H. George Frederickson’s “The Spirit of Public Administration” is an informative yet drab look at motivating public administrators. Frederickson discusses a wide variety of topics that would be useful to any public administrator, but the verbiage used is a bit difficult for an individual that may be entering into the service field “The Spirit of Public Administration is broken down into three parts. These parts are:
Part I: Governance, Politics, and the Public
Part II: Issues of Fairness
Part III: Ethics, Citizenship, and Benevolence in Public Administration
Frederickson did take the initiative to explain public administration and some of its functions before going in-depth on different facets of the role. Some great topics discussed were governance, fairness and social equity, and ethics and public administration.
Frederickson begins in Chapter 1 by explaining that “public administration is both a profession and field of study (p. 19).” This statement is very exact. Often times public administrators focus on the profession and do not practice studying their role in society. “The word administration is the subject of extended study, analysis, and discourse (p. 19).” Meaning the role of the public administrator is to lead along with learning as they progress through their careers. Also, in the chapter, Frederickson addresses ways in which to encourage citizen involvement in government. Frederickson acknowledges Benjamin Barber, Strong Democracy: Participatory Politics for a New Age, 11-point suggestion in achieving the goal:
1. Neighborhood assemblies
2. Television town meetings and a civic communications cooperative
3. Civic education and equal access to information: a civic education postal act and a civic videotext service.
4. Supplementary institutions, including representative town meetings, office holding by lot, decriminalization, and lay justice
5. A national initiative and referendum process
6. Electronic balloting
7. Election by slot; sortition and rotation
8. Vouchers and the market approach to public choice
9. National citizenship and common action: universal citizen service and related volunteer programs and training and employment opportunities
10. Neighborhood citizenship and common action: extensive volunteerism and sweat-equity
11. Democracy in the workplace
Frederickson evaluates that some of these suggestions...
... middle of paper ...
...;Good results of negative opinions of government:
1. New Reform Movement
2. Funding for schools and higher standards
3. Better pay for teachers
Bad results (less ethical government)
1. Due to downsizing of merit civil servants, the loss of institutional memory and the “hollowing out” of government.
2. Deregulation. No rules which gives incentive to fraud).
3. Contract employees (high kickback and fraud)
4. Authorities and special districts (fraud on fee-for-service contracts).
This statement plainly shows that government is in need of much work and public administrators will continue to have the hardest task of gaining citizen trust based on government’s profound corruption.
Though Frederickson should have definitely created an upbeat book to keep the “spirit” of public administration motivated, he brought forth some valid points that a public administrator could utilize. The conclusions of his overly long chapters helped the reader to stay abreast on the points that he was expressing in each chapter. Due to time constraints of most administrators, a cliff notes version or quick reference book would be an ideal tool for public servants on all levels.
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