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“Civil service reform under George W. Bush: Ideology, politics, and public personnel administration.” Review of Public Personnel Administration 30, no. 4 (2010): 404–422. , October 27, , 2010

October 27, 2010

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From the abstract: "This article focuses on the George W. Bush administration’s failed effort to impose radical personnel reforms on the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Defense in the wake of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. We use an analytical framework suggesting three overlapping primary reasons for reform: (a) technical concerns, (b) ideological beliefs, and (c) a desire by the executive to enhance political control. The results of our analysis show that, whereas motivations for the Bush reforms were mixed, changes advocated by the administration were largely politically and ideologically motivated. As a result, they met stiff resistance from stakeholders, particularly federal employee unions and their supporters in Congress, and the reforms were ultimately scuttled. One lesson from this experience is that reformers should avoid radical changes to personnel systems based largely on ideological and political preferences. Reforms that are more incremental in nature and grounded more firmly on technical matters related to the implementation of core personnel functions will, in our view, be more likely to succeed. Yet a conundrum exists: if presidential scholars are correct, even these types of reforms may be held hostage by proposals that reflect the views of partisans unwilling to compromise in what appears to be an enduring era of polarized politics in Washington."



Kellough, J. Edward, Nigro, Lloyd G., Brewer, Gene A.


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