CIVIL SERVICE IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
Ø 1) Read the text and say what these numbers refer to:1872, 1883, 1978, 1,300, 16%, $71,208, 24.
In the United States, the civil service was established in 1872. The Federal Civil Service was defined as “all appointive positions in the executive, judicial, and legislative branches of the Government of the United States, except positions in the uniformed services.”
At first, government jobs were held at the pleasure of the President. It meant that a civil servant could be fired at any time. “The spoils system” meant that jobs were used to support the political parties. This was changed slowly by the Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act of 1883 and subsequent laws.
In 1883 the US Civil Service Commission was created. It was created to administer the civil service of the US federal government in response to the assassination of President James Garfield. The law required certain applicants to take the civil service exam in order to be given certain jobs. It also did not allow elected officials and political appointees to fire civil servants.
The work of the US Civil Service Commission was mainly restricted to the lower grades of employment. Only in the 1920s the merit system of recruitment was expanded to cover half the posts in the federal service. After that period the commission’s control gradually increased, mainly over the lower, middle, and managerial offices in the federal service.
Effective January 1, 1978, the US Civil Service Commission was reorganized into the Office of Personnel Management, the Federal Labor Relations Authority, and the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board. The first office primarily provides management guidance to the various agencies of the executive branch and issues regulations that control federal human resources. The second authority oversees the rights of federal employees to form collective bargaining unions. The third board conducts studies of the federal civil service and mainly hears the appeals of federal employees who are disciplined or otherwise separated from their positions.
By 1909, almost two-thirds of the U.S. federal work force was appointed based on merit, that is, qualifications measured by tests. Certain senior civil service positions, including some heads of diplomatic missions and executive agencies are, however, filled by political appointees. Under the Hatch Act of 1939, civil servants are not allowed to engage in political activities while performing their duties.
The U.S. civil service includes the Competitive service and the Excepted service. The majority of civil service appointments in the U.S. are made under the Competitive Service, but certain categories in the Diplomatic Service, the FBI, and other National Security positions are made under the Excepted Service. U.S. state and local government entities often have competitive civil service systems that are modeled on the national system, in varying degrees.
Employees in the US civil services work under one of the independent agencies or one of the 15 executive departments. In addition to departments, there is a number of staff organizations grouped into the Executive Office of the President (the White House staff, the National Security Council, the Office of Management and Budget, and others).
There are also independent agencies such as the United States Postal Service, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the Central Intelligence Agency, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the United States Agency for International Development. In addition, there are government-owned corporations such as the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and the National Railroad Passenger Corporation.
The Federal Government is the nation’s single largest employer. There are over 1,300 federal government agencies. Although most federal agencies are based in the Washington, D.C. region, only about 16% of the federal government workforce is employed in this region.
Many people believe that civil service is among the most secure work environments, that’s why jobs in government are highly sought after. Excellent retirement and health benefits are what attract many people to these jobs. The average federal worker’s pay was $71,208 compared with $40,331 in the private sector. 19% of federal employees earned salaries of $100,000 or more in 2009. Basic pay rates for Senior Executive Service, i.e. those above GS-15, ranged from $140,000 to $190,000, excluding the cost of living adjustments.
Over the last several years, the Federal government has made it relatively simple to search for a job within their system. The Office of Personnel Management developed USAJOBS. USAJOBS is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and consists of a website and an automated telephone system. Job seekers can view or listen to job vacancies, download or request applications and other forms, and get the facts about Federal employment.
Unfortunately, there isn’t an official centralized location like this for finding state and local jobs all listed in one place. However, such information can be found on special websites. One can also check the blue pages of a telephone book to see if there is a civil service commission or a personnel or human resources department listed.
Ø 2) Define the terms: “the spoils system,” “the merit system,” “USAJOBS.”
Ø 3) Find the peculiarities of American civil service in comparison with Russian civil service.
Ø 4) Make a plan of the text and talk about the development of American civil service.
CIVIL SERVICE IN CANADA
Ø 1) Read the text and say what problem Canadian civil service is facing nowadays.
The Public Service of Canada is the staff (or bureaucracy) of the federal government of Canada. Its function is to support Queen Elizabeth II, the Canadian monarch, and to handle the hiring of employees for the federal government ministries. It is represented by the Governor General, and the appointed ministry.
