The Bureaucracy - Moore Public Schools

The Bureaucracy
The Fourth Branch of
The word
“bureaucracy” comes
from the French word
“bureau” which refers
to the desk of a
government worker
and “cracy”
representing a form of
What is a bureaucracy?
A hierarchical chain of command
Division of labor and specialization of
Clear lines of authority (everyone reports
to someone)
Impersonal rules and merit based
decision making (promotions are based
on skills-not who you know)
Who is the Bureaucracy?
Approximately 5
million government
workers made up
today’s federal
The number is even
greater if you count
state and local
Most work in regional
offices throughout the
Only about 10 percent
of the federal
employees actually
work in Washington,
For instance, each
state has many offices
dealing with Social
About a third of
federal employees
work for the armed
forces or defense
History of our Bureaucracy
1789 George Washington
headed a federal
bureaucracy with several
departments Congress
had created
Each department was
headed by a “secretary”
Government grew slowly
as needs arose and
demands were articulated
(usually grew during a
time of crisis and times of
After the Civil War, demands on our
government continued to grow
1830s-1880s-public jobs came to be
known as the “spoils of politics”
New federal employees were hired every
time there was a change in the Executive
Branch (President who won awarded the
By 1880, many were calling for a changeCongress passed the Civil Service
Reform Act, more commonly known as
the Pendleton Act
this act was supposed to reduce
“patronage “
And build up a “merit-based” system
of public jobs in the federal
government (career employees
instead of changing every 4 years)
Created the principle of federal
government based on competitive exams
and created a bipartisan Civil Service
Commission to oversee reforms
Hatch Act
Today over 90% of government jobs are
under the Civil Service
The Hatch Act, enacted in 1939, was
designed to protect federal employees
from being forced to contribute to or
work for election campaigns
Hatch Act also prevented federal
government employees from being directly
involved in political campaigns
But today federal
employees can still
Wear political buttons
Join political parties
In 1978, the Civil Service Commission was
replaced with the Office of Personnel
Management and the Merit Systems
Protection Board
These two agencies are responsible for
enforcing existing civil service laws,
coordinating the testing of applicants,
setting up pay scales and appointing
people to federal jobs
Federal Employee Political
Activities Act
Many felt the Hatch Act went too farUnder Bill Clinton, the Federal
Employee Political Activities Act was
passed which allows employees of the
federal government to run for office in
nonpartisan elections (like school boards),
contribute money if they wish and
participate in campaigns in their afterwork hours-
Executive Branch
The Executive Branch of government
includes four major types of bureaucratic
(1) Executive Departments
(2) Independent Executive Agencies
(3) Independent Regulator Agencies
(4) Government Corporations
(1) Executive Departments
They are directly accountable to the
They are responsible for performing
government functions such as training our
military troops (Department of Defense),
printing money (Treasury Department),
and protecting our borders (Homeland
Helping farmers with new technology
(Department of Agriculture); help students with
loans (Department of Education); help a family
with benefits for their father who served in
WWII (Department of Veterans Affairs)
of Commerce
Taking the 2010 Census
Department of
Helping students get loans
Helping our nation’s veterans
Issue you a passport
so you can travel
Issuing Savings Bonds
Keeping track of unemployment
Each Department was created
by CONGRESS as the need
Each department manages a
specific policy area
Head of each department is
known as a “Secretary (except
for the Department of Justice)
Each Secretary appointed by
the President and confirmed
by the Senate by a SIMPLE
These Secretaries serve at the
President’s pleasure (they can
be hired and filed at will)
They loose their job when the
President leaves office
But the Executive Branch has many duties
that do not “fit” into any of the 15
Executive Departments
(2) Independent Agencies
Federal bureaucracy also contains more than 100
independent agencies, boards and commissions
that are not part of any cabinet department
President appoints heads of these organizations
The Constitution says little about the
organization of the executive branch
As our government’s role has expanded, it
became clear that a single type of organization
would not be appropriate for every task assigned
to the bureaucracy
Cabinet departments for example, are headed by
people who serve at the pleasure of the president
and are there to help him carry out his policies
But other agencies
must implement or
carry out the LAWS,
without reference to
an individual
The agencies require
protection from
political interference,
as do those
established to do
highly technical work
(II.) Independent
Executive Agencies
Differ from our 15 Departments in that
they are usually smaller, and their heads
do not sit in the Cabinet
Agency heads, however are appointed and
responsible to the President-they are like
Cabinet Secretaries, and serve at his
Occasionally, the President does extend
Cabinet “rank” to these heads, as in the
case of the Director of the Environmental
Protection Agency
Today there are over 200 independent
executive agencies
(1) These Independent agencies closely
resemble Cabinet departments but have
narrower areas of responsibility
(2) They perform a “service” rather than
regulatory functions
(3) They exist apart from our Departments
for practical or symbolic reasons
(1) Environmental Protection
 Some
of these agencies are so big they
resemble an executive department
such as the Environmental Protection
Environmental Protection Agency
charged to protect human health and the environment,
by writing and enforcing regulations based on laws
passed by Congress.
