Chapter 15: Government at Work: The Bureaucracy
Section 1: The Executive Departments and the Independent Agencies
Chapter 15, Section 2: Electronic Guided Reading and Review
Chapter 15, Section 2: Electronic Assignment
Chapter 15, Section 2: Quiz Preparation
A. The Cabinet
1. The head of each department is know as the secretary, except for the Justice Department which is headed by the attorney general.
2. Department secretaries are appointed by the President with the approval of the Senate.
3. Together, the department secretaries serve as the cabinet. There are 14 cabinet departments.
4. Cabinet departments usually are organized into subunits based on geography.
B. What are Independent Agencies?
2. Four major reasons explain why these agencies exist outside of the cabinet department structure
a. Some agencies are independent because their functions did not fit well into any of the existing departments.
b. Some are independent to protect their officials from political pressures.
c. Some are independent to make them more responsive to interest-group pressures.
d. Some are independent because of the peculiar and sensitive nature of their functions.
3. There are three types of independent agencies: independent executive agencies, independent regulatory commissions, and government corporations. The Office of Personnel Management and the Civil Rights Commission are examples of independent agencies which are supposed to be free from political influence.
C. The Independent Executive Agencies
1. Most of the independent agencies fall into this category. Examples of independent executive agencies are the Civil Rights Commission and the Peace Corps.
2. They are organized under a single administrator and have subunits that operate on a regional basis.
D. The Independent Regulatory Commissions
1. These commissions are created to regulate important aspects of the nation's economy.
2. The 11 independent regulatory commissions operate largely outside presidential control.
a. The members of the commissions are appointed by the President and approved by the Senate for long, staggered terms.
b. These boards and commissions must be made up of members of both parties, and members cannot be removed for political reasons.
3. They have quasi-legislative and quasi-judicial powers.
4. These regulatory bodies possess all three powers - executive, legislative, and judicial - and are exceptions to the principle of separation of powers.
5. The power of the regulatory commissions is controversial and has been decreased under Presidents Reagan and Bush. [They believed in a weaker federal government]
E. The Government Corporations
1. These corporations are within the executive branch, and they are under the control of the President.
2. Their top officers are appointed by the President with Senate confirmation; all of their employees are public officials. The Postal Service and the Tennessee Valley Authority are examples of government corporations.
3. Some controversy exists as to whether government corporations are compatible with the democratic government's requirement that all public agencies be accountable to the public. Nonetheless, the advantage most often claimed for the use of government corporations is their flexibility.
Copyright: McClenaghan, William A., Magruder's American Government. Needham, MA: Prentice Hall, 1996
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