25 Years of Civil Service Reform

The 1978 CSRA established several agencies including the MSPB. MSPB has issued an anniversary newsletter celebrating some of its past achievements.

The Civil Service Reform Act of 1978 was one of the last major “reforms” of the federal civil service structure. The law– championed by President Jimmy Carter and AFGE’s National President, Ken Blaylock–established OPM, the MSPB, the FLRA and the Office of Special Counsel.

The MSPB is tooting its own horn with its release of the Silver Anniversary Edition of the Issues of Merit newsletter. The newsletter is a compilation of the topics the MSPB considers to have been the most important in preserving merit in the federal workforce over the past 25 years of the agency’s existence.

Topics discussed in the special issue of the newsletter include the “rule of three” in federal hiring; merit principles surveys of the civil service; sexual harassment in the workplace; removing poor performers in government; federal vacancy announcements; and changing federal personnel offices. (You can see FedSmith’s coverage on some of these articles from the links on the left hand side of the page.)

The newsletter is an interesting historical compilation of events that have impacted the federal workplace. Those who have been around a few years will recall the drive to eliminate the federal personnel manual and to get rid of large numbers of federal personnel specialists (both of which were accomplished) and various calls to make it easier to fire incompetent federal employees (which has not been accomplished).

The newsletter does not delve into MSPB decisions. That would be a more interesting report for those who take an interest in the legal machinery and twists and turns of how civil service law is interpreted. This special issue newsletter is a good overview of the broader issues many federal employees have seen in recent years.

About the Author

Ralph Smith has several decades of experience working with federal human resources issues. He has written extensively on a full range of human resources topics in books and newsletters and is a co-founder of two companies and several newsletters on federal human resources. Follow Ralph on Twitter: @RalphSmith47