Knowing Your Government: The Chief Of Staff’s Job Explained In Plain English

white-houseSince at least 1979, all presidents have found the need for a chief of staff, who typically oversees the actions of the White House staff, manages the president’s schedule, and decides who is allowed to meet with the president. Because of these duties, the chief of staff has at various times been labeled “The Gatekeeper”, or “the power behind the throne”.

The responsibilities of the chief of staff are both managerial and advisory and can include the following

  • Select key White House staff and supervise them
  • Structure the White House staff system
  • Control the flow of people into the Oval Office
  • Manage the flow of information
  • Protect the interests of the president
  • Negotiate with Congress, other members of the executive branch, and extragovernmental political groups to implement the president’s agenda
  • Advise the president on various issues

It is possible that a powerful chief of staff with a “hands-off” president (who decides not to become involved in the minutiae of government), can become a de factoprime minister.

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