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POLI 370, Week 5

by: runnergal

POLI 370, Week 5 POLI 370 001


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About this Document

These notes cover what was discussed in class during the week of 2/8/16.
Introduction to Public Administration
Dr. Xuhong Su
Class Notes
political science, Government
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This 5 page Class Notes was uploaded by runnergal on Sunday February 14, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to POLI 370 001 at University of South Carolina taught by Dr. Xuhong Su in Winter 2016. Since its upload, it has received 54 views. For similar materials see Introduction to Public Administration in Political Science at University of South Carolina.


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Date Created: 02/14/16
POLI 370 – Lecture 7  Government Civil Service Systems o Civil Service System: an employment system used by democratic governments to curtail political tampering with administration procedures. Civil service  employees are there for administrative purposes. Administration implements the  will of the people; legislators express the will of the people.  Employees are:  Attached to positions: their positions decide who they are, who  the work with, etc. These employees are defined by their positions, not by demographics or personal interests.  Hired by merit: but what is merit? Test scores, credentials,  socioeconomic standards, race, etc. Merit is mostly based on good  performance.  Protected from political interference and dismissal: these  employees exist for administrative reasons, so they should be kept  safe from partisan political dismissal.  Fundamental Elements of the Civil Service System o 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 the job.  General Schedule (GS): the procedure that governs most employees. There are 15 grades in this system.  Each grade has 10 steps (1­4 = 52 weeks each, 4­7 = 104 weeks each, 7­10 = 156 weeks each).  GS Categories  Professional, i.e. attorneys and biologists  Administrative, i.e. budget analysts and supply specialists  Technical, i.e. pharmacy technicians  Clerical, i.e. secretaries and mail clerks  Other, i.e. firefighters o There are series within the categories, i.e. medical series,  assistant secretary series, etc. o How to Classify a Position  Knowledge  Supervisory control  Guidelines  Complexity  Scope and effect of work  Personal contacts  purposes and reasons for personal contacts  physical demands of job  nature of work environment, job hazards, and required safety precautions o Position Classification Problems  Written descriptions seldom match the genuine jobs.  The system creates strong incentives for grade creep: the tendency for  agencies to multiply the number of high administrative positions, shift  professional specialists to administrative roles, or seek high classifications  for existing positions. If people are not paid well enough, they will leave  the public sector in favor of private, higher­paying jobs.  The federal workforce has changed significantly over the last few decades, making it difficult to keep the GS system current. o Staffing Civil Service  Hire by merit. Merit is determined through one of two ways:  Assembled examination (test) o Essentially, this method never works, i.e. Griggs vs. Duke  Power (1971)  Duke Power said that all of its managers needed  high school diplomas. This merit requirement was  viewed as discriminatory because high school  diplomas were less common in the 1970s, especially among Southern minorities.  Disparate Impact Theory: when a merit  requirement unintentionally affects a group, for  better or worse.   4/5 Rule: if one group is accepted less than 4/5 of  another group’s acceptance rate, then the merit  policy is discriminatory. POLI 370 – Lecture 8  Staffing Civil Service (continued) o Unassembled examination (individual package that applicants compile) 1. Could include a CV, resume, interview, reference letters, personal  statement, cover letter, diploma, etc. o Applicants who pass the exam are placed on the register of individuals for hire. o Rule of Three: The first three names on a ranked register list are eligible for hire. o The rule of three is outdated; it has been replaced with eligible vs. ineligible  groups. Anyone in the eligible group is available for hire.  Staffing Preferences o Veterans receive a five­point bonus and disabled people receive a ten­point bonus  in the federal system. o Preference over equally qualified white males is given to minorities, women, and  disabled applicants, although is preference has been less defined over recent  years. o People that already hold career positions can advance through promotion or  transfer. They do not compete with external candidates.  Staffing Separation o The average length of service for a full­time, permanent, non­postal employee is  17 years. o Tenure allows people to develop expertise in a specific field. o It is hard to remove mediocre employees after the probationary period ceases. o The government can only fire people because of bad performance due to due  process laws (the firing must be justified). o Firing people takes so long – about two years – that it lowers department morale  and often renders the process worthless. o Some states have instituted reforms: Georgia, Florida, and Texas have all  instituted at­will reform, where bad performance results in “imminent” severance  (although it still takes about six months caused by the due process clause). o The government creates separation by attrition, reductions in force, and buyouts. 1. Reductions in force (RIFs): governments reduce the number of their  employees to accommodate shrinking budgets. This was practices in the  early 2000s by state and local government with the support of President  Bush. 2. Buyouts: the government offers money to employees who decide to forgo  government employment. For example, the South Carolina state  government offered $350,000 each to eight professors that agreed to retire  early. 3. Furlough: go home without pay 4. Temporary leave: go home without pay 5. Freeze: cease any new hiring  Compensation in Civil Service o The public sector pays less than the private sector, but the public sector gives you  better benefits. o Civil Service Principle: individuals should receive equal pay for jobs of similar  value. This principle is hard to practice because of supply and demand principles;  jobs with similar value may not have similar demand. o Comparable pay is adjusted annually as compared to the private sector by the  president through an executive order. o There are also locality­pay adjustments to compensate for differences in the cost  of living. o In the public sector… 1. Professionals and managers are underpaid but have better advancing  prospects. 2. Technical and clerical employees are overpaid but have fewer prospects. 3. Gender segregation in position and wages exists: more men work in  managerial positions while more women work in secretarial positions.  Employees Rights and Obligations o Employees have the right to unionize and the right to collective bargaining. o There are high variations in collective bargaining rights; most governments do not allow employees to strike, but some, less vital government positions do have the  right to strike. o Unions are the strongest in the public sector at the local level. o Unions fight by talking, striking, and political campaigning. o The union has gone through many membership fee changes 1. Initially, the union only charged union members. 2. In the 1980s, unions began charging all employees in the union’s position,  i.e. every teacher in California was charged for being in the union,  regardless of whether or not a teacher was an active participant in the  union. The union rationalized this by arguing that all teachers reaped the  benefits of collective bargaining, i.e. pay increases. 3. Now, there are many options on the table. Some non­union members  propose only paying for the money that unions use for collective  bargaining, while other non­union members argue that they shouldn’t pay  anything, since the First Amendment allows citizens the freedom of  association (or disassociation, in this case).


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