Public Policy Trends Paper

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John Johnson

University of Phoenix


There are many ways to evaluate the ability of government to responds to trends. Most often, an analysis of the fiscal performance and the agility of the response of government to issues are considered; are needed services and programs provided at a low cost, and have the needs of the population been quickly and adequately addressed? While a popular method of evaluation, these types of analysis only measure performance. To acquire an accurate gauge of the attributes of the government entity being considered; is it open and transparent in its activities? Are their active partnerships with other grant recipients and community organizations (Porte, 2005)? An examination of the interaction between the executive and legislative functions of CDBG recipients can provide an excellent evaluation of how effective state and local entities are in responding to trends in public need. This review will help to evaluate whether the actions of these entities enable outcomes that benefit themselves (doing well for government) or that benefit the public (doing the public good).

Interactions between the Executive and Legislative Functions

The council-manager form of government represents the majority type of government for municipalities over 12,000 in population. The relationship between council members and city managers is continually evolving with a trend toward “increased collaboration and communication between city managers and council persons” (Public Administration and Management: An Interactive Journal, no date, Para. 1). Most recently, this trend was “largely caused by such factors as cities grappling with increasingly complex and technical issues, requiring close working relations between city managers and city councils” (Public Administration and Management: An Interactive Journal, no page, Para 1). Professionalism in government has raised the competence level of government leaders and the most recent trend in collaboration and communication between the two has “been caused by the emerging role of city managers in community-based consensus-building and issue formulation involving council members, citizens and community leaders” (Public Administration and Management: An Interactive Journal, no page, Para 1). The city manager serves at the pleasure of the elected council members and because of this employment power most city managers are motivated to foster good relations with council members. There is a fine line that is easily crossed by both; city managers sometimes get involved in politics while city council members sometimes zealously attempt to run the day-to-day government operations.

Since a 5-year Consolidated Plan is required to apply for CDBG funds involving public input and council participation, the collaboration between the city manager and council is particularly important in acquiring CDBG funds. And since there is a policy trend under the current administration to at a minimum consolidate the CDBG program with other programs under the Department of Commerce or eliminate the funding altogether, it is even more important that the city manager and council collaborate. Funds not identified or ranked in priority in the Consolidated Plan cannot even be considered in a grant application, therefore, it is imperative that the city manager and city council members are on the same page in consensus building in the community and amongst themselves when moving forward with a grant application. In addition, if more than one project is submitted, they must be prepared to prioritize and select one or the other in times of tight funding. Most grant reviewers are fair in the selection process, but there is also the attempt to spread the funds proportionately based on need and meeting criteria.

The Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), one of the longest running programs of the U. S....
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