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Chapter 11. Bureaucracies. Bureaucracies: The Fourth Branch of Government. Bureaucracies: Translating Ideas into Action Bureaucracies exist because translating ideas into actions requires an organization of people and resources dedicated to the task.

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chapter 11

Chapter 11

Bureaucracies

bureaucracies the fourth branch of government
Bureaucracies: The Fourth Branch of Government
  • Bureaucracies: Translating Ideas into Action
    • Bureaucracies exist because translating ideas into actions requires an organization of people and resources dedicated to the task.
    • A bureaucracy is a hierarchical organization that exists to accomplish public purposes (goals).
  • Who are the bureaucrats?
    • Bureaucrat generally refers to any individual who works in the executive branch of government.
    • Executive departments, independent establishments, and government corporations who work with the president and his staff, but that are politically separate, are sometimes referred to as a “fourth branch” of government.
bureaucracies the fourth branch of government continued
Bureaucracies: The Fourth Branch of Government (continued)
  • Distinguishing Characteristics of Bureaucracies
    • Only bureaucracies are responsible for executing public policies.
    • Bureaucracies are extremely diverse.
    • Individual bureaucracies are dispersed throughout Washington, D.C, but 86 percent of bureaucrats work outside the capital in regional and field offices throughout the nation.
    • Most bureaucrats work in a relatively anonymous fashion.
    • A wide range of jobs exist in the category of federal service.
the government of the united states
The Government of the United States

The fourth branch is comprised of executive departments, independent establishments, and government corporations. Although the president appears to be in command of the executive departments and other agencies, his actual control is measured by the degree of influence he is able to have on their decisions and programs. Most bureaucrats have civil service status and cannot be dismissed at the president’s discretion. Only a relatively few administrative heads serve “at the pleasure of the president.”

executive branch organization types of bureaucracies
Executive Branch Organization: Types of Bureaucracies
  • The Executive Office of the President
    • The president has a variety of staff advisers.
    • Executive Office units are resources the president can use in his attempts to shape other bureaucracies.
  • Executive Departments
    • Department heads comprise the president’s cabinet.
    • Departments differ vastly in age, employees, and expenditures.
    • Departments are really umbrellas for smaller bureaucratic units where the real work is done (example, NIH).
the executive departments
The Executive Departments

Executive departments vary widely in terms of employees and budgets. Expenditures are not always related to size of staff, as the numbers for the Departments of Defense and Health and Human Services show.

