Public Administration

and the Invention of American Local Government
Florida Government Finance Officers Association
- 2013
Fear of too much power
The Founding Fathers sought to prevent the
concentration of power in a strong national
(centralized) government. States are used as a
counterweight to that power.
“A fondness for power is implanted,
in most men, and it is natural to
abuse it, when acquired.”
Alexander Hamilton,
The Farmer Refuted, 1775
According to former Vice President Al Gore:
“America was born angry at government” in reference to
fears of strong, centralized government -- “we were so
sick of the English Crown we quit colonialism before
we had something else lined up.”
States “laboratories” of democracy
laboratories of experimentation
• States are great laboratories of
experimentation. Much of what
is in the U.S. Constitution was
first tried by states.
• States originally had
constitutions after the American
Revolution and the federal
government - the federal
constitution copied them with
bicameralism, three branches of
government, independent
• The Bill of Rights was an idea
borrowed from state
• States had eliminated slavery
one by one and then the U.S.
Constitution did.
• States had given women
suffrage, some of them, and
then the U.S. Constitution did.
Akhil Reed Amar
Law professor, Yale University
Diane Rehm Show, NPR
September 13, 2012
James Madison
Federalist No. 58, 1788
“An elective despotism was
not the government we
fought for; but one in which
the powers of government
should be so divided and
balanced among the several
bodies of magistracy as that
no one could transcend their
legal limits without being
effectually checked and
restrained by the others. “
Federalism is a widely recognized feature of American
• It features the national government with state
governments existing independently of each other in the
same territory while commanding loyalties of the same
individuals as citizens of both the state and nation.
• Local governments are creations of states.
Study of
Political Science
Woodrow Wilson
Professional administrators
• Wilson sought relief from spoils system and politicians’
abuse of government.
• Coincides with enactment of merit hiring and civil service
reforms – Pendleton Act of 1883 requires federal hiring be
based on merit rather than political ties.
• His essay is considered a landmark feature of the study
and practice of public administration.
Trained bureaucracy
• A trained bureaucracy would bring expertise to the job
and have the will to oppose popular opinion when
• He argued that “the field of administration is a field of
business. It is removed from the hurry and strife of
• Wilson links civil service reforms as only the beginning to
a “fuller administrative reform.”
Tammany Hall
• New York City’s Tammany Hall is the poster child for corruption
and poor governance.
• William “Boss” Tweed ran the political system and thus, ran
New York City and New York State – ward boss and patronage
• Power surged in mid-1800s with immigrant arrivals until early to
mid 1900s - FDR stripped federal patronage from the
“machine” thus ending the corruption.
“The way to have power is to take it.”
Reform movement
• The reform model embraces council-manager
government, non-partisan ballots, at-large elections,
separation of municipal elections from state and national
elections, merit systems and the democratic ballot
processes of initiative, referendum and recall petition.
3 main goals
• Behind these three goals – elimination of corruption,
greater efficiency and more democracy – lay a basic
presupposition regarding the nature of city government.
• Reformers hoped the concern for the greater good would
outweigh competition with partial and private interests.
• Thus, governance of cities is increasingly influenced by
bureaucratic independence and expertise.
• “Jefferson County, Alabama, filed the biggest U.S.
municipal bankruptcy after an agreement among elected
officials and investors to refinance $3.1 billion in sewer
bonds fell apart…”
Strong mayor
Council-manager form
Basically 2 types of local government in the United States:
• Council-manager
• Strong mayor
Florida examples:
• Tampa, St. Petersburg, Orlando have strong mayors
• Zephyrhills, Temple Terrace, Sarasota have city manager
• Larger the city, more likely to have strong mayor form –
New York City, Chicago, Philadelphia,
Los Angeles are prominent examples.
• Dallas and Phoenix are two anomalies with council-
manager forms.
• Who decides the type of local government?
Manager as leader
• City Council members are elected and appoint (and
terminate) city managers.
• Managers are the administrative leaders; council
members dominate the policy arenas.
• Managers were meant to be ”neutral competents.”
• Over time, these two roles have blurred.
Significant figures
• Local government managers are positioned to be
significant figures in their cities or counties and not only
within governments.
• Some prefer a more visible role than others, but by virtue
of their position they are at the center of efforts to identify
and address the needs of the community.
As community leaders, local government managers
interact with three key sets of actors:
• The local government manager works for and
interacts directly with the governing board and
• The manager also handles a wide range of
interactions with people and organizations within
the city or county and outside it.
• The city manager is the head of the administrative
organization and as such shapes the way local
government staff members deal with each other
and with citizens.
