The Allocation of Excepted Political Positions: What and Whose Executive Priorities Do They Serve?

William F. West, Ohbet Cheon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Scholars have only begun to examine the roles played by non-career SES and Schedule C personnel in managing the bureaucracy. This, despite the fact that these individuals help to establish, communicate, and implement policy, and despite the broad discretion presidential administrations have in appointing them, defining their duties, and allocating their positions across the federal government. As an effort to redress this neglect, we first provide an overview of what lower-level political personnel do and of the processes and constraints that determine how they are distributed. We then examine how changes in presidential administration have affected the allocation of political SES and Schedule C positions across departments. Although dramatic infusions of these personnel into some agencies can be tied to policy objectives, they appear to be idiosyncratic and driven more by the preferences of agency leaders than by the White House. As such, they provide little support for positive theories that frame the administrative presidency in terms of centralized strategic planning.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)446-470
Number of pages25
JournalCongress and the Presidency
Volume46
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations

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