EPA was proposed by President Richard Nixon and
began operation on December 2, 1970
It is led by its Administrator, who is appointed by the
President of the United States.
The EPA is not a Cabinet agency, but the Administrator
is normally given cabinet rank.
Environmental Protection
Was created in 1970 to
administer programs
aimed at controlling
pollution and protecting
the nation’s environment
It administers all
congressional laws
concerning the
environment and
They also advise the
President about
environmental concerns
(2) National Aeronautics and Space
NASA could have
been part of the
Defense Department
But that would have
conjured up thoughts
of the space program
dedicated solely for
military purposes
rather than for
civilian satellite
communication or
scientific exploration
Some perform services for the
Executive Branch
(3) General Services Administration is
responsible for contracting and maintaining all
government buildings
Also supplies equipment for federal offices
(4) National Archives and Records
Maintains all records and publishes all rules
applying to various federal agencies
(5) Central Intelligence Agency
Gathers information about
what is going on in other
countries, evaluates it, and
passes it on to the president
and other foreign-policy
decision makers
Uses its own secret agents,
paid informants, foreign
news sources and friendly
governments to collect such
III. Independent
Independent regulatory commissions are
agencies that were created by Congress to
exist outside of the major departments
and REGULATE a specific economic
activity or interest
They are independent of all three branches of
the national government
To keep the regulatory commission impartial,
Congress has been careful to protect them form
political pressure.
(1) Each COMMISSION has from 5 to 1l
“commissioners” whom the president appoints
with Senate consent (no one person in charge)
(2) The terms of office of these board members
are long-in some cases, as long as 14 years-and
the starting dates of the terms are staggered
(3) Unlike other bureaucrats, these commissioners
do not report to he president, nor can the
president fire them
Because of the complexity of modern
economic issues, Congress sought to create
agencies that could develop expertise and
provide continuity of policy because
Congress nor the Courts have the time or
talent to do so
They are part quasi
legislative and quasi
judicial in nature
because they make
regulations and they
must enforce them
They are also known as
the alphabet agencies
Alphabet Agencies
(1) Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC)
founded in 1887to regulate specific issues of
interstate relations
(2) Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
founded in 1914 to regulate unfair or deceptive
advertising or products that may be unsafe; and
for stopping the formation of monopolies in the
business sector and for protecting consumer
(3) Federal Reserve
System Board of
Governors (the Fed)
founded in 1913;
responsible for
determining policy with
respect to interest rates,
credit availability and the
money supply
What IS the Federal Reserve System?
The Federal Reserve System, also known as "The Fed,"
is the central bank of the United States.
It was created to provide the nation with a safer, more
flexible, and more stable monetary and financial system.
The Federal Reserve System is a network of twelve
Federal Reserve Banks and a number of branches
under the general oversight of the Board of Governors.
