Sunday, October 15, 2006

Government Reorganization Creates Ministry of Nothing

The Alberta government has embarked on another government reorganization, centralizing the job of doing nothing in one ministry instead of all 24. This reorganization is the result of work conducted after the last government reorganization two years ago, which created the Ministry of Restructuring and Government Efficiency (RAGE).

“The creation of the Ministry of Nothing was the culmination of RAGE’s work,” said a spokesman, who wished to remain anonymous for fear that his comments could be construed by some as controversial.

RAGE employees were charged with the difficult and emotional work of trying to pry away the jealously guarded task of doing nothing and collecting it under the auspices of a new department. Most ministries were highly reluctant to part with the core business of doing nothing, which in some cases (International and Intergovernmental Relations) constituted close to 90% of their mandate.

It is clear that the new developments are unpopular among many government workers.

“I became highly specialized in my field and now I’m getting shafted,” said one disgruntled employee from Infrastructure and Transportation, who now finds himself shuffled from his comfortable office on 104th Street to a less comfortable office on 105th Street – the headquarters of the new Ministry of Nothing. “It’s outrageous,” he added. “I don’t even have an ergonomic mouse pad in my new office.”

Particularly egregious to this worker, and many like him, is the government’s decision to reclassify their job titles. Many workers claim that this will strip them of the professional respect of their peers. One worker is going from “Partnerships and Accountability Coordinator” to “Nothing Specialist.” Another worker is going from “Coordination and Results Planning Administrator” to “Senior Nothing Specialist.” Another worker is going from “Core Business Planning Results Planner” to “Nothing Special Specialist.”

“It’s an affront to my dignity,” said an unnamed bureaucrat, so fraught with indignation that he temporarily misplaced his Starbucks card and lost his place in line. “We’re going to be indiscernible from one another, like a hive of bees. Who is going to know which worker is responsible for which aspect of doing nothing?”

Now that the Ministry of Nothing can assume responsibility for doing nothing, other departments will be freed up for other important work, including not doing nothing. In fact, most ministries now intend to create internal units devoted to not doing nothing. One bureaucrat, Gordon Gormless, has already found himself appointed head of the Division of Not Doing Nothing for the Ministry of Education.

“I’m really excited about the challenges and opportunities afforded by my new role in coordinating the job of not doing nothing,” said Gormless. “This is highly important work. We owe it to Albertans to not do nothing. This work is just as important as doing nothing – every severely normal Albertan knows that.”

The first thing Mr. Gormless will do as head of Not Doing Nothing for the Ministry of Education is establish a committee for the coordination of specialist functions within the new division. This committee will draft a framework paper outlining principles for not doing nothing. A sub-committee will then be struck to report to the main committee on the implementation of the principles of not doing nothing.

“We’ve got a lot of work on our hands,” Mr. Gormless admitted.

The Ministry of Education’s Division of Not Doing Nothing expects to accomplish the goals of its mandate by 2011, although, as Gormless confessed to the M.o.M., “that might be rushing things a bit.”

The main challenge for government now, experts say, is balancing doing nothing and not doing nothing with other things, such as educating children, rehabilitating drug addicts, and saving the lives of people attacked by wild dogs.

“Government must be careful that those things don’t interfere with doing nothing and not doing nothing,” said one expert insider. “I do foresee a day, however, when Albertans’ demand for stuff like roads, cat scans and calculus tests becomes so great that the whole lot will have to be contracted out to the private sector, leaving the government to focus on doing nothing, which is its main strength anyway.”


The RAGE Ministry actually exists. Here is the address: