Public Service System Flyer

Public Service System Flyer



Public Service Systems Flyer




s an associate director in charge of staffing at the Virginia department of civil service, it is my concern to inform the staffing department throughout the state on the changing public service system. In order to do this, historical instances to prove the evolution of the public service system are noted. As a result the evolutions dating back 100 years ago will help educate relevant departments on the history of the system and probable challenges facing management of workforce in Virginia State.

How the public service system has evolved over the last 100 years




n the past 100 years, the public service system has experienced numerous reforms starting from few amendments to major alterations involving change of hierarchy, functionality and salaries. For instance, the public service system was previously controlled by the president. These meant public servants were political appointees which resulted into disparities in distribution of jobs across most states in the U.S especially in Virginia. The Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act enacted in 1883 brought reforms that changed the system which became dependent on meritocracy (Roberge, 2011). Senior positions in the public service among them being diplomatic heads and executives were appointed for leadership after meriting in tests and interviews administered by a public vetting board.  Further reforms supported by the hatch Act endorsed in 1929 banned public servants from engaging in politics thus the public system became independent from politics despite its being a government agency.

The assassination of President James Garfield mobilized the public in America on the need for reforms in the public service sector. Because of the increased public support, reforms were initiated with the sanctioning of the 1883 Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act which subsequently supported the appointment of the United States Public Service Commission. The civil service laws ensured that public servants were appointed after undertaking a competitive exam. Additionally the law prohibited public servants from participating or being partisans to political allies but exempted municipal and state governments who were allowed to participate in political patronage.

On the 1st of January, 1978 the United States Public Service Commission was renamed to become the present day U.S Office of Personnel Management OPM). This change was marked under the Civil Service Reform Act endorsed in 1978, No. 2 clause of the 1978 Reorganization Plan (Roberge, 2011). The Act further abolished the U.S public service exams for some positions on the grounds that it was flawed and that the assenting guides were oppressive to the hiring of minors who lacked general work experience. This meant that most of the public service offices had been dominated by the elderly and ageing civil servants. The Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA) was also formed to complement OPM by overseeing unionization of civil servants as a way of strengthening their collective bargain with other government agencies. On the other hand the U.S Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) was formed to protect civil servants by representing them in legal proceedings relating to termination of employment or discipline. All the three authorities for instance the OPM, FLRA and MSPB were designed to identify and replace ineffectual public service officials.




Most management challenges facing public workforces are historic in nature among them being federal agencies. Most civil servants are employed by independent agencies or by the fifteen executive departments in charge of various groups such as the Office of the President, Office of Management and Budget, Office of Science and Technology Policy among others. Therefore there are constant conflicts between government agencies and independent agencies with regard to qualification and merit. The second challenge facing management of public service workforces is related to payment systems which dictates salaries and remunerations for public servants. The pay system used by the U.S civil service has complex sets of principals among them being General Schedule (GS) which states payment for employees in the white collar job division, Federal Wage System (FWS) for employees in blue collar and Senior Executive System (SES) stating salaries for executives. Incidentally the SES system was adopted from the China Lake Demonstration Project of 1923 and was incorporated into the Classification Act in 1949 (Roberge, 2011). The current system lacks equitable pay because of the evolution of the education system thus some academic qualifications have not been included in the payment systems.



Roberge, E. (2011). SNAFU, A Hysterical Memoir About Why the Government Doesn’t Work. Orlando, FL: Create-space/Bureau Rat Publishing. p. 119

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