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The Foundation of Merit

The Foundation of Merit

Public Service in American Democracy

The first systematic examination of the federal civil service in nearly forty years, The Foundation of Merit analyzes the historical development of the civil service in the context of the political and democratic environment that is central to its effectiveness and legitimacy. Patricia Ingraham describes theincremental and disjointed growth of the federal civil service and explains how, and why, it came to be a system with control in the wrong places, with discretion in the wrong places, and why—in its current form—it has little hope of meeting the enormous challenges of the next century.

The book concludes with an examination of the need for reform, the challenges that have shaped that need, and the lessons from the past that should guide the reforms of the future.