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Representative Wesley Disney of Oklahoma proposed a bill in Congress last month which provides for a National Academy of Public Affairs. This bill is now being considered by the Committee on Education, and deserves careful attention by all those in America who are interested in good government and sane spending of municipal, state and federal funds. Billions of dollars collected from the taxpayers are spent annually by the public officers. Disposition of questions ranging from relations with nations abroad to the construction of a new sewage system is in their hands. The Government now can control the price of wheat and the value of money, plus numerous other functions. Thus this "West Point of public service" would produce men and women of technical training and sound understanding capable of handling increased governmental problems. The need for a civil service of trained executives is becoming greater every year, and the highest aim of this institution will be to create civil servants, impervious to politics, who will be able to staff the State Department and the Foreign Service.
Graduates of this Academy will have a civil status with all resulting rights under the retirement laws of the United States. An incorruptible organization of career men, having no political axes to grind, will be built up, and the present vicious system of political appointments to federal administrative jobs will be slowly abolished. It will be a rare treat for the United States to have no political turnover in federal jobs every four years. Prominent educators in this country have often publicly lamented the need for a comprehensive civil service, similar to that of England. This bill, if passed, will set up an institution that will rival the traditional British "Cursus Honorum", Eton and Oxford, since it will create a class of public servants, as independent and as distinct as our present Army and Navy.
The greatest value of this bill lies in the protection that it provides against politics and party influences. Students will be selected in the same manner as for West Point and Annapolis, and the members of the Cabinet will form the Board of Directors. Merit and length of standing in the service will form the criterion for promotion, and the evils of the 'spoils system' will be materially reduced.
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