Bureaucracy – Part 2
February 10 , 2014
o Bureaucracy is the “problem solving approach” and also refers to the type of
democratic governance that employs this problem solving approach. For the
United States, it came into existence to deal with the corruption that used to
govern American politics. Hiring is based on expertise and ability instead of
favours – governance is based on merit.
o Four types of agencies:
o Cabinet departments
15 execcutirve departments
• e.g. Dept. of Agriculture, Department of Interior, etc.
Bread and butter
• Responsible for delivering the goods.
Dept. of Defense
• North Korea
• Employs about 2.4 million (primarily military personnel).
• 30 million acres around the world of property –about the
size of North Korea. Geographically, it’s massive!
Cabinets are permanent but their representatives are not.
• Make up the Cabinet
• Line of succession – goes in order of when the department
o Sally Jewell – secretary of the interior, but not a
natural born American; couldn’t take part in the
line of succession.
• Nomination process
o Checks and balances
o Senate confirmation
o Months to years
o Autonomous bureaus
o Independent regulatory agencies
o Bureaucracy’s service organization – like a giant Human Resources for
Central service agencies
Office of Personnel Managements
General Services Administration
Nominating Cabinet Secretaries
• Rise of Partisanship • Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS)
• Marilyn Tavenner
o March 2013
o Nomination sat for 1.5 years.
o Ends sixyear stretch
First successful nomination in 6 years.
o Not Obama’s first selection, and took 6 years to get his first person in.
• Robert Gates
o Former Secretary of Defense (20062011)
o Obama kept him on because he wanted a quick transition into the issues
of Guantamo – didn’t want to be held up in the nomination process.
• Bureaucratic Culture
o SOPs, technical expertise
o It’s not easy to come in and simply start laying down the law. Although
many secretaries are capable and qualified, they are like a fish out of
o SOPs are like foreign languages to each other. They are important
because they form a bureaucratic culture that is specific to each
department. People don’t like change! This is where the inability to adjust
to new problems comes into play.
• Rotating Position
o Substitute teacher
They are treated like substitute teachers – no one listens, shows respect,
etc. The bureaucrats are there regardless of who is the secretary – what’s
the point in making these proposed changes if they’re going to be out in a
few years anyways.
• Independent Executive Agencies
o VERY Focused mandate:
• Independent Regulatory Commissions
o The regulators
Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC)
o The idea was to regulate business in a fair manner, and set up so that their
leadership overlaps with the Presidents – positions don’t expire at the
same time. This avoids corruption…but then it worked the other way
instead. The process HAS been fixed. Who Controls the Bureaucracy?
o Too technical – the majority of the public knows nothing about and cannot
form an opinion about it…
o Rely on others
Our first line of reliance (as citizens uninformed about political issues).
o Chief bureaucrat
o “Overhead democracy”
Head officials continuously appoint subordinates.
o Little control (by the President)
Bureaucratic culture (and preferences)
o The power of four:
(1) Fundraising: Controls the purse and slashes budgets.
Determine and vote on the budget for almost all of the executives’
programs – don’t rub Congress the wrong way!
(2) Oversight: Proper execution and negative publicity.
Once legislation is off to the executive, Congress has the afterfact
authority. Make sure it’s being implemented the way they intended it to
be. Political stagecraft = trying to make people look bad!
(3) Authorization: Reauthorization and ame