Politics and Policy in Local Government


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Policy Paper #3

Imagine you are a City Manager trying to manage a City after dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic for over a year and a half. Things are slowly getting back to a “new normal” however, the recovery continues to be uneven and your contract waste haulers are experiencing issues with recruiting and retaining staff. This is a causing disruptions in service to residents and they are starting to show up at every public meeting to voice their concerns/opinions on the matter. Additionally, residents are e-mailing elected and appointed officials at the City, and they have also started a petition to get their garbage fees refunded. You need to write a policy paper outlining what your course of action will be to address the situation.

Consider the following factors when writing your paper:

  • There is a national labor shortage of qualified individuals for the jobs that are available. If the contract waste haulers are having issues hiring and retaining staff, you can bet that the City is having similar challenges. Especially since the private sector is offering very enticing starting salaries and sign-on bonuses, and they are still having recruitment issues.
  • Looking back to our reading of Chapter 10, remember that bureaucracy is how Government responds to meet the needs/demands of the Citizens it serves. Given the issues with the waste haulers, and given that the area with in-house garbage service provided by the City is not experiencing the same issues as those areas served by the contract haulers, there is a growing “push” for the City to consider bringing garbage service in-house. What would you choose to do? Would you keep services contracted out, or would you bring them in-house? Keep the following in mind:
    • As mentioned in Chapter 10, one of the drawbacks of contracting out services is the loss/diminished oversight the Government has of the service. Are you willing to lose some of your oversight if it means service delivery will improve?
    • Bringing services in-house is expensive but, doable. Would you be willing to spend the significant upfront capital if you could show the long-term success of this approach?
  • Lastly, how would you respond to the push for refunding of garbage fees? Keep in mind, most municipalities don’t collect enough revenue to offset the overall cost of garbage services provided. A refund of fees would be an onerous task for City staff and in most cases the value of the checks “would not be worth the paper they’re written on”.

Please note: Some of you mentioned the desire for a grading rubric for these assignments. I can tell you from personal experience, rubrics do not really exist for stuff like this. Policy is often communicated to staff via e-mail (more often than not the draft of that e-mail took a few days) or in memo form. So for this assignment, pretend you are drafting a memo to your City council explaining your positions as City manager on the subject above.

  • Please use only I attached you.
  • Also, you can find Finance, and the Budget Process in the text book that I attached you ( Chapter 4 ).
  • You will write three, 2 pages. (double spaced, Arial 11 pt. font) papers summarizing, analyzing, and dealing with an issue. Please write an answer about this question.
  • Thanks.
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