Management of Civilian Personnel in the Federal Government:

The Present Situation and Proposals for Improvements

FPCD-77-36: Published: Jun 6, 1977. Publicly Released: Jun 6, 1977.

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Widespread agreement now exists among public managers of both political parties, students of government and some government personnel officials, members of congressional oversight committees, and public service organizations on the need for federal personnel systems changes. There is rather general agreement that the systems must be modified to improve service delivery, enhance productivity, and restore some lost credibility to the public service. Recent recommendations have ranged from advocating minor revisions in the existing patchwork structure to plans for complete personnel reorganization. Recommendations requiring structural changes stressed the Civil Service Commission's (CSC) role in three areas: (1) merit system hiring for the competitive service; (2) the placement of the federal appeals system; and (3) collective bargaining and the CSC role in policy guidance and technical assistance in labor-management relations.

Personnel functions may be organized for effective administration by: (1) leaving the competitive service structure unchanged and tightening the operations, particularly those related to merit system hiring; (2) retaining policy and operations in CSC; (3) creating a separate independent appeals agency; (4) separating policy, operations, and appellate functions; (5) shifting policy to the Executive Office of the President; (6) delegating operations to the agencies; and (7) creating an independent review and appellate board with enforcement powers. Among those who want change, there are three major positions on when and how the alterations should be made: (1) through long-range examination of all federal personnel management systems similar to past Hoover Commission studies; (2) a much shorter study, perhaps by a 90-day task force; and (3) immediate action by the new administration, including simultaneous work on a new bill to be presented to Congress.

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