Political Appointees Are Crippling The Civil Service

Your article "A skilled promoter--or just a Ron Brown crony?" (Top of the News, Feb. 21) jumped out at me. I worked in export promotion for the U.S. Commerce Dept. when it had no political appointees at the secretarial level. When I left the department, there were a total of 23 political appointees at that level.

The politicizing of export promotion, which has been typical of all government, closes off high-level positions to which the career civil service worker could one day aspire. Instead, it brings in people who, for the most part, are unqualified for the positions to which they are appointed.

These conditions have reduced morale within the civil service sector beyond imagination. The public knows very little of the practice of politicizing the government, and the critics largely ignore its malignant effect. Forget waste, fraud, and abuse so often cited as a problem within government. The real problem is the proliferation of incompetent "managers."

Not until 80% of these positions are eliminated will we have a chance for effective government. The change will result only from a revolution at the ballot box, such as the Ross Perot phenomenon. Until then, the outcomes of Presidential elections have little meaning for the operations of government.

Ben Mathes


American Export Assn.


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