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Part III: People in Government Organizations Chapter 8: The Civil Service.

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Presentation on theme: "Part III: People in Government Organizations Chapter 8: The Civil Service."— Presentation transcript:

1 Part III: People in Government Organizations Chapter 8: The Civil Service

2 Government Civil Service Systems Civil service system: employment system used by democratic governments to minimize political tinkering with the administrative process Employees are –Hired by merit –Paid according to position –Protected from political interference and dismissal –Obligated to accountability

3 Public Employment Size of American bureaucracy is in the middle of the world’s industrialized nations Total U.S. government employment at the national level relatively flat in the past forty years Nearly half of all employees work in education and libraries

4 Fundamental Elements of the Civil Service System Position classification: each position is identified in terms of the special knowledge the job requires, its level of difficulty, and the responsibilities that come with it. Staffing Compensation

5 Position Classification in the Civil Service Positions are defined according to occupation, degree of difficulty, and responsibility. General Schedule (GS level) that governs most employees includes fifteen grades. The system attempts to prevent political interference in the hiring process.

6 Position Classification Problems Written descriptions rarely match actual jobs System creates strong incentives for grade creep –Grade creep: tendency for agencies to multiply the number of high administrative positions, shift professional specialists to administrative roles, or seek higher classifications for existing positions Federal workforce has changed; makes it difficult to keep system up-to-date

7 Staffing the Civil Service Hiring process asks that applicants who meet minimum qualification requirements for white- collar positions take one of these exams: –Assembled examination: written test administered usually at a number of cities throughout the country; used mostly for lower positions –Unassembled examination: candidate submits comprehensive résumé, detailing education, training, and experience; more common for higher positions (GS-9 and up)

8 Staffing the Civil Service (continued) Applicants who pass exam are placed on register of individuals for hire “Rule of three”: the first three names on a ranked register list eligible for hire

9 Staffing Preferences Veterans receive a five-point bonus in the federal system; if they are disabled they get a ten-point bonus. Preference over equally qualified white males is given to minorities, women, and disabled applicants. Those already holding career positions can advance through promotion or transfer without competing against external candidates.

10 Staffing Separations Average length of service = seventeen years for full-time, permanent, nonpostal employees Hard to remove mediocre employees

11 Staffing Separations (continued) Separation by attrition, reductions in force, and buyouts –Reductions in force (RIFs): governments reduce their personnel ceilings to accommodate tight budgets; practiced in early 2000 by state and local governments –Buyouts: government offers cash incentives to employees who agree to leave government employment

12 Compensation in the Civil Service Federal pay has tended to lag behind what employees would earn in similar private-sector jobs. Government tends to provide generous fringe benefits. Civil service principle: individuals should receive equal pay for jobs of comparable value. Comparable worth: many state governments have conducted these studies and found that sex-based wage differences and sex-based occupational segregation exist in their bureaucracies; some reforms have been based on these results.

13 Employee Rights and Obligations Unionization: about 40 percent of government employees at the federal, state, and local levels are covered by unions; rise in unionization of public employees Collective bargaining: used to determine conditions of employment; has increased in the public sector

14 Public-Sector Strikes Governments do not generally concede the right of their employees to strike against “the sovereign state”; public employees do strike but are limited. Civil service system and budget decisions by elected policymakers set basic conditions of work. No executive official can bargain over many of the issues about which the union is concerned. Government differs in the scope of issues on which employees and their unions want to, or are able to, bargain.

15 Employees’ Right to Privacy President Reagan (1986) required federal employees to refrain from the use of drugs and declared those who use illegal drugs unsuitable for employment. Employee unions oppose mandatory testing of urine for evidence of illegal drug use. AIDS testing also associated with issue of privacy.

16 Employees’ Political Activity Hatch Act: Congress in 1939 adopted an act to prevent pernicious political activities. Over time, the act has been amended in numerous ways. The Hatch Act was amended in 1993 to allow federal employees to be more involved in political campaigns.

17 Patronage Restrictions Three Supreme Court decisions have tested the constitutionality of requiring party membership or support for retention of government employment: –Elrod v. Burns (1976): The Court’s plurality opinion condemned such patronage dismissals of non–civil service employees in nonpolicymaking positions as a violation of First Amendment rights of freedom of belief and association.

18 Patronage Restrictions (continued) –Branit v. Finkel (1980): The Court held that in this instance party affiliation is not an appropriate requirement for the effective performance of the position’s duties. –Rutan v. Republican Party of Illinois (1990): The Court dismissed claims that the patronage practices furthered the government’s interest in securing loyal and effective employees.

19 Values in Conflict Civil service system, collective bargaining system, and the political system embody different values. Governments, unions, and political parties all vie for the loyalty and service of public employees.

20 Conclusion Civil Service is broken, partisan solutions to the problem Obama administration has made hiring reform a top priority –Got rid of KSA essay (“knowledge, skills, abilities”) –Just a resume and cover letter, no longer “rule of three” –Increased attention to simplicity, flexibility, and efficiency


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