The Civil Service System

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You federal government is the single largest employer in the United States. Boasting over 1.8 millions employees one can imagine that managing such a vast number of employees would take a system nearly as complex as the government itself. The civil service system was created to do exactly that. The purpose of this paper is to explore the origin, history, and evolution of this system and its relevance today.

The civil service system is often referred to a personnel administration or, a better-known term; human resources. Merriam –Webster’s dictionary defines personnel administration as the phase of management concerned with the engagement and effective utilization of manpower to obtain optimum efficiency of human resources. What we know as
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In this pre-civil service model those in government jobs serviced at the mercy of the president, and could be terminated at any time. This method inevitably led to the use of government jobs as a means to support particular political parties. This was addressed by drafting and implementation of the Pendleton Civil Service Act 47th United States Congress in 1883. The Pendleton Civil Service Act essentially created the United States Civil Service Commission and was pivotal in ensuring that government job be obtained based on merit through testing and performance rather that political alliances and patronage. The Pendleton Act made it illegal to fire government officials for political reasons and to fundraise for campaigns on federal property. Interestingly enough the initial civil service protocols did not apply to local and state governments. This was likely in due to the adherence to the 10th amendment regarding respect for states rights, states now employ similar systems in the hiring process of their employees. In an effort to further remove political influence as a factor in federal employment the Hatch Act of 1939 was introduced with the primary purpose preventing employees in the federal government from engaging certain political activities in the performance of their duties. The act introduces several restrictions on federal employment much as prohibiting prohibited …show more content…
Each of these three organizations has unique duties and responsibilities in regard to federal employment. The mission of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), according to their website is to “recruiting, retaining and honoring a world-class force to serve the American people”. The OPM is responsible for the selection of administrative law judges and the management investigations for the issuance of Secret and top secret security clearances. The Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) is meant to protect the merit based employment system from political partisanship and protect federal employees from abuses by management. According to their website the MSPB “serves as the guardian of Federal merit systems”. While this protects employees from unreasonable actions against them it also makes it nearly impossible to terminate an employee for poor performance as well. The Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA) oversees labor relations between the government and it’s employees. According to their website the mission of the FLRA is to “to carry out five (5) primary statutory responsibilities as efficiently as possible and in a manner that gives full effect to the rights afforded employees and agencies under the Statute.” The

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