Civil Service Reform Act of 1978 (CSRA) | Practical Law
The Civil Service Reform Act of (CSRA) is legislation that implemented changes to the structure, management, and employment practices of the federal civil service. The CSRA reaffirmed the merit system selection process of the competitive civil service, decentralized administrative personnel functions, and codified a number of changes to workforce practices and procedures, including the . Shown Here:Conference report filed in House (10/05/) (Conference report filed in House, H. Rept. ) Civil Service Reform Act - =Title I: Merit System Principles= - Enumerates the principles of the merit system in the Federal work force. Prohibits the taking of personnel actions to discriminate against a Federal employee on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin, age, handicapping .
With full support from Congress which also recognized the need for such reform, Carter fulfilled his campaign promise to reform this federal civil service. The act replaced the antiquated Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act ofwhich initially established boundaries for government jobs. Mainly, the Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act stipulated that government jobs should be awarded on a basis of merit.
The Merit Systems Protection Board, although evidently with new legislation, can be seen to branch off from the previous Civil Service Commission. The MSPB was designed to how to delete all tweets on twitter at once consisting of a three-person board, which will be appointed by the president for seven years.
Created as an executive agency, it is given powers to administrate civil service laws. This agency agrees on major policy issues, hears appeals, and also acts upon unjust labor practice charges and representation claims. The Federal Labor Relations Council also guides parties in resolving bargaining disputes when there is no sign of compromise.
Carter was able to achieve great success with the Civil Service Reform Act; it can be seen as the paradigm of his domestic policies. He established the Senior Executive Service, which consisted of 8, selected civil servants that were able to be eligible for productivity bonuses as opposed to their current arrangements.
The Senior Executive Service paralleled a much anticipated senior management system and many compared it directly to the private sector. Moreover, it provided legal protection for whistle-blowers and other potential government misconducts.
Carter also included a clause that established experiments which gave line managers increased control. Although that it is clear that the Civil Service Reform Act was a major accomplishment for Carter and a testament to the wants of civil service reformers, there have been several feeble arguments made against it. Almost all of them eventually converge to the point that federal employees, under the reform, what happens after mediation fails stripped of their rights.
In fact, quite the opposite is true. Instead, the Civil Service Reform Act was able to oversee union practices, and by setting necessary guidelines, was able to ensure fair practices. Prohibitions against strikes and slowdowns are necessary when they interfere with government operations.
The Civil Service Reform Act was created duly to fix such discrepancies. Carter sought greater accountability of federal employees for their performance — and so the act bestowed more authority into the federal manager.
However, this is not to say that the federal manager had the authority to indulge in malpractices. To balance it, the act also accentuates protection of the rights of the employees from potential abuses.
Current situations called upon for current measures. Carter passed the reform solely for the protection of the people — as he laid out their rights. It prohibited extensive practices that would result in such abuses like favoritism. Rosenbloom, eds. The Promise and Paradox of Civil Service. New York: Law. You are commenting using your WordPress. You are commenting using your Google account. You are commenting using your Twitter account.
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Civil service reform refers to movements for the improvement of the civil service in methods of appointment, rules of conduct, etc. Relevant articles are: On historical movements: spoils system and merit system. Civil Service Reform Act of U.S. Civil Service Reform. Civil Service Reform Act of (CSRA) A federal law that established the merit system principles (MSPs) and prohibited personnel practices (PPPs) that protect federal employees and applicants for federal employment. The law abolished the US Civil Service Commission and distributed its functions to three newly created agencies. May 13, · The Civil Service Reform Act of is intended to provide Federal managers with the flexibility to improve Government operations and productivity while, at the same time, protect employees from unfair or unwarranted practices. As part of civil service reform, a reorganization of the agencies administering the Federal personnel system was proposed and approved.
Not a MyNAP member yet? Register for a free account to start saving and receiving special member only perks. For nearly 50 years, the federal government has operated with some performance appraisal procedures whose purposes have been to strengthen the link between pay and performance. Since , specific pay for performance programs have been in place for mid- and upper-level federal managers. There is general agreement that these programs have not attained the desired objectives; their troubled history has included a series of adjustments and changes, differing levels of financial support, and little evidence of success.
The ability to demonstrate a link between performance and pay—to both the employee and the public—remains problematic for the federal government. As we approach the year , the questions surrounding pay for performance in the public sector have assumed a new importance—indeed, a central position—in new proposals for federal civil service reform.