Multiple contacts
• Chamber of Commerce
• Main Street members, organization leaders
• Rotary and Kiwanis
• Business leaders
• Civic leaders
• Economic development
Government interaction
• County (or other city) officials, county administrator,
county commissioners, county staff (attorneys, planners,
transportation planners, elderly nutrition program, animal
control, emergency management)
Elections office, clerk of court,
Property appraiser, tax collector
Neighboring city managers,
State employees – Department of Transportation,
Department of Environmental Protection, Southwest
Florida Water Management District
Coordinate with…
• Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council
• Economic development council
• State representative,
state senator, governor
• State historic preservation officer,
state parks administration and grants, libraries
• County school superintendent, school board and district
Work and partner with…
• Residents
• Health care community, hospitals, doctors
• United Way, YMCA, Veterans groups
• Federal Congressional and Senate
offices/staff, FAA , EPA etc.
• Church affiliated groups,
• ministerial associations (faith based)
• Stakeholders in minority communities, African American
church ministers, farmworkers self-help organization
• Other non-profits
• Media groups
• The objective becomes advancing the public interest,
facilitating discussion, obtaining feedback from citizens,
civic leaders and groups and contributing to strategic
• The manager can bring
different groups together
to get something
Positive force
According to C.A. Harrell,
1. the “ideal manager is a positive, vital force in the
2. Managers should initiate policy proposals and submit
them to council,
3. Managers should think about broad proposals to
improve community life (the manager is often the one
with the time to do the task).
The role of city manager is grounded in the relationship
with the council, yet two trends affect the work of local
government professionals:
1. “building and maintaining a sense of community”
2. “modernizing the organization.” includes new ways to
communicate – IT, e-government
Strong Mayor
• Strong mayors are
• City councils are weak
elected independently
of city councils
• They are the chief
executive officer of
their city
• Typically hire a CAO to
run day to day
– have little actual
authority outside
budget approval and
zoning/land use issues
• Still impact local
government –
representative role
Strong mayor, continued
Strong mayors are the public face of their community.
They look at the big picture, work on
image, attract new businesses, serve
on variety of authorities and boards
(port and airport for example)
• Who negotiates with unions in a strong mayor city?
Strong mayor form…
• Mayor has almost total administrative authority, appoints
all department heads and other staff.
• Mayor prepares and administers budget. Policymaking is
joint role of mayor and council but mayor has the edge.
• Mayor has to be a good political leader and competent
administrator. Can be difficult combination to find. Some
recent examples: Guiliani in New York, Pam Iorio, Bob
Buckhorn, others…
County Government
• In Florida, county governments are a subdivision of state
government. The form is similar to council-manager with
some significant differences.
• County administrators serve as chief administrative
officers for the elected Board of County Commissioners
• They do not supervise the 5 constitutional officers: sheriff,
tax collector, property appraiser, supervisor of election
and clerk.
Limited power
• The separation of government offices in county
government results in limited and divided authority for the
administrator and County Commission.
• This form also hampers the constitutional officers – they
are independent of the Board, yet rely on them for the
majority of funding of their departmental operations.
Changing roles
• Counties have witnessed spectacular population and
developmental growth over the past 30 to 40 years.
• Once rural counties
now provide
urban services to
suburban residential
County population changes
1970 populations
• 490,265
• 75,955
• 522,239
2010 populations
• 1,266,265
• 464,697
• 916,542
County services
• In addition to responding to increasing serve demands
from growth and urbanization, counties provide wider
variety of services (than cities):
Health and aging services (nutrition)
Housing and rental assistance
Major service provides (w/s, fire, roads)
Reinventing government, new public
management, privatization and outsourcing
Operate like a business
• Tighter budgets, less staff, fewer resources, citizen
demands for the same services cause city managers, city
councils and county leaders to rethink how they operate.
• The ideals of New Public Management will impact local
government out of necessity – privatize services, share
services with other governments, work with nonprofits to
provide for citizens.
• Outsourcing and privatizing are examples of
transformational actions for the delivery of government
• Outsourcing relies on contracts with an outside vendor or
supplier for a specific service.
• Privatizing transfers the program or service to another
agency creating a partnership situation.
• Collaboration too – partnerships to achieve goals
Diminished authority
• In the delivery of services, contributions by nonprofits,
community groups and businesses have increased and
functions transferred to the private sector.
• Authority of the local manager is diminished
in this new governance operation
and managers find themselves
working with others, coordinating
services and losing control over quality.
Aventura to Weston
• Some of South Florida's newest cities, 1990s era, created
by residents demanding more for their money, are finding
that it pays to hire private firms to run city departments.
• Weston, Aventura and Wellington all are boasting the
lowest tax rates in their counties and less red tape in
getting things done.
• They have structured bare-bones governments that keep
costs and taxes low by hiring others to run police, fire,
emergency rescue, water, parks and recreation, zoning
and other department.
• Weston has about 9 full time employees and 60,000
Local Government Responsibilities
• Health
• Safety
• Welfare of public
• Regulations, permits, inspections are a part of protecting
the public – physically and financially.