(4) Federal Communications Commission
(FCC) founded in 1934 to regulate radio,
television and cable industries and grant licenses
to t.v. and radio stations
(5) Securities and Exchange Commission
(SEC) founded in 1934 during the New Deal to
regulate the sale of securities and the stock
markets hopefully preventing such abuses as
“insider trading”
(6) Consumer Product Safety
Congress created the Consumer Product safety Commission in
Its purpose is to protect consumers against “unreasonable risk of
injury from hazardous products
To reduce consumer risks, the CPSC investigates injuries caused
by merchandize such as lawn mowers, kitchen appliances, toys,
children’s clothing and sports equipment
It then establishes standards of safety for each type of consumer
If any project fail to meet these standards, the CPSC can order it
off the market
Consumer Product Safety Commission
(CPSC) founded in 1972; tests and reports
about products that may injure the public and
issues warnings for those products deemed
(7) Federal Election Commission (FEC) founded in
1975; responsible for monitoring campaign
contributions and provides some PUBLIC funding to
presidential candidates through matching grants
(from our federal income tax returns)
(8) Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) founded
in 1974; responsible for ensuring that electricitygenerated nuclear reactors in the U.S. are built and
operated safety; regularly inspects operations of such
Congress started setting up regulatory
commissions as early as 1887, recognizing t he
need for close and continuous guardianship of
particular economic activities
Regulatory agencies
created since the 1960s
are more concerned with
how the business sector
relates to public health
and safety
Unlike Executive
Department heads, they
cannot be easily removed by
the President
But new boards such as the
(9) Equal Employment
Opportunity Commission
are far more susceptible to
political pressure and the
political wishes of the
president who appointed
10. Federal Energy
Regulatory Commission
Regulates and fixes rates for the
transportation and sale of natural
gas and oil
Are these Agencies Important?
You only have to go as far as tracing your daily
routine to see how influential regulatory
commission have become
Some examples are the regulations made for…
Cable television by the Federal Communications
Food labeling by the Federal Trade Commission
Meat inspection by the Food and Drug Administration
Pollution control by the Environmental Protecting
Airline safety by the National Transportation Safety
Seat belt mandates by the National Highway Traffic
Safety Administration
Gas mileage standards developed by the
Department of Transportation
Mediation of labor disputes by the National
Labor Relations Board
Factory inspections for workers by the
Occupational Safety and Health Administration
Coordination of relief efforts by the Federal
Emergency Management Agency…???
Problems with Regulatory
Independent regulatory commissions were created to make rules
for large industries and businesses that affect the interests of the
Commissions also regulate the conduct of these businesses and
The regulatory agencies decide such questions as who will
receive a license to operate a radio station or to build a natural
gas pipeline to serve a large city
Commissions may also act as courts
They may investigate a business for breaking on the
commission’s rules
The commission may hold hearings, collect evidence and set
penalties for any business that violate the rules
Conflicts/Problems with Regulatory
Decisions of regulatory commissions can
involve millions of dollars and greatly affect
(1) As a result, these agencies are often under
intense pressure from lobbyists
(2) Lawyers for industries that the commissions
regulate have sometimes gone thru the “back
door” to argue their clients’ cases in private
with agency officials
Critics of the commissions also charge that the
commissioners and the industries they are
supposed to regulate sometimes have a “revolving
door” relationship-New Commissioners come from
the regulated industry
And then the Commissioners leave their job as
“regulators” and go back to the industry they came
As a result, critics charge, some commissioners
have seemed more interested in protecting
regulated industries than in making sure they serve
the public interest
In recent years, Congress has responded to complaints
of overregulation by taking steps to deregulate, or
reduce the powers of regulatory agencies
(4) Government
Government Corporations are most recent addition to
the bureaucratic maze
Dating from the 1930s, they are businesses set up and
created by Congress to perform functions that could
not be provided by private businesses
Government Corporations are formed when the
government chooses to engage in activities that are
primarily commercial in nature, produce revenue, and
require greater flexibility than Congress generally allows
regular departments
Unlike other government agencies, they government
corporations CHARGE for their services
But there are reasons for their existence
Sometimes Congress has had to step in to salvage
valuable public assets
For example, when passenger rail service in the U.S.