Many of the questions raised in the debate about the reforms are being raised again. Why is this so? What accounts for the intransigence of problems surrounding effective pay for performance systems in the federal government? Is there evidence to support the validity of the effort, despite its problems? In the federal government, the answers to these questions are made more difficult by the nature of the federal personnel system, by the intermingling of issues of political responsiveness with issues of effective management, and by the need to marshal very scarce resources for a policy activity that never ranks very high on the national agenda.
It is our intent in this chapter to provide the historical and contextual information necessary to understand these constraints and their implications for performance-based pay schemes in the federal government. The Civil Service Reform Act of and its outcomes can be best understood within the context of the historic and institutional influences that led to its creation.
Two aspects of this context are discussed here: 1 the historical evolution of merit principles in the federal sector and 2 the evolution of federal management strategy. The passage of the Pendleton Act in marked the origin of the merit system and the classified civil service in the federal government. This landmark legislation was intended to create a system that not only protected federal employment and employees from the excesses of partisan politics, but also provided the federal government with a competent and politically neutral work force.
The Pendleton Act contained three fundamental merit principles: fair and open competition for federal jobs, admission to the competitive service only on the basis of neutral examination, and protection of those in the service from political influence and coercion Ingraham and Rosenbloom, At the time the Pendleton Act was passed, the spoils system had thoroughly politicized the federal service.
The electoral success of candidates supported by civil service leagues in the congressional elections put civil service reform on the national agenda. Public attention to the problem was galvanized by the assassination of President Garfield by a demented campaign worker who sought federal office. Despite the clarity of the problem and fairly widespread consensus on the need for action, the reality of the Pendleton Act was modest: only 10 percent of the federal work force at that time was covered by the initial legislation.
Congress granted the President authority to add federal employees to the merit system as he saw fit. Van Riper notes that the act permitted "… an orderly retreat of parties from their prerogatives of plunder. The Pendleton Act created decentralized Boards of Examiners to administer entrance examinations.
Unlike the British system, which had served as the ideal for many reformers, the U. Rather, it emphasized common sense, practical information, and general skills.
Neutrality was a primary value in the merit system. One observer wrote that "… the civil service was like a hammer or a saw; it would do nothing at all by itself, but it would serve any purpose, wise or unwise, good or bad, to which any user put it" Kaufman, The fledgling merit system, intended to remove politics from the federal service, developed and grew as politics allowed. Its history is not, therefore, one of coherent development; it reflects shifting and changing political priorities and cycles.
Both Congress and the President retained a keen interest in patronage. President McKinley, for example, included 1, new positions in the classified service, but exempted 9, that had previously been covered Skrowonek, Congress excluded entire agencies from the classified service. In the New Deal years, Franklin D.
Roosevelt successfully urged that the new agencies created be staffed by persons with policy expertise congruent with the President's interests, rather than the ''neutral competents" produced by the civil service examination system. When Roosevelt assumed the presidency in , about 80 percent of federal employees were in the competitive civil service.
By , that proportion was about 60 percent U. Civil Service Commission, Of equal significance, new provisions and procedures were layered on incrementally as the system grew. Until the time of the New Deal, most of the new provisions, with their emphasis on economy, efficiency, and standardization, reflected the scientific management principles in vogue in the business and public administration communities. One such effort was the creation, in , of the skeleton of a performance appraisal system.
In that year, the Civil Service Commission CSC was directed by Congress to establish a uniform efficiency rating system for all federal agencies. The commission established a Division of Efficiency to carry out this task U. The passage of the Classification Act in represented a more ambitious attempt to bring scientific management principles to the federal merit system.
In words that have a familiar ring, the Joint Commission on Reclassification of Salaries had concluded in that the United States government, the largest employer in the world, needed a "modern classification of positions to serve as a basis for just standardization of compensation" quoted in Gerber, The Classification Act established in law the principle of nationally uniform compensation levels, providing for the standard classification of duties and responsibilities by occupations and positions with salary levels assigned to the resulting positions.
In addition, the Classification Act legalized the principle of rank in position. Unlike the more common European practice of rank in person, the U. Finally, the Classification Act of led to the creation of a standard rating scale, which required supervisors to rate employees for each "service rendered. The Classification Act came under almost immediate attack. Evaluations in and found major problems with the classification system that it established. Primary criticisms focused on the extremely narrow and complex nature of the classification process.
