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Letter to the Chairman, Civil Service Commission, on the Need for Quality and Excellence in Government.

November 30, 1965

[Released November 30, 1965. Dated November 27, 1965]

Dear Mr. Chairman:

I believe firmly that our merit system is the keystone of good government. Your plan for modernizing and improving staffing in government clearly illustrates the flexibility of our system and the potential still open for affirmative changes in ongoing programs through critical review and imaginative thinking.

In the past year we have made more progress in enacting creative legislation in the interests of all the people than in any other time in the history of our Nation. All of us know that much remains to be done. We have a tremendous job ahead in the coming months and years to make sure that what Congress has passed will be carried forward efficiently, with dispatch, and with economy and good management. We have to make sure that the people get a full measure of value for every dollar authorized by the Congress.

I want real achievement. This will require tighter management, more efficient organization, better methods and equipment, and concentration of resources on high priority activities. I know that the key to success in achieving our goals is in the quality of the career men and women in the Federal service.

I am deeply concerned that we continue to take advantage of the flexibility of the merit system to update methods and procedures to attract capable people who can translate our new programs into action. I want to make sure that we have a system that will challenge each employee to work at his maximum capability and will identify those who have high potential for movement into jobs of greater responsibility in their own or other agencies.

The concern I have for quality and excellence in government is a concern that all members of the Cabinet, heads of agencies and managers at all levels share. I am, therefore, pleased that the new network of Interagency Boards will be a cooperative endeavor in which all the participating agencies share in the cost of running the system under the control and guidance of the Civil Service Commission.

In view of my continuing personal interest in improving our services and communications with the public, I am particularly pleased that each Interagency Board will have a one-stop job information center so that interested citizens will not have to go from agency to agency to learn about Federal job opportunities. This is an excellent beginning. Eventually there should be a central information office in every major metropolitan area where citizens can get information, not only about Federal job opportunities, but about all functions of the Federal Government.

This is a high priority program which has my full endorsement and I shall look to you to provide the leadership for implementation at the earliest possible date. I am sure you will enjoy the full support of heads of departments and agencies in the pursuit of our common goal for quality and excellence in the Federal service.



[The Honorable John Macy, Chairman, Civil Service Commission, Washington, D.C. 20415]

Note: The text of the letter was released at Austin, Tex.

Lyndon B. Johnson, Letter to the Chairman, Civil Service Commission, on the Need for Quality and Excellence in Government. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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