The Rise of a New Federalism: Federal-State Cooperation in the United States

By Jane Perry Clark | Go to book overview

CHAPTER IV
Cooperative Use of Government Personnel

WILLINGNESS to give casual and informal help soon becomes habit, and habit soon slips across the borderline into an understanding that a helping hand will be held out in all similar conditions. The line between services that are ephemeral and temporary and those that are part of the regular fabric of government is at best a thin one, not always easy to trace in the governmental pattern. It has become a usual procedure for one government not only to handle a temporary situation for the other but also to carry through a whole program under certain circumstances.

Often a government expands its own forces by gathering to it the other's resources, particularly administrative personnel. This is accomplished by using these officials or employees as agents to help handle a problem of common interest. The development has come to be of particular importance as a means by which state machinery may be assimilated to federal. This arrangement may obviate the necessity for a federal organization to become so enlarged that it stretches itself throughout the length and breadth of the whole United States in a Gargantuan attempt to handle its administrative problems. Such an arrangement may also eliminate the possibility of state activity which duplicates or lacks correlation with federal operations.

The fact that this plan may be said to be one of the most important contributions of the federal system in the United States does not imply that there are no drawbacks involved. A split in the interest and time of an official concerned with the administration of one law may mean that he carries out neither job well. Political pressure may be put upon him to perform the functions of one office more fully than those of the other. If either the state or the federal government discovers that its work can easily be implemented by the addition of the personnel of the other, it

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