Its large ministries, autonomous agencies, and public
corporations made the Dominican government by far the
employer in the country. By dint of numbers and its
the capital city, the bureaucracy constituted a major
group in its own right.
The Dominican Republic's ineffectual civil service laws
government employees subject to wholesale turnovers with
virtually every change of government. The system worked
the basis of patronage--with government positions given
return for personal and political loyalty and
the basis of merit.
In an effort to protect themselves, government workers
formed unions. However, their activities and effectiveness
generally severely circumscribed by the country's
civil service laws. Some unions, such as those for
employees of the state-run sugar industry, had themselves
highly politicized, usually in a leftist direction.
clashes occurred between these unions and the police.
Dominated by patronage and rife with corruption, the
service was neither efficient nor responsive. Various
been made over the years to reform this vast, cumbersome
bureaucracy. Yet politicians often hesitated to tamper
because the patronage positions provided by the
constituted one of the main sources of their power. For
reason, they resisted the privatization of the many
and cumbersome state-owned enterprises. Political leaders
recognized the inefficiencies of these bloated
they also appreciated the effectiveness of buying the
friends, allies, and even political foes, by putting them
Data as of December 1989