The inquiry noted, for example, that "what seem to be the most trifling differences in function or difficulty are. Nonetheless, the Classification Act was not reformed until , following the release of the first Hoover Commission report. That report had been blunt about the state of the federal merit system:. Probably no problem in the management of the Government is more important than that of obtaining a capable and conscientious body of public servants.
Unfortunately, personnel practices in the federal government give little room for optimism that these needs are being met. Although not universally considered an improvement see Gerber, , the Classification Act of simplified the classification system by reducing the number of pay categories from five to two: the grade General Schedule for white-collar employees and another schedule for blue-collar employees. It created the "supergrade" system GS 16—18 , which was in many ways the predecessor of the Senior Executive Service a version of which had been recommended by the first Hoover Commission.
The act also marked an early point on what has come to be a centralization-decentralization cycle in federal personnel policy, when it delegated some classification authority back to the agencies Ingraham and Rosenbloom, Classification of managerial jobs in the federal merit system has not been reformed since the passage of the act. There have been other initiatives related to performance appraisal, however, that are worth noting in this brief overview.
The Ramspeck Act created efficiency rating boards of review in The uniform efficiency rating system that resulted was in place until , when it was replaced by the provisions of the Performance Rating Act of The Performance Rating Act required agencies to establish a performance appraisal system with the prior approval of the CSC. This system established three summary rating levels: "Outstanding," "Satisfactory," and ''Unsatisfactory.
The act required a day written warning of an unsatisfactory rating and opportunity for employees to improve. Financial incentives to accompany performance were introduced by the Incentive Awards Act of , which authorized recognition and cash payments for superior accomplishment, suggestions, inventions, or other personal efforts.
This act established an "acceptable level of competence" determination for granting General Schedule within-grade increases. Within-grade increases could be withheld when performance dropped below an acceptable level, but the agency was obliged to prove that performance was not acceptable.
Employees were permitted to appeal to both the agency and, if denied at the agency level, to the Civil Service Commission. The Salary Reform. Act also authorized an additional step increase or quality step increase QSI for "high-quality performance.
These incremental changes and years' accretion of laws and procedures have resulted in an enormously complex federal merit system. Entrance to the system can now be through "competitive," "noncompetitive," or "excepted" authority. Veterans have preference in hiring and, until , did not have to pass an examination to be considered for employment.
There are direct hiring authorities for hard-to-hire and specialized occupations, for outstanding scholars, for returned Peace Corps Volunteers, for Vietnam-era veterans, and many others.
Examinations are not required in these cases. There is extensive use of temporary and part-time hiring; there are 35 different ways to hire temporary employees alone for additional discussion, see Ingraham and Rosenbloom, At the time the Civil Service Reform Act of was passed, over 6, pages of civil service law, procedure, and regulation governed the federal merit system.
There were at least 30 different pay systems in place; there were over occupations in the federal civil service. This complexity was one of the problems addressed by civil service reform; the history and development of the complexity profoundly influenced the reform's potential for success. It is significant that the act did not for the most part address basic entrance procedures, the classification system, or the basic federal compensation systems. In many respects, it reformed at the fringes of the system.
Federal management strategies provide another set of influences that were important to the context and development of civil service reform. At least since , when the Brownlow Commission issued its report on the Executive Office of the President, appropriate theories and structures for federal management have been debated by academic analysts and elected officials.
The remarkable growth of government in Franklin Roosevelt's first term created a management problem unknown to previous presidents. The steady expansion of the civil service system in the years prior to the New Deal had created a large permanent bureaucracy founded on the neutral competence model. President Roosevelt wished, however, to have bureaucracies and bureaucrats more responsive to his policy agenda. The Brownlow recommendations, while continuing to argue for neutral competence, firmly articulated the concept of the President as manager of the executive branch.
The Federal Reorganization Act of was the cornerstone for the development of that presidential capacity. The evolution of those management efforts has been characterized by a shift from the basic question "How should government be managed? This view has grown more explicit in the past 25 years. Particularly since the Nixon presidency, it has been an aggressively pursued ideal. There have been three basic components to the presidential control strategies that have emerged: structural change, governmental reorganization, and larger numbers of political appointees to direct the career bureaucracy see Ingraham, ; Pfiffner, President Nixon essentially created the model for future presidents by combining all of these strategies into an overall vision of presidential management.
The "administrative presidency" that he attempted to create was cut short by Watergate; the lessons from it, however, were quickly adopted by the presidents who followed.
For a complete discussion of the Nixon strategy, see Nathan,