The US Bureaucracy
The US Bureaucracy
Bureaucracies exist in state and local governments, universities, corporations and other areas in many countries in the world. Originally, the US federal bureaucracy comprised employees from the Treasury, War, and State departments only. Today, the executive branch employs over three million people. The bureaucrats have grown tremendously. More importantly, standards and methods of recruiting and promotion of people have also changed dramatically. The Congress creates and funds bureaucratic agencies. However, most of these bureaucratic agencies report to the US President who supervises them. The President and the Congress thus have a dual responsibility. This depicts the complex organizational functioning as well as nature of federal bureaucracies.
This paper will seek to explore the size as well as the primary salient features of federal bureaucracy in the US. It will establish the number of cabinet departments that are there and how these individual departments are structured. A review of the general agencies types will be explored. Moreover, an assessment of a prospective government job among these agencies will be examined giving a description of the agency, salary, as well as a brief job description and even qualifications. Towards the end, an examination will be held as to whether one would prefer working in the US federal government upon the retirement of baby boomers due to the innumerable job openings (Dalby 25).
Hierarchical authority characterizes the US federal government structure. Division of labor is emphasized to ensure task specialization. There are extensive rules and regulations coupled with clear organizational goals. Merit-based hiring as well as promotion is done since job performance is based on productivity. Moreover, divided supervision demands that the President and the Congress have a dual responsibility where political authority is shared according to federalism principles. Public scrutiny is close due to the participatory political culture in the US. Lastly, regulation is preferred to public ownership where the US government regulates private owned enterprises and does not operate public-owned ones (Du 43).
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There are 15 cabinet departments, that is, State, Treasury, Defense, War, Interior, Agriculture, Commerce, Labor, Health and Human Services, Urban Development and Housing, Transportation, Energy, Education, Veterans Affairs, and Homeland Security. A cabinet secretary apart from the Department of Justice, headed by the Attorney General (AG), heads each department. However, there are other autonomous executive agencies, that is, General Service Administration (GSA), National Science Foundation (NSF), and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). The President appoints these secretaries with the Senates approval. Each of these departments manages a specified policy area. Most importantly, there are assistant secretaries and undersecretaries who run different agencies. Work in these departments is done in bureaus/offices (Charlesworth 54).
Throughout the history of America, Congresses and Presidents have tried to restructure the Bureaucracy to facilitate a cost-effective and efficient operation. Working in the Treasury Department as financial analyst under the Comptroller of Currency office would be self-fulfilling, and would give me an opportunity to serve the American People as far as economic issues are concerned. Service to the American people is very important as it accords one with an opportunity to interact with others who share the American Dream.
The position of a Financial Analyst in Washington DC would be an ideal employment opportunity. Salary ranges from $75,992-$141,482 per year. This salary is coupled with 10 paid holidays, 13-26 vacation days, insurance cover, free OCC vision and dental insurance, and a performance-based pay program. This position is a bargaining unit. The salary is inclusive of an 18% of geographical differential payment. The Office of Comptroller of Currency (OCC) ensures sound and safe banking system to all Americans. OCC is the U.S. Treasury Department bureau. This Financial Analyst position is within Economics, Data, and Analytical Solutions administrative center. The Financial Analyst conducts the management of data and consequently analyzes it to bolster the banking system. It requires a good data management background.
The Financial Analyst job entails development of methods to analyze time series data, guidance on analysis and identification of data within financial systems, quality control, banking and financial presentations, as well as investigation and development of new computer applications aimed at improving efficiency in information management. The Financial Analyst also represents the OCC division in interagency groups. Moreover, the Financial Analyst does preparation of training materials for training sessions for data users (Peter & Michael 79).
To qualify for the position of a Financial Analyst, one must possess all the Selective Placement Factors (SPFs), which entails demonstrating experience in programming of advanced management of data using the SAS software. The candidate must also possess specialized experience within the Federal Service. Interpersonal skills are equally important. In the subsequent fifteen years, baby boomers will retire. As a result, the US federal government will obviously have innumerable job openings. In the future, working under the Treasury department would be a very feasible decision for anyone.
Recruitment into the US bureaucracy should be based on meritocracy. The best qualified individuals should get the government jobs. Political patronage should not influence the hiring process. The Hatch Act passed by the Congress in 1939 ensures that a politics-administration dichotomy is upheld. This means that Federal bureaucrats do not run for elective posts. This is in a bid to avert conflict of interest.
In conclusion, there are a number of criticisms leveled against the bureaucracy. Agencies conflict by sometimes working at cross-purpose. Role duplication, wasteful spending, unchecked growth, and accountability issues mar service delivery by the US bureaucracy. This can be curbed through restraining appointments to 6-12 years. Professionals should be rotated between agencies, emphasis on customer satisfaction, and rewarding ideas by employees, as well as fewer rules, will better service delivery and foster public confidence (Merton 52).