The Interview

Question: Commissioner Rossotti, you've had a huge job to do since you arrived at the IRS -- an important job. Can you tell us how you were recruited for this position and what your response to that was?

Answer: Ultimately, I was recruited by Secretary Rubin and Secretary Summers, but the whole thing started in a way that's probably pretty unusual for government. I was actually contacted by a headhunter. Treasury had contracted with a recruiting firm. I had not been looking, or even thinking about coming into the Federal government, and I had no contact or connections with anybody, so it was basically a "cold call." Imagine going merrily along on your own way and having someone call you up and say, "How would you like to be IRS Commissioner?" Eventually, I did go in for an interview and ended up taking the job. But, it was a bit of an unusual start.

Question: Had you ever worked for the government before?

Answer: Only years before. I spent a little time at the Defense Department as a civilian contractor.




Question: Commissioner Rossotti, according to the recent American Customer Satisfaction Index, the survey measuring customer satisfaction with specific government services, taxpayers are especially pleased with the initiation of e-filing. What does this mean for the IRS?

Answer: We're doing everything in our power to increase e-filing and electronic commerce. That's one of our key strategies. But, I don't think you can conclude from the survey that that is the solution, or the most important thing we've done, to increase taxpayer's satisfaction with the IRS. The people who are e-filing are a self-selected group, so it's hard to extrapolate from that. But, again, we're very happy with the positive response to e-filing.

Question: That brings us very nicely to the next question I wanted to ask you, which is about the importance of customer service versus the increasing use of technology to meet agency and customer needs.

Answer: Good question. Yes, of course it is the people here at the IRS who are really the answer, with technology being an important tool. The front-line people at the IRS play the most critical role in the whole process, and that's why we're going to great lengths to give them what they need: training, administrative support, and the rest.

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