The purpose of the Canadian public service is to enact the will of the government. It does this through providing advice, implementing the priorities of the government, supporting Ministers of the Crown, and delivering services that support Canadians.
The public service functions through departments, agencies, commissions, crown corporations, and other federal organizations. Over 40% of the Public Service of Canada is located in the Ottawa-Hull area, although there is staff in over 180 countries and 1,600 locations across Canada. It is also the nation’s largest single employer.
A typical department is headed by a minister, which is a political position usually held by a member of parliament, and who is a member of the Cabinet. The senior civil servant in a department is usually titled Deputy Minister. These officials are responsible for all on-going operations within their department, while ministers are accountable to parliament. Deputy Ministers report to the Clerk of the Privy Council who is the chief public servant in Canada.
Under the Deputy Minister there will usually be three to five Assistant Deputy Ministers who oversee various broad aspects of the department (policy, administration, program implementation, etc). Within the jurisdiction of each Assistant Deputy Minister is usually two to five Directors-General who oversee more functional areas of each broad element of the department. Under Directors-General are Directors, who oversee various directorates, which are the core of any department. These directorates contain the ground level in each department and are the members of the public service who implement government decisions.
There are approximately 100 distinctly different positions in Canadian civil service. Most work in policy, operations or administrative functions. About 15% are scientists and professionals, 10% work in technical operations, and 2.5% are executives.
Hiring of civil servants is typically done through a competitive process that is either external (open) or internal (closed). External competitions are typically organized to recruit a greater number of applicants. Conversely, internal competitions may be held to provide opportunities for advancement within the civil service.
Civil servants in Canada are not contracted by an abstraction called “the state,” but rather are employed by the Canadian monarch, who personifies the state. Hence, some civil servants, such as police officers, are required by law to recite the Oath of Allegiance before taking their posts. However, bureaucratic civil servants do not have to swear the oath any more.
The civil service has been reduced several times, often due to restraint programs designed to reduce its cost. Nevertheless, the public service has expanded over the years as population has grown, and the number of services provided to Canadians has increased with the introduction of new offices throughout the country.
Ø 2) Draw a scheme of Canadian civil service. Compare this scheme with the one of a different country of your choice.
Ø 3) Answer the questions on the text:
a) Who is Canadian monarch?
b) Who represents the monarch in Canada?
c) Where are “the headquarters” of Canadian civil service located?
d) Is Canadian civil service political?
e) Which positions are considered to serve the country in Canada?
CIVIL SERVICE IN BRAZIL
Ø 1) Read the text and ask five questions on its content to your neighbour.
In Brazil public servants are hired through entrance examinations, known as Public Contests. The government hires several companies to conduct the examinations. The positions are filled according to the examination score.
Public officials are privileged compared to the private sector. In the first place, Brazilian civil servants have lifelong employment. It is prohibited to fire civil servants in Brazil, except for very serious violations.
In the second place, civil servants are among the richest working class in Brazil, depending on the career.
Then, they have a longer maternity leave of 180 days compared to 120 days for others.
Also, Brazilian civil servants get a “Culture Pass.” It amounts to about 15% of their salary and should be spent on movies, theater, and other leisure and culture activities.
Ø 2) Enlarge the text adding your opinion on Brazilian civil service.
CIVIL SERVICE IN FRANCE
Ø 1) Read the text and make a scheme of the French Civil Service. Is it similar to the system of Russian civil service?
The French Civil Service is the set of civil servants working for the French government. It is divided into the civil service of the State, the judiciary, the civil service of public hospitals, and the civil service of local governments.
Civil servants of the State are divided into three corps named A to C, which are subdivided into classes. For instance, the corps of university professors is corps of category A which is divided into 3 classes: second class (equivalent to an American associate professor), first class (full professor), exceptional class (leading full professor in his area). About half of the French civil servants are employed in the public education system. Other French Civil Services have different organizations.
Certain corps enjoying particular prestige are called “the great corps of the State.” They are Great technical corps of the State (e.g. Corps of Roads and Bridges, Corps of Telecommunications) and Great administrative corps of the State (Conseil d’État, Court of Auditors, and General Inspection of Finances).
All civil servants have duties. Failure to carry them out may result in disciplinary action, up to discharge. The main duties of French civil servants are:
· full commitment to professional activity. A civil servant should devote his full professional activity to his appointed task. By exception, a civil servant may in addition to his regular activities write books; he may also accomplish certain tasks (e.g. teaching) with the permission of his hierarchical supervisor.
