[W Teens Action

IVs not every Kid who has attended a presidential inauguration. Then again. Haamld Johnson is hardly "every kid.'7 At 17, Johnson has already been elected Youth Mayor of Chicago and had an internship at Oily Hall. He has organized a school political science club, been twice elected class president, worked briefly for the Democratic Party, and logged some 50 hours passing out flyers and making phone calls for then-candidate George W. Bush.

"Even though Bush did lose Illinois," says Johnson. "I feel I did contribute something. I guess that's the important part: Participating is the main thing."

Johnson's political passion stems from a tcacher. "I just saw this guy and I said "wow!"" Johnson recalls. "He motivated me to speak and to write. We just hit it off. He said I should start a political scicncc club. Then, he cncouraged mc to run for freshman class president. I was thinking about running for treasurer. But he said, 'No. go for the big one.:r

Haamid Johnson from Illinois

to run a government program or what to do in a ccrtain situation, federal agencies often determine what government policy will be.

Independent Agencies

The executive branch includes hundreds of independent agencies. They are called independent because they arc not part of the cabinet. They are not, however, independent of the president.The president appoints the directors of these agencies, with the approval of the Senate. In general, however, they can be divided into three types: executive agencies, government corporations, and regulatory commissions.

Executive Agencies These are independent agencies responsible for dealing with certain specialized areas within the government. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is an example. It operates the United States space program.

Government Corporations More than 50 independent agencies are government corporations. These are like private businesses, except that the government rather than individuals owns and operates them. With Senate approval, the president chooses a board of directors and a general manager to run each corporation. Like private businesses, they charge fees for their services and products, but they are not supposed to make a profit. The United States Postal Service, for example, is a government corporation.

Regulatory Boards and Commissions These units differ from other independent agencies. They do not have to report to the president, who appoints the members but cannot fire them. Only Congress can remove them, through impeachment.

Regulatory commissions are supposed to protect the public. They make and enforce rules for ccrtain industries or groups. For instance, the Federal Communications Commission (PCC) makes broadcasting rules for the nation's television and radio stations. Other regulatory commissions place limits on how companies can operate in order to promote honesty and fair competition.

134 Chapter 7

The President and the Executive Branch

Government workers

A former cabinet secretary once said, "A Cabinet member does not run a Cabinet department [alone]." Indeed, each department has thousands of employees. The top leadership jobs generally go to political appointees people whom the president has chosen because they have proven executive ability or were important supporters of the president's election campaign. Their employment usually ends when the president leaves office.

About 90 percent of all national government employees are civil service workers. Unlike political appointees, civil service workers usually have permanent employment. These career government employees develop much experience on che job. These are people> ranging from clerks to doctors and lawyers, employed by the federal government through the civil scrvicc system—the practice of hiring government workers on the basis of open, competitive examinations and merit.

Before 1883 a great many federal jobs fell under the spoils system. In this system, government jobs went to people as a reward for their political support. Each newly elected president would sweep out most of the old federal workers and replace them with his own political supporters and friends. The idea was uTo the victor belong che spoils [jobsj." Public dissatisfaction with abuses of the spoils system, and public outrage over the assassination of President James Garfield in 1881 by a man who was refused a job under the system, led Congress to pass the Pendleton Act.

This law, also known as the Civil Service Reform Acc of 18S3, placed limits on the number of jobs a new president could hand out to friends and backers, and it created the civil service system. The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) directs the civil service system today. It sets standards for federal jobs, and it gives demanding written tests to people who want those jobs.The civil scrvicc system is a merit system * Government officials hire new workers from lists of people who have passed the tests or otherwise met civil service standards.

{£¡£5223023} Describing What is the purpose of regulatory commissions?


Checking for Understanding

1. Key Terms Define the following terms and use them in complete sentences related Lo Lhe presidency: federal bureaucracy, independent agency, .government corporation, political appointee.

Reviewing Main Ideas

2. Describe WhaL does Lhe Constitution say about the role of the First Lady in our govern rnenL?

3. Contrast What is the difference beLween a privaLe and a government corporation?

Critical Thinking

4. Making Inferences What part of the EOP do you think is the mosL imporLanL? Why?

5. Analyzing Information Organ¡¿e the roles of people who assist the president by completing a graphic organiser like lhe one below.

People cinrJ ^^ agcncics who assist ^^^ lhe president .

Analyzing Visuals

6. Infer Review the cabinet departments of the executive branch on page 183. Why are lhe re so many cabinet departments under the president of the Uniled SLales?


7. Research Find ouL abouL your governor's staff. How many people work as assistants and advisers Lo Lhe governor? How are they similar to the president's staff?

Assessment & Activities

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