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Modernizing Merit


Download Moderizing Merit Publication The United States has the finest civil service in the world. An essential element of our constitutional democracy, America’s career civil servants truly represent the ideals of public service: integrity, continuity, and competence in the administration of our Federal Government, without regard to political party or election result. However, our civil service system, now over one hundred years old, has not kept pace with the evolution of that noble calling.

Born out of the abuses of political patronage in the late 1800’s, that system has worked remarkably well. It has stood the test of war and peace, assassination and impeachment, terrorist attack, even electoral impasse. In each and every trial, it has remained rock steady…so much so that many Americans take its excellence for granted. However, it is based on assumptions about our Government’s work, and its workers, that are outdated and obsolete, and the system is clearly in need of substantial modernization.

President Bush has recognized this need (indeed, he has made it one of the priorities of his Administration), and we have already made considerable progress in that overhaul. That progress has been guided by four strategic principles…our blueprint as we lay the foundation for a Federal civil service system for the 21st Century:

  • preserve the ideal;
  • maximize flexibility;
  • leverage economies of scale; and
  • ensure collaboration and coordination.

Taken together, these four principles provide the schematic for modernizing our merit system, with a result greater than the sum of their separate parts.

Disclaimer: “This document is not intended to recommend, support, or endorse any specific or pending piece of legislation.”

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