Category Archives: Intergovernmental Relations

City governments are raising standards for working people—and state legislators are lowering them back down

Source: Marni von Wilpert, Economic Policy Institute, August 26, 2017

From the press release:
Progressive cities are raising their labor standards, but conservative state legislatures are preempting them

A new report by EPI Associate Labor Counsel Marni von Wilpert analyzes the recent wave of preemption laws that have swept across the country in the last decade. State governments use preemption laws to supersede city or county laws, or prevent local governments from legislating in certain areas at all—including blocking local governments’ efforts to raise labor standards. The paper explores the rise of preemption in five key areas of labor and employment: minimum wage, paid leave, fair work schedules, prevailing wages, and project labor agreements.

The Promise of the State-Federal Partnership on Workforce and Job Training

Source: National Governors Association and the National Associations of State Workforce Liaisons and State Workforce Board Chairs, 2017

Report from the National Governors Association and the National Associations of State Workforce Liaisons and State Workforce Board Chairs on the importance of strong partnership between states and the federal government on workforce development.

Why Terminate? Exploring the End of Interlocal Contracts for Police Service in California Cities

Source: Eric S. Zeemering, The American Review of Public Administration, OnlineFirst, Published April 3, 2017
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
With the recent growth in interlocal contracts for municipal service delivery, insufficient attention has been given to city governments that choose to terminate interlocal contracts. The termination of interlocal contracts deserves scrutiny because theory points to multiple possible explanations for service change. This research examines the termination of interlocal contracts for police service delivery by California cities between 2001 and 2010. Public documents from the nine cities that terminated interlocal contracts are analyzed to assess rationale for termination. The stated reasons for termination include problems related to community responsiveness, the contract relationship, local control, service cost, service levels, and staffing. Grounded theory is advanced through analysis of the nine cities. The research refines our understanding of how cities weigh the costs and benefits of in-house production versus production through interlocal contract. While contract failure is evident in some cities, termination may also be explained as a process of vertical integration and service expansion. The research refines theories about local government service delivery and informs the practice of interlocal contract management.

Approaches to Municipal Takeover: Home Rule Erosion and State Intervention in Michigan and New Jersey

Source: Ashley E. Nickels, State and Local Government Review, Online First, Published online before print September 21, 2016
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Municipal takeovers proceed by a state declaring that a municipality is in fiscal crisis and placing it in receivership, handing over most local processes to a state-appointed manager. This policy of aggressive state intervention calls into question two principles of local autonomy enshrined in home rule: that allowing local matters to be handled by local authority removes the need for state special legislation and that giving local governments functional autonomy allows them to solve problems without state intervention. This article presents case studies of New Jersey and Michigan to examine differences in home rule protection as well as approaches to municipal takeover.

Fractured Relationships: Exploring Municipal Defiance in Colorado, Texas, and Ohio

Source: Jonathan M. Fisk, State and Local Government Review, Vol. 48 no. 2, June 2016
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Municipalities are on fracking’s front lines. Unlike the extraction techniques of the past, many of today’s operations are located within a mile or two of residential areas. Yet, little scholarly attention has been paid to the factors that can precipitate municipal challenges to the state’s authority. For some, the decision to oppose the state may be related to environmental concerns, while in other communities, leaders are much more concerned about how development impacts homeowners. Recognizing this debate, this article examines local defiance in the era of fracking with a sample of Colorado, Texas, and Ohio communities.

The Role of Capacity and Problem Severity in Adopting Voluntary Intergovernmental Partnerships: The Case of Tribes, States, and Local Governments

Source: Thaddieus W. Conner, Stephanie L. Witt, State and Local Government Review, Vol. 48 no. 2, June 2016
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Literature on intergovernmental partnerships suggests the importance of several factors including organizational resources, capacity, and problem severity in understanding the adoption of these partnerships. This research improves our understanding about the adoption of intergovernmental partnerships by examining tribal and nontribal governments that adopted voluntary agreements to improve the administration of justice. Using data from the Bureau of Justice Statistics, this research examines how socioeconomic conditions, problem severity, and law enforcement authority influence the adoption of partnership agreements between tribal and nontribal law enforcement. The results suggest that tribes that adopt partnerships have better socioeconomic conditions; nontribal actors have lower levels of authority and higher occurrences of violent crime. The presence of Indian gaming also increases the likelihood of adopting cooperative agreements. The results of this study provide an important insight into understanding intergovernmental cooperation in general and what drives cooperation between native and surrounding non-native communities in particular.

