Free To Choose Network | Turmoil & Triumph: The George Shultz Years
Turmoil & Triumph: The George Shultz Years
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Office of Management and Budget
OMB: A Bureau Reborn
Richard Nixon believed that the organization and machinery of government made a difference. In implementing the Ash Council's recommendation to reorganize [Bureau of Budget] into the Office of Management and Budget (which was almost named the Office of Executive Management), he decided that management should become a major concern of the Bureau. But Nixon's approach to management stemmed from his antibureaucratic strategy and his distrust of the civil service. He wanted to bring the agencies of the executive branch under tighter White House control. His vision of management became one of presidential control of the government, particularly during his second term.

On the surface, the intention of Reorganization Plan No. 2 of 1970 was to separate policy from administration. "The Domestic Council will be primarily concerned with what we do; the Office of Management and Budget will be primarily concerned with how we do it, and how well we do it." Frederick Mosher points out the irony that what in fact happened after the reorganization was that the distinction between the roles of policy making in the White House and administration in OMB were further blurred: John Ehrlichman, the head of the Domestic Council increasingly called upon career members of the OMB staff to work on special projects, and George Shultz, director of OMB, took an office in the West Wing. He was primarily an advisor to the president rather than a manager of OMB.

OMB: Professionalism, Politicization, and the Presidency," in Executive Leadership in Anglo-American Systems, edited by Colin Campbell and Margaret J. Wyszomirski (Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1991) pp. 195-218.

In 1970, Time reports on Nixon’s appointment of George Shultz to head the newly organized Office of Management and Budget (OMB).

“Rapidly following up on his transfer of Robert Finch from the Department of Health, Education and Welfare to the White House, Nixon last week drafted another Cabinet officer, Labor Secretary George Shultz, to head the Office of Management and Budget, which comes to life in the White House on July 1. The creation of the OMB, together with a new Domestic Affairs Council, had been announced in March. Now Nixon's choice of Shultz to head the OMB, together with his transfer of Finch, makes the organizational changes more important than they appeared to be at first. The other personnel shifts: Caspar Weinberger, chairman of the Federal Trade Commission and former state finance director of California, joins the OMB as Shultz's deputy.”

Shultz went on to become Secretary of the Treasury under President Nixon.

Seal of the Office of Management and Budget

Seal of the Office of Management and Budget