The Higher Civil Service in the United States: Quest for Reform / Edition 1

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Every time control of the U.S. presidency is passed from one party to another, the entire top layer of the executive branch changes. Thousands of men and women take down their pictures, pack up their desks, and move back into private life, just as others dust off their pictures and move in. The U.S. stands alone in this respect. Nearly every other advanced democracy is managed-save for elected officials and a few top aides-by an elite cadre of top civil servants selected by highly competitive examinations.

Hudleston and Boyer tell the story of U.S. efforts to develop higher civil service, beginning with the Eisenhower administration and culminating in the passage of the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978. Arguing that the highly-politicized U.S. system simply hasn't worked, they examine why and how reform efforts have failed and offer a series of recommendations for the future.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
 “The authors perform an admirable service in detailing the history of the senior civil service in the United States from the early twentieth century until the mid-1990s. . . . Reform of the civil service, and the executive branch in general, is a continuing quest in U.S. government. This quest has extended over many decades but may be little closer to producing the type of civil service sought by reformers. This volume tells a great deal about the history of this quest.”
American Political Science Review
Presents a theory of lexical semantics that addresses the problem of the multiplicity of word meaning, and lays the foundation for an implemented computational treatment of word meaning that connects to a compositional semantics. Subjects include semantics of nominals, the semantics of causation, and how semantic types constrain syntactic expression. Includes formal treatment of event semantics with subevents, and a general treatment of the problem of polysemy. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780822955740
  • Publisher: University of Pittsburgh Press
  • Publication date: 1/28/1996
  • Series: Pitt Series in Policy and Institutional Studies
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Mark W. Huddleston, formerly professor of political science, dean, and associate provost at the University of Delaware, is president of the University of New Hampshire. 

William W. Boyer is Charles P. Messick Professor Emeritus of public administration in the department of political science and international relations at the University of Delaware.

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Table of Contents

List of Tables
Introduction 3
I Bureaucratic Elites in History 5
II Background to the Supergrades 21
III The Second Hoover Commission's Proposal 35
IV Circumventing Congress 51
V Nixon's Proposal for a Federal Executive Service 73
VI The Making of the Senior Executive Service 93
VII Reform in Action: The Senior Executive Service, 1979-1994 109
VIII Images of the U.S. Higher Civil Service 129
IX Conclusion: Whither the Senior Executive Service? 146
Notes 165
Bibliography 203
Index 223
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