Intra-Agency Coordination

Source: Jennifer Nou, University of Chicago Coase-Sandor Institute for Law & Economics Research Paper No. 735, September 30, 2015

From the abstract:
Conventional accounts portray agency design as the outcome of congressional and presidential quests for political control. This perspective aligns with administrative law’s preoccupation with agencies’ external constraints. The main unit of analysis from this point of view is the agency, and the central question is how political principals outside of the agency restrain it. In reality, however, agency actors must also abide by controls internal to the agency: how do these mechanisms arise and what explains their design? For their part, legislative and executive specifications invariably leave organizational slack. Agency heads thus possess substantial discretion to impose internal structures and processes to further their own interests. By and large, however, agency heads have been neglected as important determinants of institutional design. Indeed, like the need for interagency coordination, the bureaucracy requires intra-agency coordination.

This Article seeks to provide a general account of how agency heads, distinct from Congress or the President, manage and operate their organizational divisions. It presents a theory of how administrative leaders use internal hierarchies and procedures to process information in light of their individual preferences and exogenous uncertainties. In doing so, this Article offers a conceptual framework to analyze agency design problems as well as to explain variations in bureaucratic form. Armed with these insights, the analysis then considers some of the resulting normative implications for political and legal oversight. It concludes by suggesting various reforms such as the judicially enforceable disclosure of agencies’ internal rule-drafting processes, as well as doctrines further designed to foster transparency and accountability.

Organizational Network Activities for Local Economic Development

Source: Hyunsang Ha, In Won Lee, Richard C. Feiock, Economic Development Quarterly, Vol. 30 no. 1, February 2016
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
There has been considerable interest and study of local and regional economic development networks in recent years. Local governments forge informal and formal network ties with a variety of organizations, the most prominent of which are private, private/public development, community/residential, and public. Extant research has examined networks but not the processes of network partner choice and their networking. This research begins to fill these lacunas by empirically examining various explanations for economic development networks and their influence on each of these four types of networking. The findings reveal that the factors shaping network ties in each organization type are different. Except for community/residential organization network ties, local governments’ networking is significantly related to the development incentives that they offer. Network ties with public organizations are related to government structures. Network ties with community/residential organizations are distinguished by their relationships with financial conditions and citizens’ opposition to development. The factors influencing network activities for economic development with organizational types are shaped by the predisposition of each organizational network; thus, the factors promoting local economic development activities and the factors stimulating network activities for local economic development are different.

Bridging Interests on Local Government Collaboration – Florida managers share their experiences

Source: Robert Lee and Sarah Hannah-Spurlock, PM Magazine, August 2015

Advocating new ways to deliver government services is definitely not a new trend, and research shows continuing interest in the subject from scholars and practitioners alike. The term collaboration is often used to describe alternative service delivery involving public-private partnerships. There are those who argue, however, that most of these partnerships are nothing more than contractual relationships of one party buying the services of another. The purpose of this article is to identify current topics of interest on local government collaboration that have joint interest from both academicians and practitioners; then, examine the survey results of a dozen seasoned local government managers in Florida to gain their insight into these topics…..

Bridging Academic and Practitioner Interests on Interlocal Collaboration: Seasoned Managers Share Their Experiences in Florida

Source: Robert E. Lee and Sarah Hannah-Spurlock , State and Local Government Review, Vol. 47 no. 2, June 2015
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Academic interest in local government collaboration is well documented. This article bridges that interest with practitioner preferences in a survey to a dozen experienced city and county managers in Florida on their experience in forging local government collaboration. The results showed that most formal collaboration agreements involved sharing facilities and most informal collaboration agreements involved sharing equipment. Moreover, none of these local managers felt that federal or state mandates had any impact on their agencies decision to enter into collaborative agreements and the managers did not evince a general agreement on either the process to follow to initiate or to evaluate interlocal agreements.
Trust and Timing: The Importance of Relationship and Opportunity for Interlocal Collaboration and Agreements
Source: Bruce J. Perlman, State and Local Government Review, Vol. 47 no. 2, June 2015
(subscription required)

Expert Panel Comments on the Lee and Hannah-Spurlock Article, ‘‘Bridging Academic and Practitioner Interests on Inter-local Collaboration: Seasoned Managers Share Their Experiences in Florida’’