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  1. Why is civil service slowly fading away



    1.       Why is civil service slowly fading away? What is replacing civil service? What expanded roles do managers and supervisors play in a new system? Be sure to include relevant history and theory when answering the question


Subject Law and governance Pages 6 Style APA


Federal Civil Service


Scientific innovations have marveled and taken over the world. People are thrilled with the news of the emergence of cars that drives themselves, prospects of touring the space, drones that act as emergency responders, and watches that serve as medical devices, among several other innovations (Anagnoson, 2017). It implies that people live in the future, and Americans’ lives are also changing rapidly. Despite the fast-moving world, one aspect of America that continues to struggle to keep with the dynamism is the federal civil service. The techniques that the U.S. government uses to recruit and manage workers do not meet the current expectations of 21st century America. As such, this paper examines reasons that have contributed to the fading away of civil service, an aspect that is replacing the civil service. Moreover, it describes the roles played by supervisors and managers in the new system.

Historical Aspects of Civil Service

President Theodore Roosevelt played a pivotal role in instituting and managing the American civil service. One aspect of President Roosevelt is that he was boasting of rich experience in both federal and state management. According to President Roosevelt, the Americans were the foundation of the country’s success (Norman, 2020). Besides, he viewed public employees as the backbone of the federal government. President Roosevelt had great respect and admiration for the civil servants and viewed them as individuals that can change the fortunes of America and the entire world (Nigro et al., 2020).

The merit system explains the reason behind President Roosevelt’s spearheading the fight for non-political civil service that is instituted based on merit selection together with retention.  Moreover, for the first time in America’s history, the number of workers in America under the merit system exceeded employees under the partisan spoils system (Norman, 2020). It is imperative to keep in mind that those expectations of workers that fall under the merit system are quite high. It is because they need to possess character, integrity, personal probity, and strict observance and adherence to the rule of law (Anagnoson, 2017).

Apart from President Roosevelt’s advocacy for the civil service, history also reveals that the federal government established a pay and job satisfaction system in 1949 (Perry, 2018). According to that system, the majority of the civil service workers were serving as clerical and administrative servants. Such workers used to earn between $2,200 and $14,000 per annum. During the period, television used to be in its infancy, and nobody ever thought that the world would have the internet (Norman, 2020).

Based on organization theory, the year 1978 was memorable and would change the landscape surrounding federal civil service. In that year, both President Carter’s administration and Congress collaborated and passed the Civil Service Reform Act (Perry, 2018). Through the Act, the Office of Personnel Management and Senior Executive Service came into play. Besides, the Act also instituted merit system principles and addressed employee appeal rights and labor relations (Norman, 2020).

Reasons for the Fading Away Of Civil Service

As per the conspiracy theory, the American civil service’s current situation can best be described as an outmoded and broken system of federal personnel (Perry, 2018). The system is irresponsive to the ever dynamic of work or the ever-expanding responsibilities associated with government work (Norman, 2020). Despite these challenges, the public still expects civil service workers to execute their duties diligently while handling different types of complicated domestic and international challenges. Therefore, civil service workers are expected to offer top-quality services coupled with wise use of taxpayer’s dollars. It implies that the federal service needs to avail good management skills, attract the best science talents, and offer the best healthcare cover for the workers (Nigro et al., 2020).

One of the reasons behind the slow fading away of civil service in America is the outdated civil service system that makes it challenging to attract skilled and talented personnel into civil service (Perry, 2018). Besides, the civil service has a very complicated and very slow hiring process. Averagely, hiring a government worker takes a staggering 106 days. It represents twice the number of days that the private sector takes to hire its employees. It means that the long and complicated hiring process discourages top-notched and talented applicants from seeking employment in the civil service (Nigro et al., 2020). Moreover, the association of the 70-year-old pay as well as job classification system does not account for the broader labor market. Additionally, the old system also does not recognize the skills and market trends. The civil service does not offer a pay scale based on different occupations, as in the private sector (Rosen, 2017).

Similarly, the civil service is putting a blind eye on the exceptional work of its employee. The government does not reward its hardworking employees (Rosen, 2017). Reportedly, civil service does not offer leadership training, accountability, and development. Another problem associated with civil service is the generational gap because the majority of the employees are old individuals that make it unappealing to the young and aspiring workers. It is evident from the 6% of employees below the age of 30 years and employed in the federal civil service compared to 24% of the same employed by the private sector (Perry, 2018).  

Roles Played By Managers and Supervisors in the Merit-Based Civil Service System

For any success to be realized through the merit-based civil service system, managers and supervisors must play certain roles (Rosen, 2017). The first expanded role that managers and supervisors undertake in the new system is the slow and complicated hiring process (Perry, 2018). Besides, the supervisors and managers strive to make civil service more appealing to the young, energetic, and skilled workforce. They are achieving the fete by indulging in the use of internships to attract and test young talents to the civil service. Through the internship programs, managers and supervisors can identify and employ interns that excel (Nigro et al., 2020).

Under the new system, the managers and supervisors have created a compensation system that is both occupation-specific and market-sensitive (Perry, 2018). Through the new compensation system, the civil service has been able to attract and retain employees that have better skills to improve service delivery in the public sector. As opposed to the old system that was compensating scheme that is the same for everybody, the new system has instituted an occupation-specific compensation scheme (Nigro et al., 2020). For example, the new system is compensating nuclear physicists differently from physical therapists. Moreover, the supervisors and managers under the new system are also performing such as monitoring, evaluation, supervision, and ensuring that everything is in place and working perfectly.

 In conclusion, the merit system of civil service was designed to provide fair and open recruitment together with competition among workers in government working institutions. Besides, the new system was designed so that it was freed from the influence of the politicians and other related non-merit factors. Moreover, the merit system had mechanisms in place to monitor the performances of the federal workforce. The merit system is part of the Civil Service Reform Act of the year 1978 outlined the importance of serving as a civil servant. According to the Act, serving as an American civil servant is a noble calling with accrued benefits that any employee cannot find elsewhere.



Anagnoson, J. T. (2017). The United States Civil Service. International Handbook on Civil

Service Systems, 43-54.

Nigro, F. A., Kellough, J. E., & Nigro, L. G. (2020). The new public personnel administration

(7th ed.). Belmont: Wadsworth.

Norman, V. (2020). History of the Federal Civil Service, 1789 to the Present. United States Civil

Service Commission Federal Employment under the Merit System. United States Civil Service Commission Fifty-Eighth Annual Report, United States Civil Service Commission Fiscal Year Ended June 30, 2019. Social Service Review, 16(3), 590-592.

Perry, J. L. (2018). Civil Service Systems and Public Service Motivation. Comparative Civil

Service Systems in the 21st Century.

Rosen, B. (2017). Merit and the President’s Plan for Changing the Civil Service System. Public

Administration Review, 38(4), 301-309.





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