Cabinet Recruitement Member


In deciding upon a single man rather than a collective executive the founding father ensured that the American cabinet would become a subordinate advisory body to the President rather than the main organ of executive decision making. The constitution does not mention the cabinet by name at all and its existence rests purely on convention. The document merely says that The President may require the advice in writing of the principle officer in its department about their respective duties. Unlike the British cabinet, American departmental secretaries are the president’s subordinate and or not colleges with whom he has work for many years in legislatures. The concepts of responsibility do not exist; cabinet members owe their loyalty to the President individually. Moreover, being a cabinet secretary is not necessarily seen as the pinnacle of a political career as it is in the British system[1].

Appointment of the cabinet

The selection of the heads of the executive department one of the first action a President – elect takes before his inauguration, and it therefore receive great public attention as the choices give an early indication of the style and tone to fill the top posts in his government. The individual do not necessarily have to be in the same party as himself and there is no need for the appointees to have held any political posts before. Many cabinet secretaries are selected for their specialist expertise or administrative capabilities and may well have previously worked in industry, commerce or the academic world.

The qualification of cabinet recruitment is including the senate approval of cabinet appointment which is normally given after committee hearings. Some of example in which the cabinet nominees from president have not been given passed by senate approval is when president Bush suffered a severe setback when john tower became the first cabinet nominee to be rejected since the senate rejected Lewis Strauss as Eisenhower’s commerce secretary in 1959. This means that there are some limitations on presidential choice. First, many members of congress are not prepare to give up their seat and seniority in the legislature to take a temporary job in the executive branch, although president Clinton was able to persuade a number of senior members of congress to join his cabinet in 1993[2].

The use of the cabinet

Each president can use the cabinet as he likes; he can call it frequently in formal meetings, such as Dwight Eisenhower favored, or he can have only irregular meeting, work with fuzzy lines of responsibility, and deal with department heads on an individual basis as John F. Kennedy preferred. For example, there is the difference presidency is that Reagan has used his system so that the cabinet member are feel closer to him than they do to their department. And he gives them a lot of opportunity to remember that. This means president often pick their closest adviser from person familiar to them or highly recommended by those who are. Positions less close to the president such as cabinet members are mainly held by strangers. As President Reagan articulated some guidelines he used to select top governmental personal.

“My basic rule is that I want people who do not want a job in government. I want people who are already successful that they would regard a government job as a step down, and not step up. I do not want empire builders; I want people who will be the first to tell me if their jobs are unnecessary. Out there in the private sector there are an awful lot of brains and talent in people who have not learned all the things you cannot do. (We will have) a new restructuring of the presidential cabinet that will make cabinet officer the managers of the national administration – not captives of the bureaucracy or special interest in departments that they are supposed to direct[3].”

The advantages and disadvantages of recruitment system

The American method of staffing the administration is based on the unique tradition of the presidency: position of party patronage existing alongside a large prominent bureaucracy appointed on the basis of competitive examination. This piecemeal evolution has, of course led to problems, but at the same time the system recruitment has proved to be functional within the diffuse executive branch.

The president is able to receive political advice from people he trust and who are committed to the administration programs. He is able to influence policy making and execution by appointing senior advisers and some middle management position in each department. On the other hand, it can be argued that the system of recruitment causes friction between the permanent civil servant and the “outsiders” who are immediately placed in senior position while knowing little or nothing practical working of the department.


The process of it is a sub-process, related to every point to the American political system as a whole, and revealing something of reactive nature of the Cabinet as an institution. The process finds its underlying consistency in the fundamental pluralism of American Politics. Until such time as the basic contours of the system change, Cabinet appointment will continue to frustrate those who seek a neatly rational scheme of selection to which they can apply equally well-structured systems prediction and judgment.


Baumgartner, Frank R. 1998. Basic Interest: The Imprtance of Groups in Politics and in Political Science. New Jersey : Princeton University Press

Grant, Alan. 2004. The American Political Process. New York : Routledge Publishing

Keefe, William., Henry Abraham., William Flanigan., Charles Jones., Morris Ogul., John Spanier. 1983. American Democracy: Intstitution, Politics, and Policies. Illinois: The Dorsey Press

[1] Grant, 2004. p. 219.

[2] Grant, 2004. p.220.

[3] Keef, 1983. p.350


About Renny Candradewi Puspitarini

Lecturer at Panca Marga University Faculty of Social Science and Political Science Department of Public Administration

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