The Rebuild IRS Initiative: With a Bipartisan Approach to Rebalancing Management Stovepipes and Fixing 'Grass Roots' Field Operations

59 Pages Posted: 21 Apr 2015

See all articles by Frank Wolpe

Frank Wolpe

Bentley University - Graduate School, Graduate Tax Program

Date Written: April 19, 2015

Abstract

This White Paper offers an achievable "breakthrough opportunity" and framework for restoring trust to the Internal Revenue Service. It identifies the ill-conceived massive 1998 structural reorganization and division (like salami-slicing) of field operations as a major cause of the IRS’s current "downward slide." With that recognition, change-makers can travel a 2015 bipartisan pathway to addressing a wrong-headed 1998 "solution" to a 1998 non-existent structural problem by introducing a 2015 proposal for a National Office consolidation (slimming down) coupled with a field operations decentralization (closer to customers and ending the practice of absentee senior-management without local accountability).

The 1998 restructuring was, at best, a bad idea masterfully executed. At worst, it was a bad idea oversold, overrated and hierarchical making IRS an overly-centralized Washington agency.

The 1998 reorganization architects had scrapped a perfectly good structure by eliminating locally-accountable "District Offices" and replacing them with a headquarters-heavy (and field-light) bureaucracy of unjustifiably divisive stovepipes.

To recover from that, presently, IRS can feasibly deliver a range of better practices, especially through refreshingly new, "Field Executive Offices (FEOs)" (See page 16, infra) run by senior-executive "Field Directors," to restore "grass roots" accountability and a geographic footprint.

In sum, that 1998 ill-conceived restructuring can more accurately be seen for what it always was, "reversible error" and a "treatable self-inflicted wound." As prophesized by Brookings and countless "independent" minded Service insiders, things actually did get "worse"! So, what now!

Suggested Citation

Wolpe, Frank, The Rebuild IRS Initiative: With a Bipartisan Approach to Rebalancing Management Stovepipes and Fixing 'Grass Roots' Field Operations (April 19, 2015). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2596390 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2596390

Frank Wolpe (Contact Author)

Bentley University - Graduate School, Graduate Tax Program ( email )

c/o 52 Hagen Road
Newton, MA 02459
United States

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