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Thread: US Civil Service in Crisis?

  1. #1
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    US Civil Service in Crisis?

    A certainly curmudgeon around here mentioned that his father was a career civil servant in the US.

    I read that GWB has installed party hacks, fundraisers and religious 'friends' in senior civil service positions. What would the old man think of that?

    .. and would the Dems do any better?

  2. #2
    mrblanche
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    Re: US Civil Service in Crisis?

    Quote Originally Posted by robmcg
    A certainly curmudgeon around here mentioned that his father was a career civil servant in the US.

    I read that GWB has installed party hacks, fundraisers and religious 'friends' in senior civil service positions. What would the old man think of that?

    .. and would the Dems do any better?
    That is known as "the spoils of war," this particular war being every election. The President gets to appoint party hacks as such things as federal attorneys.

    All the military officers serve "at the pleasure of the President," also. Although I've never heard of a President firing them all and appointing new ones right after his election.

  3. #3
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    Re: US Civil Service in Crisis?

    Quote Originally Posted by robmcg

    I read that GWB has installed party hacks, fundraisers and religious 'friends' in senior civil service positions. What would the old man think of that?

    .. and would the Dems do any better?
    I think not. The problem is not with appointment of political hacks, rather it is that they are not Dem political hacks.

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    Re: US Civil Service in Crisis?

    Quote Originally Posted by mrblanche

    That is known as "the spoils of war," this particular war being every election. The President gets to appoint party hacks as such things as federal attorneys.
    I've never seen a country do well with Presidential Office having more influence than specialist career civil service. Australia is worried about its PM's office carrying more weight than various ministries. A lot of it comes down to PR skills... and most PR people arer failed or greedy journos.

  5. #5
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    Re: US Civil Service in Crisis?

    Quote Originally Posted by jdm

    I think not. The problem is not with appointment of political hacks, rather it is that they are not Dem political hacks.
    Does the US not have a career-civil-service? As in Britain... best illustrated in the TV "Yes, Minister."

    Also, when are going to apologise for the slight vibation in my GM V8 at 100mph?

  6. #6
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    Re: US Civil Service in Crisis?

    Quote Originally Posted by robmcg

    Does the US not have a career-civil-service? As in Britain... best illustrated in the TV "Yes, Minister."
    That's a difficult question, especially since I have never watched that show nor do I know much about the civil service in the UK.

    At some level they are probably very much the same: the nuts and bolts of government far removed from policy or influence.

    At another level maybe not. A lot of the political 'appointees get 'folded into' the regular civil service when there is a change of administration and their points of view do not change.

    I'll ask a friend who lives in Canada who should be able to make the comparison. As you may know, the English speaking Canucks are very much the same as Brits in that area.

  7. #7
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    Re: US Civil Service in Crisis?

    At least until 1980 the Civil Service ran the UK. The politicians were at times incidental 'management issues'.

    Serious policy as in NZ is done by select committee which is cross-party and sometimes by Royal Commission. I guess it's a bit similar to your 'hearings' in some ways.

    I'd write more but my banker, a lovely girl called Jordana, is visiting ten minutes ago and I need to organise my social and monetary conscience.

    God Save The Queen

  8. #8
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    Re: US Civil Service in Crisis?

    Quote Originally Posted by robmcg
    Quote Originally Posted by jdm

    I think not. The problem is not with appointment of political hacks, rather it is that they are not Dem political hacks.
    Does the US not have a career-civil-service? As in Britain... best illustrated in the TV "Yes, Minister."

    Also, when are going to apologise for the slight vibation in my GM V8 at 100mph?
    I think the British Civil Service has more aauthority over the operation of their respective ministries than does the American Civil Service. There seems to be a level of management employees who in Britain are Civil Servants, but in the USA are political appointments. As I understand it, only the very highest level of management in the Government in Britain are MPs, everyone else is a Civil Servant. In the US, there are literally thousands of political appointments made with each change of administration--possible because none of those appointed may be members of Congress, whereas in Britain, they must in fact be members of Parliament. So whereas at most a couple of hundred people assume portfolios in the British government, thousands do in America.

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    Re: US Civil Service in Crisis?

    Quote Originally Posted by pgranzeau
    As I understand it, only the very highest level of management in the Government in Britain are MPs, everyone else is a Civil Servant. In the US, there are literally thousands of political appointments made with each change of administration--possible because none of those appointed may be members of Congress, whereas in Britain, they must in fact be members of Parliament. So whereas at most a couple of hundred people assume portfolios in the British government, thousands do in America.
    I think that's the nub of it, Pete.

