Public Administration Times

The Estranged Legislative and Executive Branches

Hugh Heclo’s A Government of Strangers, published 40 years ago, described the very different worlds of high-level federal appointees and the civil-servant worker bees they purportedly manage. Today that sort of estrangement has spread beyond agencies to the first and second branches of government, with toxic results. Government Disservice: Overcoming

Bridging the Separation of Powers in Government

The separation of powers is a hallmark of democratic systems. Power is divided among different branches or units of government. The legislature legislates, the executive executes and the judiciary judges…. Separation of powers is a concept that cropped up in response to 17th century concerns about absolutist government. Thomas Hobbes argued

The Legislative Branch’s Big Oversight Problem

The federal government has seen a century of growth. In 1915, the government had only a handful of departments, 400,000 employees (half of whom worked for the Post Office) and a total budget that, even when adjusted to 2009 dollars, amounted to just $11.7 billion. Today, there are perhaps 180

Making Oversight Win-Win

Mere mention of the word “oversight” can make a public administrator queasy. It’s not because bureaucracies inevitably have something tawdry or corrupt to hide. Indeed, government agencies often have much to crow about. Keeping the trains moving every day is an achievement, especially as legislatures layer multiple, often-conflicting duties upon

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