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.
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.
Huddleston and Boyer offer a well-written and carefully documented account of various attempts to bring a 'higher civil service' to the US. . . . Highly recommended for all academic libraries.