    Political appointment of civil servants is a bad thing, IMHO. In the UK, Aus., and NZ top civil servants are appointed by a 'State Services Commission' [or similar] which is at least nominally cross-party, and there is a career in apolitical civil service for bright graduates. They aren't as good as 20 years ago cos the bright people are bought by the big corporates and the civil service doesn't often pay so well.

  10. #10
    D_E_Davis
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    Re: US Civil Service in Crisis?

    Quote Originally Posted by robmcg

    I read that GWB has installed party hacks, fundraisers and religious 'friends' in senior civil service positions.
    Would you rather have such "unemployables" on the dole?


  11. #11
    D_E_Davis
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    Re: US Civil Service in Crisis?

    Quote Originally Posted by robmcg
    Also, when are going to apologise for the slight vibation in my GM V8 at 100mph?
    Try the vehicle on another continent - I suggest Antarctica.


  12. #12
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    Re: US Civil Service in Crisis?

    Quote Originally Posted by D_E_Davis
    Quote Originally Posted by robmcg
    Also, when are going to apologise for the slight vibation in my GM V8 at 100mph?
    Try the vehicle on another continent - I suggest Antarctica.

    Bad idea, it might lead to the extinction of the penguin.

  13. #13
    Senior Member misterdecibel's Avatar
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    Re: US Civil Service in Crisis?

    Quote Originally Posted by robmcg


    Also, when are going to apologise for the slight vibation in my GM V8 at 100mph?
    That engine will never work properly, south of the equator, due to the corriollis effect. You need to change the cam and distributor to make it run counterclockwise.

  14. #14
    Senior Member misterdecibel's Avatar
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    Re: US Civil Service in Crisis?

    I'm sorry, that's "anticlockwise" for all you subjects of the Queen.

  15. #15
    gail
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    Re: US Civil Service in Crisis?

    Quote Originally Posted by robmcg
    A certainly curmudgeon around here mentioned that his father was a career civil servant in the US.

    I read that GWB has installed party hacks, fundraisers and religious 'friends' in senior civil service positions. What would the old man think of that?

    .. and would the Dems do any better?
    Do any of you read Prickly City? Here is a link: http://www.gocomics.com/pricklycity/2007/06/12/

    go back 2 days on the calendar to see the best GOP ones.

  16. #16
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    Re: US Civil Service in Crisis?

    Quote Originally Posted by jdm

    Bad idea, it might lead to the extinction of the penguin.
    You'll get the blame for that, too.

    If there is a just God.

  17. #17
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    Re: US Civil Service in Crisis?

    Quote Originally Posted by D_E_Davis
    Quote Originally Posted by robmcg

    I read that GWB has installed party hacks, fundraisers and religious 'friends' in senior civil service positions.
    Would you rather have such "unemployables" on the dole?
    I don't know about Rob, but given the choice of putting them on the dole and making them run the government, I choose the dole every time.

  18. #18
    D_E_Davis
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    Re: US Civil Service in Crisis?

    Quote Originally Posted by pgranzeau
    I don't know about Rob, but given the choice of putting them on the dole and making them run the government, I choose the dole every time.
    I must admit there is much merit in your comment.


  19. #19
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    Re: US Civil Service in Crisis?

    Quote Originally Posted by robmcg
    Quote Originally Posted by jdm

    Bad idea, it might lead to the extinction of the penguin.
    You'll get the blame for that, too.

    If there is a just God.
    There is no 'just' God.

  20. #20
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    Re: US Civil Service in Crisis?

    Quote Originally Posted by jdm

    There is no 'just' God.
    This cannot be true!

    I have just spent a day dealing with my retail banker... the girl in the MX5.

    And a sleepless night.

    Couldn't fathom the 'catch' in her unsolicited offer to give me a better interest rate and halve my bank fees.
    At first, when she need a calculator to subtract ten tousand from twenty thousand, I thought she was just pretending to be dumb-ish. Then when she became effusive about her MX5 I should have realized she was genuine.

    She succeeded in cancelling my one-and-only everyday account and leaving an available balance of $0.00. On a day with wages, power and city rates to pay... the latter both carry pentalties for late payment.

    The moral? NEVER TRUST AN MX5 DRIVER!

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