Category Archives: Intergovernmental Relations

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.

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
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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
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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.
Related:
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
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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’’

Realizing Innovation and Opportunity in WIOA – A Playbook for Creating Effective State Plans

Source: Bryan Wilson and Brooke DeRenzis, National Skills Coalition, November 2014

From the blog post:
National Skills Coalition released its latest report, Realizing Innovation and Opportunity in WIOA: A Playbook for Creating Effective State Plans. The report provides recommendations on how states can use their Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) state plan to establish strategies that close the skill gap and help workers and businesses succeed.

NSC also hosted a webinar that covered the report’s recommendations and provided an overview of WIOA’s timeline and opportunities for stakeholders to weigh in on the federal regulatory and guidance process. Watch the recording.

The writing of a new state workforce development plan is a major opportunity for states. WIOA emphasizes sector partnerships, career pathways, cross-program data and measurement, and job-driven investments. It is written in a way that allows visionary leaders to use it as a lever for strategies that support economic growth and help a wide range of workers succeed in the labor market. The state plan need not be limited to federal programs under WIOA’s four titles or to minimum federal planning requirements. Instead, states are free to use their plans to describe the workforce development system they truly want, and to explain how they will use WIOA and other state and federal programs to achieve that vision. Broad and authentic stakeholder engagement during the planning process will help ensure that the plan is supported both by those who will implement it and by those intended to benefit from it.
National Skills Coalition offers the following recommendations for policymakers, practitioners, advocates, employers, and labor to consider as they work to create a state plan that takes full advantage of the skill strategies promoted by WIOA:
– The Planning Process: The state planning process should use different techniques to provide multiple opportunities for a broad set of stakeholders to offer input on the state plan. In determining whether to be an early implementer, states should consider how to balance the early implementation timeline with the process necessary to create a strong plan with broad stakeholder support.
– Plan Structure and Format: The state plan should clearly describe the state’s vision and goals for preparing a skilled workforce that meets employer needs. It should articulate the major strategies the state will use to achieve its vision and should explain the “who, what, and when” of action steps to implement those strategies.
– Sector Partnerships: The state plan should describe the state’s criteria for local or regional sector partnerships, and it should explain how the state will provide support and funding to those partnerships.
– Career Pathways: The state plan should describe how state programs will collaborate with each other, local programs, and other stakeholders to create career pathways. They should also describe how states will use effective adult education approaches, wrap-around support services, and sector partnerships as part of their career pathway approach.
– Cross-Agency Data and Measurement: The state plan should describe a comprehensive cross-agency data and performance measurement system that covers all major workforce development programs. This includes how the state will use supply-demand reports, dashboards, and cross-agency credential measurement to develop policies to close the skill gap; how it will link data to measure outcomes; and how it will provide training program performance scorecards for students and workers.

Dissolving the Greenville County Recreation District: Creating a Plan for Intergovernmental Cooperation in Greenville County

Source: Robert J Barcelona, Robert S. Brookover, Marcus E. Smith, Ty P. Houck, Journal of Park and Recreation Administration, Vol. 32 No. 4, 2014
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From the abstract:
In July 2013, the Greenville County (SC) Recreation District (GCRD), a special purpose district founded in 1968, was dissolved by the South Carolina State Legislature, and a new Department of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism (GCPRT) was created as part of Greenville County government. According to the County, the reasons for the dissolution of the special district were twofold: 1) increased operating costs associated with new capital construction projects initiated by GCRD, and 2) a loss of tax revenue due to annexation of GCRD property by cities located within the District. Annexation was a problem because four of the six largest cities in Greenville County opted out of the recreation district when it was created, and instead chose to fund and support their own local parks and recreation departments. By opting out, city residents were exempt from paying the 4.6 mills of property tax that GCRD collected from special district residents. When GCRD was dissolved and reconstituted as a new county department, Greenville County council and administrators decided to levy the 4.6 mills on city residents to help provide additional funding for county parks, recreation, and tourism services. The affected cities raised concerns with this new arrangement, and several kept the doors open to legal action, as they believed they were being subjected to double taxation. This case places the reader in the role of a management consultant hired by Greenville County to develop a set of recommendations for managing the reorganization process, including developing a spending plan for the new undedicated revenue, providing suggestions for repairing relationships and rebuilding trust with the cities, and creating a plan to communicate the potential value of the new structure to the citizens of Greenville County.

Informal Accountability in Multisector Service Delivery Collaborations

Source: Barbara Romzek, Kelly LeRoux, Jocelyn Johnston, Robin J. Kempf and Jaclyn Schede Piatak,Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, Vol. 24 no. 4, October 2014
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From the abstract:
Multiagency collaboration is widely used in contemporary service delivery systems. This article explores the interpersonal interactions within collaborative systems, among subsystems, and among organizations. Our focus is on illuminating the informal mechanisms that facilitate collaboration, joint production, coordination and integration of service delivery, and sustained effort. Such interactions generate unofficial expectations, discretionary behaviors, and provider “communities” that can ameliorate or exacerbate problems of interorganizational networks where collaboration is appropriate or desirable. We use a multiple case–study approach to explore the dynamics of informal accountability among individuals working within county-based children’s service systems in three states. We find informal interpersonal dynamics nested in combinations of vertical and horizontal ties with mixed administrative authority arrangements derived from both formal and informal accountability relationships. These data reveal shared norms, facilitative behaviors, informal rewards and sanctions, and challenges that create the dynamics of informal accountability. Informal accountability is shaped by the prevalence of relationship building and champion behavior as facilitative behaviors, discernible tension between the operation of formal and informal accountability systems, a gap between the rhetoric of collaboration and the reality of collaborative service provision, differences in informal accountability dynamics across hierarchical levels within service delivery systems, and the critical roles of street-level caseworkers in informal accountability.

Contemplating Collaboration

Source: David Swindell and Cheryl Hilvert, Public Management, Vol. 96 no. 7, August 2014

To address today’s challenges of decreased budgets and increased workloads, both local government managers and elected officials are embracing the concept of collaboration in new and innovative ways. Collaboration has proven to be an effective tool for jurisdictions to join with others—including other local governments, private sector organizations, and nonprofits—to achieve goals and deliver services that they may not have been able to accomplish on their own.