That Good Ol’ Patronage System!

By John J. O’Grady, President, Local 704, American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE Local 704), Chicago, Illinois

The word “patronage” is derived from the Latin word patronus for patronPatronage was the distinctive relationship in ancient Roman society between the patronus (patron) and his client.  The relationship was hierarchical, but obligations were mutual. The patronus was the protector, sponsor, and benefactor of the client; the technical term for this protection was patrocinium.   Benefits a patron might confer include legal representation in court, loans of money, influencing business deals or marriages, and supporting a client’s candidacy for political office.  In return, the client was expected to offer his services to his patron as needed.

The Federal bureaucracy in the years after the Civil War involved extensive patronage in selecting officials and supervising their work.  That system had evolved in the early nineteenth century, and relied on the well-known political adage, “to the victor belong the spoils.”  When a Democrat was elected President, all of the Republican appointees were swept out of office, and vice versa.  The idea of rotation in office caused by election of a candidate from the other party was thought to be “democratic.” Continue reading “That Good Ol’ Patronage System!”

Hoyer casts ‘no’ vote in break with Dem leaders

December 12, 2013, 07:26 pm

Hoyer casts ‘no’ vote in break with Dem leaders

By Mike Lillis and Erik Wasson

 

Breaking with his fellow Democratic leaders, Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) on Thursday voted against a bipartisan deal to finance the government for the next two years.

The minority whip conceded that the controversial measure was “better than the alternative” of not reaching a deal, but he said he also wanted to make a statement that the package “does not deal with the fundamental issue of long-term fiscal stability.”

The Maryland lawmaker, who represents thousands of current and retired federal workers, acknowledged that his opposition came despite his role in negotiating some of the details of the final bill. Continue reading “Hoyer casts ‘no’ vote in break with Dem leaders”

US Congress cross-party budget deal reached

BBC

US Congress cross-party budget deal reached

Congressman Paul Ryan (left) and Senator Patty Murray (right)
Senator Patty Murray (right) and Congressman Paul Ryan (left) were picked to head a cross-party budget committee in the wake of an October government shutdown

A cross-party Congressional budget committee convened after an October government shutdown has reached an agreement to fund federal services.

The proposed deal finances the government for two years and reduces the federal deficit by $23bn (£14bn).

It also avoids another government shutdown on 15 January when government funding is scheduled to run out. Continue reading “US Congress cross-party budget deal reached”

Senator Tim Kaine Supports Federal Employees

“I strongly support the goal of a compromise on the budget that allows Congress to repeal or replace the across-the-board, nonsensical cuts due to sequestration. But I strongly believe we can achieve this goal without targeting federal employees who have already been impacted by multiple deficit reduction efforts in the past.”

Sen. Tim Kaine. Read more of his letter to Sen. Murray and Rep. Ryan here: http://bit.ly/1f2ieHr

Cardin expresses outrage over fed worker cuts

Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., on Capitol Hill.
Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., on Capitol Hill. (Getty Images )
December 06, 2013|By John Fritze | The Baltimore Sun

Sen. Ben Cardin sent a letter to Democratic Senate leaders Thursday (December 06, 2013 Senator Cardin Letter to Senator Reid re Budget Agreement Federal Workers) expressing outrage over reports that a budget deal developing in Congress may include further cuts to the federal workforce — the latest member of Maryland’s delegation to push back on the possibilities of those cuts.

Lawmakers in states with a high concentration of federal employees are reacting to rumors that negotiators are considering a 5.5 percentage point increase in how much federal employees would contribute toward retirement plans. Maryland is home to some 300,000 federal workers. Continue reading “Cardin expresses outrage over fed worker cuts”