Category Archives: Intergovernmental Relations

Does a Partnership Need Partners? Assessing Partnerships for Critical Infrastructure Protection

Source: Chris Koski, American Review of Public Administration, Published online before print July 22, 2013
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From the abstract:
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has used a partnership planning model of implementation to address the protection of critical infrastructure and key resources (CIKR). The partnership relies upon existing regulators and operators to secure CIKR with little ability of DHS to compel action. Instead, the Department of Homeland Security acts to define and draw attention to tasks related critical infrastructure protection. This article analyzes Government Accountability Office reports to characterize variations in success of the partnership by assessing the extent to which DHS has addressed key components of partnership planning: creating a structure that encourages collaboration, establishing trust across partners, monitoring partners’ performance, attending to differences in partners’ organizational culture, identifying and leveraging existing relationships among partners, and instilling a sense of a common mission in the partnership. The findings underscore the limitations of partnership approaches in addressing complex problems that lack strong leadership and clear policy goals.

U.S. Treasury Collects More Than $3 Billion in Delinquent Debts for States

Source: U.S. Department of the Treasury, Office of Legislative and Public Affairs, Press Releases, June 27, 2013

The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s (Treasury) Bureau of the Fiscal Service (Fiscal Service) today released its first Fiscal Year (FY) 2012 Annual Report to the States on the Treasury Offset Program’s (TOP) Delinquent Debt Collection. The report details each state’s success in collecting delinquent debts through a unique partnership with the federal government. Debts successfully recovered through TOP include delinquent child support and state income tax obligations, unemployment insurance compensation fraud debts, and more….

…TOP is used to intercept eligible federal and state payments to delinquent debtors, in accordance with the Debt Collection Improvement Act of 1996 and other legal authorities. Federal law requires state agencies to send a notice to a delinquent debtor at least 60 days before submitting a debt to TOP. The notice must explain how the debtor may dispute a debt or enter into a repayment plan.

Due to a strong federal-state partnership, TOP recovered $6.2 billion for federal and state agencies, including $2.2 billion in delinquent child support debts, $560 million in outstanding state income tax obligations, $133 million in unemployment insurance claims, and $53.8 million in other debts owed to states in FY 2012. Treasury is proud to partner with the U.S. Department of Labor and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Child Support Enforcement, to administer the TOP program. Since the implementation of TOP in 1997, the Fiscal Service has collected more than $68 billion for federal and state agencies, including $31.8 billion for participating states, at a relatively small cost to the federal government….
See also:
Annual Report To The States Fiscal Year 2012
Source: U.S. Department of the Treasury, Bureau of the Fiscal Service, Treasury Offset Program Delinquent Debt Collections, June 2013

Evolution of Collaboration Among Federal, State, and Local Agencies

Source: Nathan Myers, Public Manager, Vol. 42 no. 2, Summer 2013
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… By the end of 2009, as seen in her public remarks, Sebelius had come to the conclusion that the United States must not have an ad-hoc approach to dealing with public health threats, but a flexible yet permanent system employing federal, state, local, private sector, and other types of resources that will allow us to bring the latest technology and our collective knowledge to bear on the latest contagion. However, with a traditionally decentralized federal public health system, creating and maintaining such a system will require a healthy dose of negotiation and relationship-building…

An Integrative Framework for Collaborative Governance

Source: Kirk Emerson, Tina Nabatchi and Stephen Balogh, Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, Volume 22, Issue 1, January 2012
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From the abstract:
Collaborative governance draws from diverse realms of practice and research in public administration. This article synthesizes and extends a suite of conceptual frameworks, research findings, and practice-based knowledge into an integrative framework for collaborative governance. The framework specifies a set of nested dimensions that encompass a larger system context, a collaborative governance regime, and its internal collaborative dynamics and actions that can generate impacts and adaptations across the systems. The framework provides a broad conceptual map for situating and exploring components of cross-boundary governance systems that range from policy or program-based intergovernmental cooperation to place-based regional collaboration with nongovernmental stakeholders to public-private partnerships. The framework integrates knowledge about individual incentives and barriers to collection action, collaborative social learning and conflict resolution processes, and institutional arrangements for cross-boundary collaboration. It is presented as a general framework that might be applied to analyses at different scales, in different policy arenas, and varying levels of complexity. The article also offers 10 propositions about the dynamic interactions among components within the framework and concludes with a discussion about the implications of the framework for theory, research, evaluation, and practice.

Symposium on Intergovernmental Management and ACIR Beyond 50: Implications for Institutional Development and Research

Source: Public Administration Review, Vol. 71 Issue 2, March/April 2011
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From the introduction:
Although media and public attention have focused mostly on national policy making, program development, and funding decisions, intergovernmental relations and management remain vital to virtually all initiatives emanating from Washington, D.C. Yet a lack of adequate attention to intergovernmental matters–from policy formulation through policy implementation and evaluation–imperils effective and efficient governance in ways that are readily evident today. The intergovernmental confusion and clashes that attended governments’ responses to the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico suggested, for instance, that key government actors had not fully learned the lessons of the horribly bungled responses to Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Hence, forces of coercion, cooperation, competition, and contestation continue to vie for intergovernmental preeminence.