executive branch organization types of bureaucracies continued
Executive Branch Organization: Types of Bureaucracies (continued)
  • Independent Agencies (i.e., NASA)
    • Independent agencies are located outside executive departments.
    • The determination of whether to place an agency inside or outside an executive department is strongly influenced by political considerations.
  • Independent Regulatory Commissions
    • Independent regulatory commissions are headed by a group of experts in a particular field.
    • They work outside executive departments, insulated from presidential control and partisan politics.
  • Government Corporations (i.e., Amtrak)
    • Government corporations offer a service for which the benefiting individual or institution must pay.
    • They have a degree of financial and operational flexibility due to the commercial character of their work.
the search for competence in the civil service
The Search for Competence in the Civil Service
  • The Spoils System
    • The Spoils system is the practice of granting government jobs on the basis of party loyalty and election support.
    • Ushered in by Andrew Jackson, the spoils system created the perception of corrupt government, with jobs being bought and sold.
    • Charles Guiteau’s assassination of President Garfield triggered the public’s call for reforms of the spoils system.
the search for competence in the civil service continued
The Search for Competence in the Civil Service (continued)
  • The Pendleton Act and the Merit Principle
    • The Pendleton Act established a Civil Service Commission whose task was to introduce the use of merit as a condition of government employment.
    • The Hatch Act banned civil servants from participation in partisan politics.
    • The Office of Personnel Management’s goal is to hire and maintain the highest-quality work force.
the search for competence in the civil service continued1
The Search for Competence in the Civil Service (continued)
  • The Civil Service Reform Act of 1978
    • The Civil Service Reform Act of 1978 was intended to defend merit and provide incentives for high-quality work.
    • A merit pay system was established for middle-level managers.
    • Whistleblowers were protected from unfair retaliation.
    • A Senior Executive Service was created with rewards and demotions built in based on performance.
    • The Office of Personnel Management and Merit Systems Protection Board were created.
    • This act has since suffered from lack of adequate funds and failure of the SES to become the prestigious group it was intended to be.
the search for bureaucratic responsiveness the political environment of bureaucracies
The Search for Bureaucratic Responsiveness: The Political Environment of Bureaucracies
  • The President
    • The Constitution gives the president considerable authority over the bureaucracy, but control over the bureaucracy is difficult to attain.
      • The large size of the bureaucracy makes close presidential supervision impossible.
      • Bureaucrats are committed to their work, not the president.
      • Presidents do have resources to control the bureaucracy.
    • However, presidents can do the following:
      • Make some 3,000 bureaucratic appointments
      • Use the budget process to cut or increase financing of specific bureaucracies
the search for bureaucratic responsiveness the political environment of bureaucracies continued
The Search for Bureaucratic Responsiveness: The Political Environment of Bureaucracies (continued)
  • Congress
    • Congress has several tools it can use to control the bureaucracy.
      • Congress can do the following:
        • Create and abolish agencies
        • Alter the amount of money available to bureaucracies through its budget power
        • Investigate bureaucratic behavior
      • The Senate must confirm presidential appointments.
    • Congressional members’ reelection often depends on bureaucratic actions and performance.
the search for bureaucratic responsiveness the political environment of bureaucracies continued1
The Search for Bureaucratic Responsiveness: The Political Environment of Bureaucracies (continued)
  • The Case of the Legislative Veto
    • A legislative veto can halt an executive initiative or agency action.
    • The legislative veto was declared unconstitutional in Immigration and Naturalization Service v. Chadha.
    • However, legislative vetoes are still used, and the decision has been evaded or ignored. This is because of Congress’s need to control bureaucratic discretion.
  • Interest Groups
    • Almost every bureaucratic unit has the strong support of a variety of group. These groups compete for influence over the agency.
    • Groups usually press claims on bureaucracies through institutions like the courts, Congress, and sometimes even the media.
    • Groups often have influence on public policy through iron triangles.
the search for bureaucratic responsiveness the political environment of bureaucracies continued2
The Search for Bureaucratic Responsiveness: The Political Environment of Bureaucracies (continued)
  • The Courts
    • The courts can determine the constitutionality of congressional or presidential action, thus affecting the work done by bureaucracies.
    • The courts attempt to ensure procedural fairness in the efforts of bureaucracies to promulgate rules and regulations.
    • The courts discern the congressional intent behind vague legislation, and these decisions have consequences for bureaucracies.
selected regulatory agencies
Selected Regulatory Agencies

Establishment of regulatory agencies has come in waves or groups as Congress has responded to persistent political demands. The first wave occurred around the turn of the twentieth century and dealt with the unprecedented size and impact of major industrial corporations and with the problems encountered by the buyers and sellers of goods and services. The second, in the 1930s, sprang from the economic dislocation cased by the Great Depression. The third, in the 1960s and 1970s, came in response to demands to remedy inequalities and to protect the environment and the workplace.

where regulations come from
Where Regulations Come From

Regulatory authority lies in the Constitution, which authorizes Congress to enact and the president to approve the creation of departments and programs. A new piece of legislation appears first as a slip law and then in the U.S. Statutes-at-Large and the U.S. Code. Established by such legislation, agencies issue and enforce regulations. These in turn appear in the Federal Register and later in the Code of Federal Regulations. Regulations may be contested in the courts.

bureaucracy the highest and noblest calling
Bureaucracy: The “Highest and Noblest” Calling
  • Bureaucracies are criticized.
    • Waste and fraud, although the government is always working to eliminate this problem
    • Too much red tape, which is a problem for all groups in the political system but often is needed to provide safeguards
    • Duplicating or contradicting the work of other bureaucracies, but this may be explained by outside expectations
    • Playing an independent political role in three key ways:
      • Executing policy purposes, bureaucrats strive to achieve their institutions’ goals
      • Not having enough discretion in translating ideas into action when laws are specific (discretion is inevitable when laws are vague or ambiguous)
  • The issue of bureaucratic responsiveness centers on the determination of whose ideas ought to be translated into action.