was no longer profitable, Congress stepped in to create
Amtrak and thus nationalized the passenger-train
industry to keep passenger trains running
Examples of Government
The (1) Tennessee Valley Authority founded
in 1933; provides electricity at reduced rates to
millions of Americans in the Appalachian region
of the Southeast, generally a low-income area
that had failed to attract a private utility
company to provide this service
(2) Federal Deposit
Insurance Corporation
founded in 1933; insures
individual’s bank deposits up
to $200,000; overseas the
business activities of banks
(3) United States Postal
Service (formed from the
Postmaster General of the
Treasury Department) in
1971; delivers mail
throughout the U.S. and its
territories; the largest
government corporation
(4) National Railroad
Passenger Corporation
(AMTRAK) founded in
1970; provides an
integrated, balanced
national and intercity rail
passenger service
network; controls over
23,000 miles of track
with aver 500 stations
Federal Jobs
We already know that most of the high level
government positions are appointed by the
President and confirmed by the U.S. Senate
But what about the millions of other career civil
servants or bureaucrats that work for the
So how DO all of these “civil
servants” get their jobs?
Office of Personnel Management
Established by the Civil Service Reform Act of
OPM recruits, interviews and tests potential
workers and determines who should be hired
OPM also includes the “Merit Systems
Protection Board” which oversees employees’
rights and other employment matters
Goals of our Bureaucracy
Businesses are supposed to make a profit; if
they don’t, they fail
For the most part, our government agencies
don’t exist to make money; instead their job is to
promote the “general interest” of the people
If they do not, they fail to serve the people who
pay their salaries
Although the American people disagree about
the definition of “public interest” (conservative
vs. liberal), they at least agree that it is not the
same as making a profit
The government is NOT a business
Although many Americans experience ‘RED
TAPE,” they still expect the government to
provide a vast array of services that cost
BILLIONS of dollars a year…
From highways that accommodate high speed
cars to
Social Security payments that arrive on the 1st of
every month
To clean water, protection from foreign enemies
A cure for cancer
We expect a lot from our government
Another way that our federal government is
different than private industry is that it has tried
to have greater visibility or openness hoping to
make our government more responsive
(1) Federal Register
As our government grew it became harder for
the public to keep track of what government
was doing
In 1934, Congress passed the Federal Register
Act, requiring all government rules, regulations
and laws be published in the FEDERAL
(2) Freedom of
Information Act
Congress also increased public access to the
bureaucracy by passing the Freedom of Information
Act in 1974
This allows any member of the public to apply to an
agency for access to unclassified government
FOIA cannot be used to gain access to personnel
records but it can be used to get your FBI file, should
you have one, or the file of a person no longer living
(3) Sunshine Act
Another significant law
mandating openness in
government is the aptly
named Sunshine Act
Adopted in 1977, it requires
that most government
meetings be conducted in
public and that notice of
such government meetings
must be posted in advance
(4) Whistleblower Act
A whistleblower is a person who raises a
concern about wrongdoing occurring in an
 Whistleblowers frequently faced reprisal sometimes at the hands of the organization or
group which they have accused, sometimes from
related organizations, and sometimes under law
The “whistleblower” reveals misconduct-for
example, a violation of a law, rule, regulation
and/or a direct threat to public interest, such as
fraud, health/safety violations, and corruption.
So What DO these Bureaucrats do
ALL day?
After Congress makes a law, SOMEONE has to
carry it out
This is the primary function of the bureaucracy
We call this process “policy implementation”
The general process of policy implementation
has two parts
(1) administering policies and
(2) making policies
Administering Policies
The bureaucracy's oldest job is to administer the
To administer means to “execute” or “carry out”
or “apply rules” that have been made by
For example, if the “policymakers” (Congress)
decided to go to war, they must empower
agencies to acquire weapons, recruit and train
soldiers, and devise a winning strategy
“Administration” includes thousands of different kinds of
It includes writing checks to farmers who receive payments for
growing and NOT growing crops
Providing direct serves to the public
Evaluating how well programs are working
Prosecuting those who are trying to defraud the government
Maintaining government buildings
Forest rangers helping backpackers in the Grand Canyon
For postal workers, delivering the mail
Making Policy
When Congress passes a law, it cannot possible
spell out exactly what needs to be done and
enforce it
The bureaucracy shapes what the law actually
They do this by issuing rules and regulations
designed to translate the law into action
Approximately 20 rules or regulations are made
to carry out each law
A major function of a regulatory agency is rulemaking-the formulation of new regulations
For Example, OSHA was authorized by the
Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 to
develop and issue rules governing safety in the
workplace (like a dentist or doctor’s office)
They made rules requiring the health industry to
use certain measures so as to not spread AIDS,
how contaminated instruments should be
handled, etc.
