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Is Making Any Fundamental Change in the Civil Service Dangerous?

Is Making Any Fundamental Change in the Civil Service Dangerous?


CommentaryIs Making Any Fundamental Change in the Civil Service Dangerous? SAGE Publications, Inc.1999DOI: 10.1177/0734371X9901900107 Montgomery Van Wart Iowa State University was delighted recently to see in the fall issue of the Review of Public Personnel Admmistration an article addressing the important topic of civil service system reform, especially since it is by two distinguished scholars. The article is entitled "Remvent- ing Government, The New Public Management and Civil Service Systems in International Perspectme: The Danger of Throwing the Baby Out with the Bath Water" (Kearney & Hays, 1998). Although I appreciated the effort and many of their points, I thought they came perilously close to throwmg the baby out themselves. Of course the "baby" they are concerned with throwing out is civil service (a very old baby indeed) and the one with which I was concerned was the new public management. Their form, then, is that of a classical "apology," an essay strongly advocating one side of an argument, largely at the expense of the other side. Not surprisingly, their vigorous defense of traditional management practices, values, and civil service systems ends up bemg a reverse image of the overly enthusiastic reform advocates who imply that the new
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