Department Usually the largest organization in government with the largest mission; also the highest rank in Federal hierarchy. Independent Agency A government entity that is independent of the legislative, executive, and judicial branches (Not part of a cabinet department). Are federal agencies and are considered to be part of the executive branch, but are not part of a department Examples with a single director or administrator CIA, EPA, NASA The problem of accountability is nicely detailed in the textbook. There is quite a bit of
8 evidence that the military has used contractors for work it did not want the public to learn about and which will remain largely hidden from the eyes of Congressional investigations. Independent Regulatory Commission A government agency or commission with regulatory power whose independence is protected by Congress. Specialized rule-making bodies Typically overseen by a board of commissioners appointed for fixed terms, and often with seats designated to ensure "partisan balance" The belief when they were created was that this would mean that they would be relatively insulated from politics, and from a legal point of view, they often have special administrative procedures designed to support independence. Examples of independent commissions: SEC, FTC, FCC, CFTC, FEC multiple members, appointed with staggered terms, and generally have more independence from the President than agencies within departments, one member is designated to be "chair" Merit System Hiring people into government jobs on the basis of their qualifications. These laws required that appointees to public office be qualified for the job which they were appointed. Its goal was not just to put an end to political appointments under the "spoils system" but also to create a system of competitive examinations through which the very best candidates were hired for every job. Rulemaking The process by which an administrative agency formally adopts a new regulation or amends an old one. Regulations are often needed to implement laws Formal, administrative process to propose and adopt regulations. General approach to create regulations is a process called "rulemaking". Agencies submit proposed rules to the public in advance to obtain feedback during a comments period. During this period, opponents can battle to have the proposal withdrawn Opponents submit comments with their objections The process of making rules can be highly political, even for decisions that are technical or based on science Privatization Paying private contractors to perform tasks previously performed by government employees 2000: the U.S. paid out $209b in contracts and in 2008: $528b. Private contractors are not usually subjected to the same standards or reviews as federal employees employee hiring practices differ. Differences in ability to monitor performance: in-house workers vs. external contractors. To change from government or public ownership or control to private ownership or control. A formerly public service that is now provided by a private company but paid for by the government. Downsizes the government in only in that the workers providing the service are no longer counted as part of the government bureaucracy. Iron Triangle A close relationship between an agency, a congressional committee, and an interest group. In United States politics, the "iron triangle" comprises the policy-making relationship among the congressional committees, the bureaucracy, and interest groups.