Civil Servants - unelected, hard to fire, and wield...

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Civil Servants All civil servant applicants must pass an exam that measures skills related to the particular civil service position they hope to fill. Some civil service exams are general and apply to a wide range of jobs, whereas others are focused on a particular type of job. The civil service uses the merit system, meaning that it hires and promotes civil servants based on their technical skills. Most civil servants are also protected from political pressure. The best example of this protection is the fact that it is extremely difficult to fire civil servants. In theory, this job security prevents politicians from firing those who disagree with them. In practice, however, it makes it hard to fire incompetent employees. A Bureaucratic Democracy The power of the bureaucracy raises important questions about accountability. In a democratic system, the government is accountable to the people, yet bureaucrats are
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Unformatted text preview: unelected, hard to fire, and wield important power. Therefore, some people view the bureaucracy as undemocratic. Others argue that Congress and the president may make the bureaucracy accountable. The president, for example, might appoint reform-minded people to head agencies or threaten to slash the budgets of recalcitrant agencies. Congress might change the laws affecting agencies or hold hearings to air grievances, which can force an agency to change its behavior. Power of Persuasion Presidential scholar Richard Neustadt has argued that the presidents primary power is that of persuasion. The president must lobby or persuade bureaucrats. But trying to convince members of the bureaucracy that their goals fit with the presidents goals is a time-consuming and often frustrating process. For this reason, many presidents have seen the bureaucracy as an obstacle to getting their agendas approved....
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