The Political Process: Executive Bureau-Legislantive Committee Relations

By J. Leiper Freeman | Go to book overview

CHAPTER FIVE
Patterns of Interaction and Reciprocal Influence within the Subsystem (cont'd)

Interactions between Bureau Leaders and Groups

Bureau leaders so often take the initiative in drafting and proposing policy changes that they must come to the committees of Congress buttressed by the favorable sentiments of significant groups represented in the subsystem, or at least of the spokesmen for these groups. The groups usually most intimately concerned with the affairs of a subsystem by virtue of their internal relationship with the bureau are its employees and its socalled clientele. Though the two are distinguishable, they often have much in common. In the first place, both depend upon the bureau: the employee for his livelihood and for other job-related satisfactions and the client for services, goods, or direction. Both in some measure are concerned about the organization's rules, goals, and resources. They are further likely to share certain loyalties, to have established certain particular mutual friendships, and perhaps to have identified with common symbols special to that area of policy. Both groups will "know the lingo" of the organization, just as veterans came to know quite a lot about the certificates of eligibility which are handled by Veterans Administration employees, or as both farm leaders and Agriculture Department personnel know a lot about parity and price supports. Finally, it is often the case that many employees of a bureau were, or are, clients as well.

Of course, neither the interests of clientele nor those of employees are uniform, and most bureau leaders are content to get major segments, or perhaps only the most vocal segments, of each group, to cohere in support of the views which they put forth. This amount of employee and clientele support is well-nigh the crucial minimum for a bureau chief's success in dealing with committees. If he seems to lead and to represent these two groups, his case is likely to carry considerable weight with committee members, other things being equal, because the legislators are often inclined to view the employees and the clients as considerable molders of what may be called the grassroots sentiment in their constituencies as well as people who "know what it's all about." The employees are regarded as molders of sentiment partially because they represent the official side of the subsystem in the field. They often can deliberately help (or not help) friends of

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