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Civil Service


Although the President's recent proposal to remove civil service protection from some policy-making positions inspired Democratic cries of "patronage raid," the major point against the change does not involve the spoils system. Eisenhower, who has a fairly clean hound's tooth in patronage matters, appears to have been acting more under obligation to the Hoover Commission than to the GOP state chairmen.

The President, in his reorganization plan, has made a two-fold request of his department heads. He asked first that they recommend career officials, whose policy-making function should exempt them from civil service protection, for appointment to a special Administrative category--Schedule C. Secondly, he inquired whether any department needed additional non-career officials. The second point, since it will not affect present civil service posts, seems worthwhile. The first part, although it may put a number of positions up for grabs, is unsound for strictly non-political reasons.

The real danger in following the primary recommendation is that such an action would tend to make a dead end of the Civil Service. To deny highly trained and experienced career men the opportunity to make and defend policy decisions would be foolish. No man will devote his time and money to training for the civil service if he knows that he can never reach a position of real responsibility. To restrict policy-making to political appointees would automatically remove the incentive which motivates capable men and women to spend years working their way up through the lower echelons of the government. The immediate result would be to decrease both the quantity and quality of applications to the civil service.

Even Mr. Hoover would be alarmed at such a development. He has said, "We must make civil service so attractive, so secure, so free from frustrations, so dignified that the right kind of men and women will make it a career."

If Mr. Eisenhower implements his proposal, security will be the only asset left to the civil service. It occurs to us that security, while an estimable precept, is scarcely sufficient to draw "the right kind" of people into a career where such people are definitely needed.

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