· morality. One cannot be a civil servant if one has been convicted of a crime incompatible with one’s functions.
· reserve. A civil servant should not, by his actions and especially by his declarations, cause harm to institutions. Generally speaking, a civil servant should not express personal opinions in a manner that can be interpreted as expressing the official opinion of the French government or a public institution. Agents working abroad should be especially cautious. For instance, an ambassador should refrain from making any private comment on international issues.
· hierarchical obedience. A civil servant must accomplish the orders given by his hierarchical supervisor, unless those orders are evidently illegal and contrary to public interest.
· professional discretion. Civil servants must not reveal private or secret information that they have gained in the course of their duties.
· honesty. Civil servants must not use the means at their professional disposal for private gain.
· neutrality. Civil servant must be neutral with respect to the religious or political opinions, origin, or sex, and should refrain from expressing their own opinions.
French civil servants are recruited through competitive exams, either external or internal, on professional tasks. Most employment positions in the French civil service are open to the citizens of the European Union. Others, especially in police and justice, are open only to French nationals. Some rare positions, e.g. university professors and researchers, are open regardless of citizenship. As an exception to the general rules concerning workers, civil servants do not sign contracts. Their situation is defined by statutory and regulatory dispositions.
The pay of a civil servant is composed of a base pay, possible overtime pay (since 1950 it has been given to three civil servants only), and possible bonuses. High-level administrative positions are typically paid much less than the equivalent positions in private industries.
Ø 2) The text describes the duties of French civil servants. Are they applicable to Russian civil servants?
Ø 3) Say if the statements are true or false:
a) All French civil servants are employed in the public education system.
b) “The great corps of the State” are especially prestigious in France.
c) French civil servants have a life-long employment and cannot be removed from their posts.
d) Any person can become a French civil servant.
e) Civil servants in France get higher salaries than private entrepreneurs.
CIVIL SERVICE IN GERMANY
Ø 1) Read the text and compare the system of civil service in Germany with that of other countries.
The public employees of Germany are put into two classes, namely ordinary employees (Angestellte) and Beamte. This distinction does not exist in most other national bodies of law. The original idea was that whoever represents the state by doing official duties, such as issuing official documents or making official decisions, should have a special kind of employment with the state.
The status of Beamte is enjoyed by the staff of public authorities and civil services, and also by policemen, soldiers and officers, most teachers and other professionals, and by holders of political offices such as mayors, ministers, etc. However, for holders of political offices the status of Beamte is not permanent and is only applicable for their period in office.
There are 4 professional tracks for Beamte, depending on their education: lower service, middle service, upper service, and senior service. One does not become a Beamte by signing a contract, but rather by receiving a diploma of appointment. The first task is to swear the oath to uphold the federal constitution and the constitution of the federal state. To become a German Beamte, each applicant, regardless of which career he/she chooses (lower, middle, upper or senior service), should complete the preparation service lasting one to three years. Usually, the preparation service ends with several oral and written exams and a written work. Then applicants have a probation time. It usually lasts three to five years. Only after probation a person becomes a Beamte for life and thus has the status of an official civil servant.
German Beamte have a special health plan, an index-linked pension of 71.5% of the last salary, and most importantly, the impossibility of losing the job (basically, the state may only terminate employment in cases of serious felonies). One notable disadvantage is that Beamte, unlike all other public or private employees, don’t have the right to strike. Furthermore, the salary and working week are defined by law and not by negotiations between employers and unions. As a result, the usual working week for public employees is 38.5 hours whereas for Beamte it is 40 to 42 hours.
Beamte suffer from an image problem within Germany. A study conducted by the German Civil Service Federation stated that 61% of the German population thought that Beamte are “lazy, lethargic, inflexible, stubborn or corrupt.” Other common points of contention among the German public were that Beamte are paid excessive salaries and cannot be released from their positions for any other reason than engaging in a criminal act or being unable to work.
Ø 2) Answer the questions on the text:
a) What is the difference between an “Angestellte” and a “Beamte” in Germany?
b) How can one become a “Beamte”?
c) What are Beamte’s job benefits?
d) Are there any disadvantages in the job of Beamte?
e) Typical Beamte are considered to be important in Germany, aren’t they?