Nixon's Super-Secretaries: The Last Grand Presidential Reorganization Effort

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Texas A&M University Press, Aug 15, 2010 - History - 288 pages
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The Watergate scandal of 1973 claimed many casualties, political and otherwise. Along with many personal reputations and careers, President Richard Nixon’s bold attempt to achieve a sweeping reorganization of the domestic portion of the executive branch was also pulled into the vortex.
Now, Mordecai Lee examines Nixon’s reorganization, finding it notable for two reasons. First, it was sweeping in intent and scope, representing a complete overhaul in the way the president would oversee and implement his domestic agenda. Second, the president instituted the reorganization administratively—by appointment of three “super-secretaries”—without congressional approval. The latter aspect generated ire among some members of Congress, notably Sam Ervin, a previously little-known senator from North Carolina who chaired the Government Operations Committee and, soon after, the Senate’s Select Committee on Presidential Campaign Activities—known to the public as “the Watergate Committee.”
Asserting that Nixon’s reorganization effort represents a significant event in the evolution of the managerial presidency and public administration, Nixon’s Super-Secretaries presents the most comprehensive historical narrative to date concerning this reorganization attempt. The author has utilized previously untapped original and primary sources to provide unprecedented detail on the inner workings, intentions, and ultimate demise of Nixon’s ambitious plan to reorganize the sprawling federal bureaucracy.

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1 Introduction
2 Planning November 1972January 1973
3 Launch JanuaryFebruary1973
4 In Operation JanuaryApril 1973
5 Counsellor for HumanResourcesCaspar WeinbergerThe SuperSecretary as Assistant President
6 Counsellor for CommunityDevelopment James LynnThe SuperSecretary as Presidential Coordinator
7 Counsellor for NaturalResources Earl ButzThe Dutiful and Passive SuperSecretary
8 Demise AprilMay 1973
9 Legacy and Significance

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About the author (2010)

MORDECAI LEE is a professor of governmental affairs at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee. He is the author of Institutionalizing Congress and the Presidency: The U.S. Bureau of Efficiency, 1916–1933 (Texas A&M University Press, 2006), among other titles. His PhD in public administration is from Syracuse University.

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