Date of Award

5-2019

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Political Science

Major Professor

Patricia Freeland

Committee Members

Ann Allgood Berry, Michael R. Fitzgerald, David J. Houston

Abstract

The services of municipalities have been subject to the same methods of comparison in use in business in America and, in the absence of the clarity that profit brings to business, cities and towns compare services with dissimilar competitors. This research examines present methods of municipal service evaluation and available professional standards to determine if these standards would enhance existing measures with a comprehensive means of comparison. Through a review of public administration theory, the research discusses the role of bureaucrats in both the development of services and the standards established for comparison.Current methods of comparison of municipal services meet niche requirements but are not comprehensive nor do they offer the ability to serve as a “single indicator” for service comparisons. The addition of professional standards does create a powerful tool for effective cross-jurisdictional comparisons and service improvements. The use of professional standards calls for early engagement of bureaucrats and experts and a firm foundation in theory. Beyond simple participation, advocacy by the bureaucracy in the public policy process can exist under the control of legislators. Further, bureaucratic advocacy can play a critical role in providing competent comparisons on core services.

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