Running Head: Administrative Discretion 1
Joy M. Stiles
Administrative Discretion 2
To understand what the advantages and disadvantages to restriction of laid down rules for
Public Administration, one should look at the views of Max Weber and of the more modern
thinkers of our society. At the time of Weber’s life, society was different; his ideas made sense
and worked smoothly. Realities of our society have changed greatly since then. We have
expanded and now have communication with our citizens that we did not have before. As you
will see in my discussion there are advantages and disadvantages of restrictions for our rules in
public administration. You will also see that I believe that in today’s government there is a need
for some discretion.
Administrative Discretion 2
Max Weber believed in “Leveling of the governed”; that meaning that government should be
administered by bureaucratic experts. This meant that there would be an “officially” authorized
method of disciple. The rules were black and white with no gray areas. His rationality was that
this provided protections and accountability by the structure and restrictions of these set rules.
He believed this system of rules secured the equal and fair right and guidelines for all in the
process of government bureaucracy. At the time, this system worked. Society was new and we
did not have the communication and the involvement of citizens that we have today.
The advantages of restricted rules of administration are the administrators weren’t required to
think outside the box. With the restrictions it provided protection for impartial courts and
administration, but it was a mechanical concept. This made life easier, but was it fair? Maybe in
the beginning it worked.
As our society evolves, so do the circumstances and situations that arise. Rarely is a situation
clear cut; there are gray areas. Experience comes in to play and develop relevant communication
to our legislative rules. Our public institutions and our citizens play a role in our government for
our principle goal, “Democracy”. Our laws should be based on rational decision making
processes. As was discussed in previous lessons, public administration is more successful when
integrated with political views. Citizens should be actively engaged in our legislative activities
and policies. Through administration and political activities the decision making provides checks
and balances for government bureaucracy.
In a previous case study 5, “Wichita Confronts Contamination”; it showed how public
Administrative Discretion 3
administration alone would not have provided the best solution for this issue. Had they followed
the letter of the law, it would not have factored in the consideration of the citizens for property
values, the economy would have suffered. The costs of cleanup and reports and time involved
would also have been greater. This city would have been ruined economically. The city manager
was able to make several plans involving bankers, the corporation that primary did caused the
contamination and various city officials. It was also able to work the issue through the KDHE
keeping the EPA informed. Legislation was still involved as well as the city manager, legal
counsel, city council, school board, lenders, city commission, EPA, KDHE, and...
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