• Public safety, building regulations, utilities – services
private industry typically cannot do.
Varieties of Issues in local governments
• Land use/zoning
• Funding new Rays
• Narcotic services and
• HART and mass transit
• Pedestrian safety
• Foreclosures/code
• Homeless concerns
• Affordable housing
• Privatization of
sanitation services
• Domestic partnership
Latest building collapse kills three in
Cairo (23/01/2013)
Three people were killed and four injured
when a three-story building collapsed in
Masr al-Qadeema neighborhood, south of
downtown Cairo.
Seven killed in Cairo building collapse (12 Sep 2012)
At least seven people
were killed and five
remain missing after a
four-story building
collapsed .
Egypt has seen a number of construction
disasters over the past few decades, partly
owing to building violations or bad
Closer to home…
Shoddy construction
Some Willowbrook
residents have issues of
sinking floors, separating
window frames, loose hand
rails on the balcony, wall
moisture and mold due to
water intrusion (in
• A mandate is “a constitutional provision, a statute, an
administrative regulation or a judicial ruling that places an
expenditure requirement on a government. That
requirement comes from outside the government forced to
take the action.”
• Examples: transportation, Americans with Disability Act,
new educational program requirements (NSLB), even gun
New challenges
• Fend for yourself federalism – less revenue sharing/grant funds
• Find ways to do more with less
• Emphasis on results, performance and accountability
• And… in 1978, cities received 16% of revenues from federal
sources; by 1990s, it was 3.5%.
Changes, or are they?
• In the 1960s – how different is it? Dealt with anti-war
protestors, labor unions, changes in minority rights and
access, drugs, urban renewal
• Today: Occupy Wall Street, labor unions, minority and
diversity issues, drugs, urban redevelopment and
• Changes in city roles transferred from focus on building
infrastructure (roads, water, sewer, WWTP, parks) to
developing procedures for local governments, egovernment.
• In addition, today the shift is from physical aspects to
human focused aspects of community (school lunches
Some trends in metropolitan growth
• Suburbs growing faster than cities.
• Racial and ethnic group shares of suburban populations
• Absolute numbers of people living in poverty in U.S.
metropolitan areas increased from 19 million in 1980 to 25
million in 2000.
• Poverty rates changing between inner cities and suburbs
Use of special districts
• Special districts deliver separate array of services, govern
different aspects of a public entity, such as a fire district,
water district, water management district, housing, urban
renewal, CRA, mosquito control, soil conservation,
utilities, electric power, drainage.
• 42% of local governments are “special districts;” most
deal with one area of expertise.
• Generally more difficult for citizens to grasp and to be
aware of who governs the district, levies taxes, develops
Councils of Government (COG) and
• Metropolitan Planning Organizations are local
governments united to administer federal funds on
particular policy areas, such as transportation.
• Member governments have representation and work to
divide up the funding for joint projects that cross
jurisdictional lines or are state funds (for a state road for
• Regional planning councils – Tampa Bay RPC – are
voluntary and lack taxing or legislative power. They
provide planning assistance, grant writing, technical
assistance. Oversee or coordinate portions of local
government comprehensive plans and developments of
regional impacts.
Changes in latitudes…
• 80% of Americans live in metropolitan areas. Political
power in U.S. is very fragmented.
• Citizens live in municipality, county, school district, special
district (fire, water, etc.) and under multiple jurisdictions.
• Problems with political balkanization of the metropolitan
areas are:
Government tussles…
• Municipal services are provided less efficiently because of
overlapping jurisdictions – w/s areas, fire protection are
great examples – and include duplication of services and
lack of economies of scale.
• Cities and counties fight over
providing services to areas
adjoining municipalities.
• Political accountability is reduced
because citizens are confused as to which government is
responsible for which activities or services (potholes, sewer
line break, police and fire responses).
Differing needs
• Area-wide planning is impossible or at least difficult.
Difficult to master plan and coordinate planning for
transportation, pollution, housing across jurisdictions
(dead end road in Pasco County just one example)
• Fiscal disparities are created
between areas (central cities v.
• Great variations in service levels.
• Inability of local areas to handle problems compels state
or regional bodies to intervene.
City of Sanford
• Controversy
• Staff termination
• Council discord
• Citizen upheaval
• National attention
• Threats to employees
• Media circus
Norton Bonaparte
Charles Goodsell
• American “bureaucrats” are among best in the world –
government systems run well (consider postal service,
daily local services (w/s/s), etc.
• Administrators are forced to overcome
negative beliefs of bureaucracy.
• Media and politicians decry bloated system, that is
inefficient compared to business, offering stifling work
places, and staff that are indifferent to ordinary citizens.
Government then is the problem.
Morning Joe: what have we learned
Or any questions?
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