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Case Political Clearance for Mr. Pleake


CasePolitical Clearance for Mr. Pleake

CasePolitical Clearance for Mr. Pleake

Thiscase study involves conflicts among several values related to theconcept of merit in public personnel management. Identify the valuesimplied and state the nature of the conflicts.

Thereare various values involved in the case in relation to merit inpublic personnel management. The employees who are hired on the basisof their merit of qualification by the government are encouraged tocontribute 2% of their salary to the party that the governor belongs.In this case, the values that conflict are political accountability,representativeness, managerial flexibility, executive leadership andmerit or what is referred to us the neutral competence. In thegovernment arena or the public sector, every value needs to bemaximized. However, the maximization of one value jeopardizes theachievement of other values hence creating a conflict (Halligan,2004). In this case, the values compete against each other in thepublic sector. Whereas employees are supposed to be promoted andretained in their positions based on their performance. The Indianastate employees association is against the firing of Back due to hischoice of not contributing to the Governor’s political party.

Itis evident that the patronage employees are subject to the stategovernment and must abide by the wishes of the ruling party. In thiscase, Jewell Pleake is a victim of the control that the RepublicanParty that is in power. State agencies such as the Indian StateHighway Commission are government agencies, which have a group ofexecutives to manage and control. However, there is a conflict due tothe influence of the political party in power, which manages theagency. Even if there is an independent public personnel managementbody, there is influence from the political party. The employees mustdance to the tune of the ruling political party (Halligan, 2004). Itis clear from the case that Jewell failed to contribute 2% of hissalary, which a voluntary contribution, but lost his job as aconsequence.

Whatare the governor’s conflicting objectives in this case study? Howdo they relate to its outcome?

Itis critical to point out from the onset that the employee fired isfired by the party that the governor belongs. It is therefore clearthat the governor has the final authority on the retention ofemployees and whereas he has stated numerous times that the retentionof employees should be based on performance and quality of work, hisactions in this case seem to differ. William Lloyd, Governor Bowen’sexecutive assistant had the prior knowledge of the firing of Mr.Pleake, which implies that the governor knew (Klingner, 2010).However, the governor did not act to correct the situation. It isclear that the governor has the final authority hence the need by thesecretary of the Indiana State Employees Association Inc. to contactthe governor on the issue. It goes without saying that the governorbelongs to the Republican Party to which the contributions are beingmade by the patronage employees. Therefore, the governor’sobjective must be that the employees should pay the 2% contributiontowards his party.

Thestate chairman of the Republican Party was also quoted saying thatthe employees who fail to contribute the 2% to the Republican Partyshould face the suck. This becomes clearly evident when Mr. Pleake isfired under the instructions of the State Chairman of the RepublicanParty, Mr. Tom Milligan. Interesting though is the fact that thegovernor does not reinstate the fired state employee even after thematter was brought to his attention by the executive secretary of theIndiana State Employees Association Inc., Mr. Charles Eble (Klingner,2010). The governor only send a circular reinstating his stand thatretention and promotion of employees should be solely based on theirperformance and the quality of their work. This creates a conflictwithin the governor’s objectives of ensuring that employees areretained if their performance is optimum and the firing of Mr. Pleakefor his failure to contribute 2% of his salary to the RepublicanParty. If the governor had acted through his executive assistant, hewould have prevented the occurrence. It is also clear that the statehighway employees were being harassed and intimated and the governorwould have acted to prevent the escalation of the vice (Klingner,2010).

Whatis the proper balance between political responsiveness and expertizein determining suitability of public employment?

Itis imperative to ensure that public servants are hired according tothe expertise that they possess regarding the job in question.Whereas ruling political parties may seek to offer employmentopportunities to their supporters, it is vital to ensure that theemployees have the desired qualifications for the job. During the1970s, it is evident that public employment was largely influencedand controlled by the political parties (Massey, 2012). However,there should be a balance between political accountability andexpertise for the job. Employees in the public sector should performtheir duties according to the demands of the job and not according tothe wishes of the political party. In other words, the politicalparties should keep aloof matters to do with public employment.

Althoughemployees in the 1970s were required to contribute 2% of their salaryto the ruling party, the contribution should remain strictlyvoluntary. This case presents a political influence that goes toofar. Public employment should be based on the knowledge, skills andabilities of the candidates, but not on the political angle that acandidate leans (Klingner, 2010).


Massey,A. (2012). InternationalHandbook on Civil Service Systems.Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Pub.

Halligan,J. (2004). CivilService Systems in Anglo-American Countries.Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Pub

Klingner,D. E., Nalbandian, J., &amp Llorens, J. (2010). Publicpersonnel management: Contexts and strategies.New York: Longman.