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The Civil Service System Chapter 10.2 Government Mr. Biggs.

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1 The Civil Service System Chapter 10.2 Government Mr. Biggs

2 Only 11% of all federal government employees work in Washington, D.C. Some examples of federal bureaucrats: Secretaries and clerks FBI agents Forest rangers Air-traffic controllers A typical man or woman in the federal service is more than 40 years old and has worked for the government for about 15 years. 30% are minorities 44% are women Origins Originally, a competitive civil service system did not exist.

3 When Andrew Jackson became president, the federal government began to grow. Jackson fired about 1,000 federal workers and gave their jobs to his own political supporters. He said it was more democratic to have a rotation in office. A New York Senator stated, “to the victor belong the spoils.” Today, the spoils system describes the practice of victorious politicians rewarding their followers with government jobs. The Spoils System Calls for Reform Inefficiency grew because many jobs required expert staff members. Most federal workers were not experts. Corruption developed as people used their jobs for personal gain. Bureaucrats regularly gave jobs to their friends rather than to the lowest bidder.

4 Calls for Reform (cont.) In 1881, President Garfield ignored Charles Guiteau’s request for a job in the diplomatic service. So, Guiteau shot and killed President Garfield. Garfield’s assassination outraged the public. In 1883, Congress passed the Pendleton Act which created the present day federal civil service system. The civil service system is the principle and practice of government employment on the basis of open, competitive examinations and merit. The Pendleton Act The Civil Service System Today T he present civil service system may have created new problems in trying to solve the problems of the spoils system.

5 Getting a Job The Office of Personnel Management is responsible for filling federal jobs. Today, competition for federal jobs is stiff. Every job opening has an average of 76 applicants. Benefits and Problems Federal government jobs are attractive because of the many benefits they offer: Competitive salaries Paid vacation Sick leave Health insurance Retirement By protecting federal workers from being fired for political reasons, the civil service system also helps protect a small number of incompetent and inefficient employees.

6 The Hatch Act limits how involved federal government employees can become in elections. The law prevents political parties from using federal workers in election campaigns. Federal employees are prohibited from engaging in political activities while on duty. This includes wearing a campaign button. While off duty, they can participate in party politics. However, they cannot run for partisan elective offices or solicit contributions from the general public. The Hatch Act Political Appointees in Government The plum book, published each presidential election year, lists the available 2,200 top-level jobs in the federal bureaucracy the president has the chance to fill. About 10% of the executive branch jobs are appointed by the president.

7 People at the Top The people appointed to the non-civil service positions are first and foremost the president’s political supporters. Even though they are usually well educated, the people holding these types of positions are not experts in the work of the agency they head. When the president leaves office, they usually return to other jobs outside the government. A Short Tenure Because federal agencies are so large and complex, presidential appointees’ short tenure makes it difficult for them to learn all the issues, programs procedures, and personalities involved in running the agency. The result of the short tenures of presidential appointees is that much of the real power over daily operations remains with the career civil service officials.

8 The End

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