When issuing rules governing electrical
equipment, OSHA predicted that the rules
would cost businesses 21 billion annually but
would save 60 lives a year and eliminate 1600
work injuries
It also cited that the safety equipment for
manufacturing workers would cost 52 billion,
save 4 lives and prevent over 700,000 lost
workdays because of injuries
Other examples are
making regulations on
the quality of our
drinking water
Deciding the amount of
particulate matter a local
power plant can emit
Requiring food labels to
list content and
nutritional info
Safety guidelines for using
farming equipment
Content of t.v. programs
that children watch
Another good
example…in 1935, the
Social Security Act
established the Social
Security Program-part of
the law makes it possible
for “disabled” workers to
receive payments from
the government
But what does
“disabled” mean? Are
workers “disabled” if
they can only work part
time? Are they disabled
if they can work, but not
at the same job they
once had?
The Social Security
Administration (an
Independent Executive
Agency-was part of
HHS) developed 14
PAGES of rules and
regulations describing
“disability” regulations
Even stating what
“blindness” means and
how it is measured!
Without rules, people
who are not really blind
might receive benefits
they do not deserveBut of course, it also
protects those who need
Rules will state that if a
person meets the
requirements, they can
not be denied the
benefits they deserve
If the Social Security
Administration were to try
and change these rules about
what constitutes “blindness”
they must provide public
notice as to the time, place
and nature of the rule making
and give interested parties the
opportunity to submit
written comments or provide
testimony through formal
Responsibility for
administering policy after
Congress passes a law
always falls on the
Americans with
Disabilities Act is a great
The ADA directs
employers to make a
accommodation” for a
competent worker with a
disability that
“substantially limits” a
major life activity such as
seeing or walking, except
when it causes “undue
This seemingly
straightforward law is in fact
extremely complex and its
impact far reaching
Although the act went into
effect in 1992, the Equal
Employment Opportunity
Commission (EEOC) which
has responsibility for
implementation, is still
clarifying what specific
provisions actually mean
What is the difference
between a “reasonable
accommodation” and an
“undue hardship?”
When voters want local
governments to spend
less of their tax dollars, is
the $2 million that Des
Plaines, Illinois had to
shell out for sidewalks
and curb cuts an “undue
hardship” or not?
Will the EOC let colleges and
universities make only some
classrooms and offices
accessible to students and
staff in wheelchairs, or must
every classroom and faculty
office be accessible to people
with disabilities at a cost of
millions of dollars for large
Rule-Making Steps
Issuance of a notice of proposed ruling making
Publication of the proposed rules
30-60 days for comment period
Publication of final rules
Rules can be challenged in court
Federal Register
All of these proposed
“regulations” and
changes to existing
regulations are published
in the Federal Register
But don’t think all of this
rule making is isolated
from politics!
The Iron Triangle
The Iron Triangle is a three way alliance among
legislators in Congress, bureaucrats and interests
groups in a given policy area
Issue Network
Although “iron triangles” still exist, often they
are inadequate as descriptions of how policy is
actually made
An “issue network” consists of a group of
individuals, or organizations that support a
particular policy position on the environment,
taxation, consumer safety or some other issue
Typically, an issue network includes legislators and/or
their staff members, interest groups, bureaucrats,
scholars with experts and representatives from the
Members of an “issue network” work together to
influence the president, members of Congress,
administrative agencies and the courts to change public
policy on a specific issue
Of course each policy issue may involve conflicting
positions taken by two or more issue networks