The capacity–especially the federal government’s capacity–to even recognize, let alone address, the intergovernmental sinews of our federal democracy has atrophied severely since the 1980s. This symposium focuses on the loss in 1996 of one element of such an institutional capacity–the U.S. Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations (ACIR)–but intergovernmental deinstitutionalization occurred across the board during the 1980s and 1990s. The president’s Office of Management and Budget no longer has an explicit intergovernmental shop; the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs (called the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs and Public Engagement under President Obama) is more pertinent to politics than to policy; the U.S. House and Senate no longer have subcommittees on intergovernmental relations; and the U.S. Government Accountability Office no longer has a formal intergovernmental unit. At the same time, partisanship, interest group advocacy, and confrontational politics have eroded support for the kinds of impartial research, objective data collection, bipartisan policy development, and collaborative performance produced by the ACIR and its former institutional cousins in Congress and the executive branch.

This symposium looks mainly at the trends and issues associated with the creation and demise of the ACIR, and assesses prospects for recreating lost capacities. These include monitoring intergovernmental trends, convening key stakeholders, conducting impartial research and data analysis, and recommending practical policies and management practices. The symposium also surveys the state ACIRs.

Articles include:
Reflections on the Spirit and Work of the U.S. Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations by Bruce D. McDowell

An ACIR Perspective on Intergovernmental Institutional Development by
Carl W. Stenberg

Reflections of a Member of the U.S. Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations by Richard P. Nathan

The U.S. Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations: Unique Artifact of a Bygone Era by John Kincaid

The Current Status and Roles of State Advisory Commissions on Intergovernmental Relations in the U.S. Federal System by Richard L. Cole

“Big Questions” about Intergovernmental Relations and Management: Who Will Address Them? by John Kincaid and Carl W. Stenberg

Overcoming the Barriers to Cooperation: Intergovernmental Service Agreements

Source: Sung-Wook Kwon and Richard C. Feiock, Public Administration Review, Volume 70, Issue 6, November/December 2010
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From the abstract:
Interlocal cooperation through service-sharing agreements has a long history, but its use has increased in popularity during the last 20 years. The decisions of local government units to collaborate through intergovernmental service agreements are best understood as a two-stage process. The first stage, in which communities decide whether to consider interlocal cooperation, involves the nature of the immediate problem faced plus specific demands for performance and efficiency gains that can result from service cooperation. In the second stage, communities confront a question of institutional supply, and hence must overcome inherent bargaining and collective action issues in order to forge interlocal agreements. Heckman probit estimates of such complex relationships using data drawn from a 2003 ICMA survey suggest strong support for this model. The authors conclude by discussing the role of network relationships among local actors for reducing transaction costs and facilitating intergovernmental collaboration.

Hours of Opportunity: Volumes I, II and III

Source: Susan J. Bodilly, Jennifer Sloan McCombs et al., RAND Corporation, October 2010

From the summary:
This three-volume report examines Wallace-supported efforts in five cities to build systems to improve the quality and accessibility of after-school, summer and other out-of-school time (OST) programs. The study concludes that the fledgling systems, which seek to coordinate the work of major OST players like schools, parks departments, and nonprofit after-school programs, hold some promise. It also describes major challenges the efforts face. Volume I, Lessons From Five Cities, looks at what helped and hindered the ventures. Volume II, The Power of Data, explores the use of management information systems by the five Wallace-supported projects and three other OST initiatives. Volume III, Profiles of Five Cities, describes in detail each Wallace-funded effort. A Wallace Knowledge in Brief highlights key study findings and offers considerations for those interested in OST system-building.

Creative Regionalism: Governance for Stressful Times

Source: Bruce J. Perlman and James Jimenez, State and Local Government Review, Vol. 42 no. 2, August 2010
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Most public problems that state and local governments tackle are addressed effectively within their particular jurisdiction. In such cases, the benefits from addressing them usually are confined to the citizens living within the government’s limits. For example, waste disposal is handled by picking up trash at citizens’ homes or by giving them a specific site to deposit it, both within a discrete jurisdiction. Likewise, educational, community, and recreational benefits can be restricted to the citizens of a particular jurisdiction by requiring proof of residence within it. Similarly, when state and local governments aim to reduce harms, their jurisdiction for and delivery of public safety and security services is limited to a specific area, not withstanding public safety boundary problems, such as hot pursuit or threats from adjacent jurisdictions (these can be handled though internal practices, such as standard operating procedures or bilateral agreements like memoranda of understanding). Although these examples do admit of ”spillover effects” or externalities affecting or affected by other jurisdictions, the direct benefits provided are limited to those governed by a single, limited jurisdiction. In short, the delivery of these services in an effective way is not dependent on or limited by cooperation with other locales.

Interlocal Service Cooperation in U.S. Cities: A Social Network Explanation

Source: Kelly LeRoux, Paul W. Brandenburger, Sanjay K. Pandey, Public Administration Review, Vol. 70 no. 2, March-April 2010
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From the abstract:
Local governments increasingly confront policy problems that span the boundaries of individual political jurisdictions. Institutional theories of local governance and intergovernmental relations emphasize the importance of networks for fostering service cooperation among local governments. Yet empirical research fails to examine systematically the effects of social networks on interlocal service cooperation. Do the individual networks of local government actors increase their jurisdiction’s level of interlocal service delivery? Drawing data from the National Administrative Studies Project IV (NASP-IV), multivariate analysis is applied to examine this question among 919 municipal managers and department heads across the United States. The findings indicate that interlocal service cooperation increases when jurisdictional actors network frequently through a regional association or council of government and when they are united by a common set of professional norms and disciplinary values. Manager participation in professional associations, however, does not increase interjurisdictional cooperation. The key conclusion for local government practitioners searching for ways to increase collaboration: networks that afford opportunities for more face-to-face interaction yield better results for effective service partnerships.