt-a-School, working with Habitat for Humanity, gathering clothes for a homeless shelter, helping a Senior project with a Vial of LIfe program, let each Office- as a GOAL- find some way to help the local area. It needs to start in HQ. If the area is so depressing, as another idea seems to suggest, then it is time to solve that with service. You want to put a little fire into people who have maybe lost touch with why they came to HUD? Put them where the pedal meets the metal. This means ALL the supervisors, too, they should be setting the example. No excuses. People with families somehow manage to make it to work, so they can do Admin Leave during work hours. If they can't make one day, or period, they can make it up another time. This will also teach people that work and time are flexible. I find that when I am helping people, I have more energy, and I get my work done more quickly. All of our better clients are already thinking this way. If we want the rapport necessary to accomplish all the goals you people have, this is a great, and perhaps the only, way to start. When high level bigwigs go out to the field, to talk to industry conferences, how about meeting with our clients, doing a little ceremonial service in a homeless shelter, say? Even if only for 15 minutes? In the military, the officers most respected are those wiling to get into getting the job done, rather than just delegating. Political appointees should be setting the example. While we're at it, WHERE is the HUD website where HUD staff can note what they are doing as volunteers, on their own time, in service to their communities? How are any of our clients going to improve, if we aren't setting the example? What is measured, and gets attention, improves. If you aren't getting the results you want, it is because you are not putting attention on the right thing.
Six Sigma commented
I look at the book Three Cups of Tea, where one man, with inadequate funds, has built more schools than several governments. I ask myself, how can HUD staff be like Mortensen? Getting maximum bang for the buck? Incorporating local resources to the max, as he does? That book should be required reading, from the library, for ALL HUD STAFF. We hear all kinds of management terms from the 10th floor. Business Process Reeingineering, for example. Except that those people don't understand the process, as a rule. It is fascinating to see them asking the field, and clients, for input, they never used to. In systems, ALL disease, all problems, are the direct result of blockage. Clear the blockage, and the flow heals. With human systems, flow is communication- and acting on feedback. That is the basis of all Six Sigma, Lean, TQM, and all the others. This agency mostly does not act on feedback, unless the IG or GAO is providing it. That is breakdown maintenance, it is not preventive maintenance. The Strategic Plan should have at least 30 Business Processes related to HUD's long term goals, with a full description- based on what really happens- and then areas for suggestions of improvement. This forum is great, as a first step. If HUD is really serious about the 5 goals cited here, it is more than simply collecting ideas. Some sequence of how to implement is important. Many inner city churches, for example, are excited about getting government funds. However, many do not have the capacity to handle them, or account for them. Capacity is more important than the funds. Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day; teach him how to fish, and you feed his family for a lifetime. We pass out far too many fish, and do almost no teaching. This is stupid at best, no wonder people are angry. The very first step would be collecting Best Practices- as a story of the entire operation of the outfit, and also as segments that can be copied. Even this first step is not occurring, not much.
Too many HUD people have no idea how hard it is for HUD's clients to do things. They play bureaucratic games, and "just say no" when they should be not only saying yes, but also providing technical assistance. They need to actually be around people in crisis, so they have some idea who they are helping, instead of sitting in the office with the rubber stamp that says "no".
I think allowing or encouraging the tenants to volunteer might be a good idea. I'm not for requiring anyone to do anything but I'm all for encouraging it. So many people would volunteer if pushed/encouraged. People must realize that there is always someone worse off. Our country must realize that we have to help each other. So many children need us. Time is the best gift.
Robert Manson commented
The author's intention to improve the community and lead by example are excellent. I support this intention but the means does not justify the end.
Requiring someone to volunteer? Did the general definition of the word "volunteer" change recently? Shall we start re-education camps for those lowly staff members who fail to abide? How about we start firing staff for not volunteering? Perhaps we should dock a non-volunteering staff member 8-hours pay per month for not abiding by the requirement to volunteer?
Does the author realize that many people have specifically joined government service as a venue to give back to the national and/or local community?
A website for employees to note when, where & how much time was volunteered? Does the author also realize that many people volunteer without needing validation via a website for public horn blowing? I wonder what underlying events/issues helped to motivate this anonymous idea for REQUIRING volunteerism.....
Here is a simple question: If you believed in this REQUIREMENT with such intensity, why did you post it anonymously? Man up. Leaders get tired of people throwing darts from the cheap seats.
HUD may not be absolutely perfect, but I have observed a plethora of staff give 100% of themselves to government service and the core concepts of their respective roles. This devotion has helped communities over and over again. One cannot measure each specific devotion on a balance sheet (or website) per se, but the devotion is there.
The origin of the word volunteer is from Latin voluntarius "voluntary, of one's free will"....I failed to located the word "requirement" anywhere in the same discussion. Let's keep the term volunteer as pure as possible.
Lastly, I was also able to find the origin of the word "absurd"....shall I continue?