A Century of Municipal Reform in the United States: A Legacy of Success, Adaptation, and the Impulse to Improve

Source: Craig M. Wheeland, Christine Kelleher Palus, Curtis Wood, The American Review of Public Administration, Published online before print April 8, 2014
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
In this article, we examine the legacy of four progressive reforms intended to secure “good” government—the model city charter, the council-manager plan, city management professionalism, and bureaucratic service delivery. Our analysis integrates research by historians, political scientists, sociologists, and public administration scholars, and provides a unique multidisciplinary perspective on the legacy of success and adaptation of the municipal reform movement. We use Hofstadter’s concept of a reform “impulse” in American political culture to frame our analysis. We conclude with four observations on the future of municipal reform, ultimately arguing that the impulse to “reform” continues to be a dominant driver across both local government management and institutions.