Inside Public Bureaucracy
Justin Columba F. Agraviador
This paper is based on Richard J. Stillman’s book about public administration. I will discuss to you one of the myriads of topics involving public administration – that is the identifiable clusters of individuals who work and act in an influential way inside the bureaucracy. I will discuss the different subsystems of clusters of individuals inside the bureaucracy and how they perform different tasks in the government. Below are the different subsystems that will guide our discussion through out this paper:
General civil service
I will go through the discussion using the comparative analysis framework in order to give us a better understanding on how each subsystem competes within the bureaucracy and how they overlap through the doctrine of blending of powers. I shall give to you practical examples and applications based on Philippine politics. Stillman’s book is about US bureaucracy thus all his examples are irrelevant to the national bureaucracy of the Philippines which don’t adhere to federalism.
Moving on to our fist subsystem, the political appointees… Generally the political appointees serve without security of tenure. But the more legal approach is that they also enjoy security tenure subject however to the determination of the appointing authority on his discretion to fix the expiration of the tenure of the appointee. In other words the appointee is not terminated arbitrarily or without a just cause but it is due to the fact that his term expires on the discretion of the appointing authority. This is the reason why Stillman refer to them as birds of passage because their tenure lies within the pleasure of the appointing authority. This political appointees however enjoy the top level policy making position in the government. Thus due to the vast powers their position enjoy they are appointed by virtue of trust or confidence of the appointing authority. There is a fiduciary relationship between the appointee and the appointer. The Cabinet Secretaries for instance were appointed by the President and assume their posts at the pleasure of the President. The doctrine of qualified political agency wherein the Secretaries where considered alter ego of the President springs from the fiduciary relations and trust between them. That is why more often than not the political appointees are members of the same political party the appointer belongs.
To have an in depth analysis of this subsystem, let me give to you the different types of political appointees as to level of trust between the appointee and appointer. The first type is the Inner Cabinet. In the Philippines, this composed of the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of Budget, the Excutive Secretary, the Secretary of Foreign Affairs, and the Secretary of Justice. In line with these includes the AFP Chief of Staff and PNP Director. They are the defenders of major policies of the President and more often appear in the legislative inquiries of the Senate or the House to aid them in legislation on matters concerning their departments. An important note is that the Secretary of Foreign Affairs and the Secretary of Defense, and the APF Chief of Staff shall not be denied access to the President in times of his illness under our 1987 Constitution. The second type is the Outer Cabinet. They are charge with running major public agencies which are somehow ministerial or less political in nature such as Secretary of Health, the Secretary of Social Welfare, and the Secretary of Tourism. Though they enjoy the same legal status with the Inner Cabinet the functions of their office goes below the functions of the Inner Cabinet such as defense, security, and foreign affairs. The third type is the sub-Cabinet. These are the undersecretaries and the heads or chairmen of different bureaus such as MMDA, SBMA etc. The fourth type are the advisors to the Secretaries or Chairmen of different bureaus, and agencies. The fifth type of political appointee based on Stillman’s is not applicable to Philippine bureaucracy. The fifth type is based on US 1978 Civil Service Reformed Act.
The second subsystem in our guide list is the Professional Careerist. From the name itself, these are group of personnel with specialized expertise within their specific fields. The nature of the job implies a highly technical skill and requires and advanced professional training. These professional however unlike the political appointees enjoys security of tenure and does serve for the pleasure or trust of the appointer cannot be remove from office except for a just or authorized causes. Examples of these are the doctors of the government owned and controlled hospitals such as PGH, scientists in PHILVOCS, engineers of DPWH, surveyors of Bureau of Lands, state prosecutors and provincial prosecutors, etc. These are permanent clusters of powerful experts as Stillman refer them because they remain in their post regardless of a change in administration or presidency. Again to further broaden our analysis regarding this subsystem let me give to you the its different types. First type is the professional elites. These are the senior and most respected members of their profession. They are the consultants who occupy top professional posts. Just below them is the line professional which is the second type. This includes professionals which are subordinates of the professional elites such as interns in the hospitals under the supervision of elite consultant doctors. Third type is the staff professional. This includes professionals which work is not directly related to the undertaking of the agency or department he is employed such as a lawyer in a banking institutions such as Land Bank or doctors in the military such as in V. Luna. Fourth type is the administrative professional. This is often called as the logistics. They are in charge of budget, purchasing, auditing, and supplies. Fifth is the paraprofessional. This includes personnel which lacks professional expertise but performs the jobs of the professionals. These are the care-givers which perform the works of a nurse and a physical therapist in the hospitals. They are employed as cost cutting scheme of the bureaucracy.
The general civil service subsystem is the third subsystem in our guide list. This operates under merit system concepts as the basis of promotion or hiring. They also enjoy the same security of tenure with the professional elites however this subsystem stresses rank in position rather than rank in person. Meaning the position itself vests your rank. If your ousted from your office so is your rank unlike the professional elite which adheres to rank in person meaning even though you are ousted or removed form the office you retain your rank such when the Captain of Philippine Army is removed as the Company Commander he still remains to be a Captain even though he was transferred to Canine Unit. In professional elite though there is diminution of the job from being a Company Commander to a Dog Trainer in Canine Unit the rank of Captain still remains. This is not the case in general civil service which adheres to rank in position. In the Philippines government employees were covered by the Civil Service Law experienced common problems such as incompetence. I believe that the civil service exams should be raised to an optimum level to increase competence of the civil servants.
The fourth subsystem is the unionized subsystem. These are the blue collar and white collar workers whose employment is based upon negotiated contracts between union representatives and managements within the jurisdiction they serve. This subsystem is inapplicable to the Philippines because our Labor Code states that it is inapplicable to government employees. Government employees generally are under the Civil Service Law. Plus, there is no employer – employee relations when it comes to government employees. The terms of employment by government employees are governed by law not by contracts. Important thing to note is that although government employees have the right to form and join unions they cannot however have a right to strike because their office is imbued by public functions which should not be suspended or prejudiced the people by strike or work stoppage.
Last subsystem is the contractual employees. Stillman define this as untenured workers whose employment with the government is directly or indirectly governed by various contractual agreements with individuals, private firms, non-profit organizations, and universities for rendering specific services for a limited specified time. They are not governed by civil service rules nor do they work under union contracts. Again this definition is inapplicable to the Philippines. Contractual employees still enjoys security of tenure during the contract exists. In the Philippines the contractual employees serves as a decoy for the appointer to employ ghost employees for corruption purposes. A lot of municipalities, cities, and government agencies have contractual employees. If examined carefully there are a lot contractual employees which should not be renewed employment due to redundancy. There are too much unnecessary contractual employees. The reason is plain politicking or giving favors for election purposes.