Materials: - Maxwell School

PAF 410.4 Local Government Policy
Course Syllabus Fall 2015
Tuesdays: 3:30-6:15 pm
INSTRUCTOR: Nicholas Pirro
704 N. McBride St.
Syracuse, NY 13203
Office: 315 422 5311
Cell: 315 857 8929
[email protected]
COURSE GOAL: Introduce students to the structure of local government and how policies are made.
Communicating on project based activities.
Examining the role of research methods in the formulation, implementation and evaluation of policy.
Using statistics and graphs to help understand the information collected.
Understanding the ways in which governments work in carrying out their mission statements.
Thinking about career, political and citizenship goals.
This course supports the Policy Studies Major. It is intended to develop and test some of the following eight
goals of the Major.
 Apply problem solving to societal problems.
 Understand the implementation of public policy.
 Gather information in a variety of ways.
 Use computer programs to analyze quantitative data.
 Communicate effectively in oral and written venues.
 Work on individual projects.
 Work effectively on team projects
 Gain knowledge of societal problems, causes and policy in at least one specific problem area.
Examine the historical development and structure of local governments
 Counties
 Cities
 Villages
 Towns
 School Districts
Explore relationships between/among entities
 Historical relationships
 Current Relationships
Review state government structure plus links
Review federal government structure
Analyze how federal and state governments affect local government entities.
Where do they have most impact?
Examine the variations in local governments in New York State.
How do students’ local governments work with other municipalities?
Investigate the difficulties and conflicts among/between local government units
Identify how local government units could consolidate
 Identify and define the political factors required for government consolidation
 Examine successful endeavors
 List the benefits and costs of consolidation
 Examine failed efforts
 Review any current consolidation efforts
City Fiscal Issues – Student participation Class will be divided in groups.
 Students will assume a local government perspective and argue for their proposed solution.
 Students will also discuss how a consensus can be reached.
 Onondaga County plus links
 City of Syracuse
 New York State Government
 Federal Government
 Local government articles in the Post Standard
 Focus
 20/20
 Others as identified
READINGS: Patterns of Government in Onondaga County, Onondaga County Sales Tax Commission Report
2010, 2015 State of the City of Syracuse Report and 2015 State of Onondaga County Report.
REFERENCES: Onondaga County Highway Map, Onondaga County Directory of Local Officials,
Onondaga County Board of Election Map, others as identified
Students will attend classes and participate actively in class discussions. Students will discuss current issues on
a weekly basis. Students will make comparisons between Onondaga County and their home local government.
Students will interview local government officials/key informants and give report on results. Students will go
into the community and observe meetings. Students will be prepared to participate in a series of debates on the
distribution of sales tax. Students will complete team project presentation communicating ideas and findings.
Class Activities
Introduction and discussion Select teams I-81
Speaker from FOCUS
Chuckie Holstein, Executive Director FOCUS
City government structure
Mayor Stephanie Miner
*papers due -2 pages
Patterns Book
Patterns chapter 5
*local government paper due
Village and Town government structure
Speakers from village and town to be named.
Patterns chapters 1,3,4
County Government structure
County Executive Joanie Mahoney
Patterns chapter 2,6
I-81 Challenge
The Challenges of Consolidation
Discuss challenges & concerns
Case studies of failures
Case studies of successes
Discuss policy decisions leading to success
Judicial Presentation of local courts
Pick 2 teams for final exam.
Topic to be determined
read 1-81 challenge
New York State Commission on
Government Effectiveness Report
Case Studies: Liverpool PD, Solvay
PD with Syracuse PD
Manlius Police
911 Organization
Forensic Science Center
Clay/County Sheriff merger
Develop model for proposing mergers,
consolidations, shared service agreements
Patterns, Chapter 9
*paper due on changes to your local
Discussion of solutions to the City of Syracuse fiscal problems. Select teams for final exams.
Visit to DESTINY
District Attorney
Thanksgiving week
911 center visit
Final Presentations and wrap up. 1/2 hr per team
3:30 - 4:00 Final prep
4:00 - 4:30 Team 5
4:30 - 5:00 Team 10
5:00 – 6:00 wrap-up
This is an important requirement. You should attend all classes arriving on time. Your instructor
will take attendance. Turn all cell phones off during every class. In case of a phone emergency
notify your instructor at the beginning of class. You should contribute to class discussions and be
interactive during presentations. Participation includes attending team meetings as required to
complete group assignments. Students should submit all work by the required deadlines and come
to class prepared to discuss all assigned readings/projects. The expectation is that you will be
fully involved in all aspects of the team project
Academic Integrity
Syracuse University sets high standards for academic integrity. Those standards are supported and enforced by students,
including those who serve as academic integrity hearing panel members and hearing officers. The presumptive sanction
for a first offense is course failure, accompanied by the transcript notation “Violation of the Academic Integrity Policy.” The
standard sanction for a first offense by graduate students is suspension or expulsion. Students should review the Office of
Academic Integrity online resource “Twenty Questions and Answers About the Syracuse University Academic Integrity
Policy” and confer with instructors about course-specific citation methods, permitted collaboration (if any), and rules for
examinations. The Policy also governs the veracity of signatures on attendance sheets and other verification of
participation in class activities. Additional guidance for students can be found in the Office of Academic Integrity resource:
‘What does academic integrity mean?’
____ Check if you will use Turnitin in this class. If so, include the following statement:
This class will be using Turnitin, a plagiarism prevention system. The ease of using the Internet has made it very easy for
students to “cut and paste” material into papers that they are writing without proper citation. I will submit all/some/ papers
that you write in this class to Turnitin, a service that identifies “matched text.” I will then interpret the originality report,
based on your writing capability and writing style. In this class, you will also be given the opportunity to submit your own
papers to Turnitin to check that all sources you have used are properly acknowledged and cited. Note that all submitted
papers will be included as source documents in the reference database, solely for the purpose of detecting
plagiarism of such papers.
Disability-Related Accommodations
If you believe that you need accommodations for a disability, please contact the Office of Disability Services(ODS),, located in Room 309 of 804 University Avenue, or call (315) 443-4498 for an appointment
to discuss your needs and the process for requesting accommodations. ODS is responsible for coordinating disabilityrelated accommodations and will issue students with documented Disabilities Accommodation Authorization Letters, as
appropriate. Since accommodations may require early planning and generally are not provided retroactively, please
contact ODS as soon as possible.
Religious Observances Policy
SU religious observances policy, found at, recognizes the
diversity of faiths represented among the campus community and protects the rights of students, faculty, and staff to
observe religious holidays according to their tradition. Under the policy, students are provided an opportunity to make up
any examination, study, or work requirements that may be missed due to are religious observance provided they notify
their instructors before the end of the second week of classes. For fall and spring semesters, an online notification
process is available through MySlice/StudentServices/Enrollment/MyReligiousObservances from the first day of class until
the end of the second week of class.