Category Archives: Intergovernmental Relations

Do Small Local Governments Fare Well? A Survey of Villages in New York

Source: Pengju Zhang, Marc Holzer, The American Review of Public Administration, OnlineFirst, July 25, 2019
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From the abstract:
Public administration studies have not adequately discussed governance challenges for small local governments. Given that more than 10% of villages have, unprecedentedly, voted on dissolution in New York over the past 10 years, this article exclusively and comprehensively investigates how well villages are faring in New York. Using a representative survey of village governments, coupled with a rich secondary data set, it finds institutional and political tensions between villages and their underlying town(s). It also suggests intergovernmental fiscal factors have threatened the organizational and fiscal health of some village governments. In addition, villages have extensively established service-sharing mechanisms with town(s) to mitigate fiscal stress. The majority of village officials remain skeptical about dissolution as an effective approach to cost savings.

Right Cause, Wrong Method? Examining the Politics of State Takeover in Georgia

Source: Richard O. Welsh, Sheneka Williams, Shafiqua Little, Jerome Graham, Urban Affairs Review, Volume: 55 issue: 3, May 2019
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From the abstract:
A growing number of states are using state-run school districts to take over and improve persistently underperforming schools. This article uses Georgia to examine the politics of state takeover. We analyze the supporting and opposing coalitions as well as the alignment between state takeover and charter schools in the campaign for the constitutional amendment to create a statewide turnaround district. Our findings show that corporate interests, the governor, and nonprofit organizations supported state takeover, whereas educators, parents, and community organizations opposed state takeover. There was bipartisan support across coalitions and a crisscrossing of interests regarding local control and the path to school improvement. There are divergent views on charter schools, with supporters of state takeover favoring charter schools.

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.
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Summary

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
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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
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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
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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
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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.