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Mini Unit: The Institutions of Government (Continued)


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A hierarchical authority structure that uses task specialization, operates on the merit principle, and behaves with impersonality.
Pendelton Civil Service Act
Passed in 1883, an Act that created a federal civil service so that hiring and promotion would be based on merit rather that patronage.
merit principle
The idea that hiring should be based on entrance exams and promotion ratings to produce administration by people with talent and skill.
Hatch Act
A federal law prohibiting government employees from active participation in partisan politics.
Office of Personnel Management
The office in charge of hiring for most agencies of the federal government, using elaborate rules in the process.
GS rating
A schedule for federal employees, ranging from GS 1 to GS 18, by which salaries can be keyed to rating and experience.
Senior Executive Service
An elite cadre of about 11,000 federal government managers, established by the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978, who are mostly career officials but include some political appointees who do not require Senate confirmation.
independent regulatory agency
A government agency responsible for some sector of the economy, making and enforcing rules supposedly to protect the public interest. It also judges disputes over these rules. The Interstate Commerce Commission is an example. Compare government corporation and independent executive agency.
government corporations
A government organization that, like business corporations, provides a service that could be provided by the private sector and typically charges for its services. The U.S. Postal Service is an example. Compare independent regulatory agency and independent executive agency.
independent executive agency
The government not accounted for by cabinet departments, independent regulatory agencies, and government corporations. Its administrators are typically appointed by the president and serve at the president's pleasure. The Veterans Administration is an example.
discretionary authority
The power to make a decision where the choice of whether to make a decision is that of the decision maker.
street-level bureaucrats
A phrase coined by Michael Lipsky, referring to those bureaucrats who are in constant contact with the public and have considerable administrative discretion.
The use of governmental authority to control or change some practice in the private sector. Regulations pervade the daily lives of people and institutions.
The lifting of restrictions on business, industry, and other professional activities for which government rules had been established and that bureaucracies had been created to administer.
command and control policy
According to Charles Schultze, the existing system of regulation whereby government tells business how to reach certain goals, checks that these commands are followed, and punishes offenders. Compare incentive system.

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