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Monthly Archives: January 2016

Member News: Jered B. Carr


Jered Carr, University of Illinois at Chicago, published “What Have We Learned about the Performance of Council-Manager Government? A Review and Synthesis of the Research” in the September/October 2015 issue of the Public Administration Review.
The 100th anniversary of the International City/County Management Association provides an excellent point to review and assess research on the performance of the council-manager form of government. The development of the council-manager form arguably has been the most important innovation in American local government over the last century, yet its impact on the performance of municipal governments is not well understood. This article reviews and assesses the empirical evidence for 10 propositions that council-manager governments perform better than mayor-council governments. This evidence indicates that although progress has been made on demonstrating differences in representation and functionality, the proposition that council-manager governments are better managed than mayor-council governments has yet to be seriously engaged in this literature. Filling this critical gap requires progress in two areas: the development of theory to explain why council-manager governments are better-managed organizations and the production of evidence assessing the major propositions of this theory.

Report on SIAM Mission Statement and Name

SIAM members,
Following the annual section business meeting I appointed a committee chaired by Eric Zeemering to make recommendations regarding the implementation of the new mission statement adopted at that meeting. The committee took this task quite seriously and after much work and deliberation reported back the attached recommendations that include a revised and more concise statement of the section mission. At the section executive council meeting earlier this month voted unanimously to send the committee recommendation to the full membership at the annual meeting with a recommendation that the proposed changes be adopted. I have attached the committee report here. Also note that the Deil Wright Symposium will include a panel discussion on the mission of SIAM. I encourage everyone to attend the Deil Wright Symposium and the annual business meeting which will be Saturday, March 19 – 2:00 pm – 3:30 pm.
Best regards
Rick Feiock
SIAM Exec council chair


To:         Rick Feiock, Chair and SIAM Executive Committee 
From:     Mission Implementation Committee 
RE:        Report on SIAM Mission Statement and Name 
Date:      December 17, 2015 


For several years, the Section on Intergovernmental Administration and Management (SIAM) has been engaged in a discussion about the section’s future, strategic goals, and declining membership.  When Rick Feiock became section chair, he signaled the need for the section to confront the trend of declining membership by aligning our work with the most salient topics in our subfield of public administration.  A committee, chaired by David Miller and Jered Carr, brought recommendations to the 2015 section business meeting to update the mission statement and section name.  The membership adopted the new mission statement by a vote of sixteen (yes) to fourteen (no).  The mission implementation committee was appointed to continue the dialogue about the new mission statement and section name. 

The mission implementation committee began work by conference call on May 7, 2015.  The committee decided to survey the membership of the section in order to make sure that our efforts align with the goals and views of the membership.  The survey was available to the membership between September 1 and September 18, 2015.  The survey was sent to 237 members.  Ninety surveys were completed for a response rate of 37.97%.  The committee reconvened by conference call on October 20, 2015 to discuss the results.  Additional deliberations occurred by email through the month of November.  This memo summarizes key findings from the membership survey and the committee’s recommendations regarding the section mission statement. 

Membership Survey 

The survey results, provided in an attachment for the executive committee, show some disagreement within the membership about the mission statement.  While 62 percent of the membership reports they are satisfied or very satisfied with the section’s old mission statement, 55 percent report they are very satisfied or satisfied with the new mission statement.  When asked about the importance of various topics to the section, intergovernmental relations (1.76) received the most salient score on a scale from 1 to 10, with intergovernmental management (2.20), intergovernmental administration (2.28) and federalism (2.72) not far behind.  Collaborative governance (2.98), state‐local relations (2.50) and interlocal relations (2.79) also received support.  Network governance (3.86), metropolitan governance (3.86) and urban affairs (4.7) appear less salient. 

The committee reviewed open responses to the question, “Would you recommend any specific additions or revisions to the mission statement?”  Several respondents signaled that both the old and new mission statements are verbose and cover too much content.  Respondents signaled that mission statements should be short and focused.  The committee took these recommendations seriously during our deliberations.   

The survey also showed split opinion about a change to the section’s name.  On a scale of 1 (unimportant) to 10 (important), the mean was 4.56.  Thirty one respondents selected 1 or 2 to signal low importance.  Fourteen selected 9 or 10 to signal high importance.  Thirty one selected 4, 5, or 6, which might be interpreted as uncertainty or ambivalence.  Given these results, the mission implementation committee chose to focus attention on the mission statement. 

Committee Recommendations 

The mission implementation committee agreed with the survey respondents who stated that both the old mission statement and the new mission statement attempt to convey too much information about the section’s interests and goals.  We set out to craft a concise statement focused on the core of the membership’s shared interests in intergovernmental relations and intergovernmental management within a federal system.  After extensive debate and careful revision, the committee recommends the following mission statement to the executive committee: 

The Section serves as a forum for the study, understanding, and improvement of dynamic federal systems and other forms of intergovernmental relations wherein national, state, and local governments address policy and management issues. 

We believe this mission statement identifies common ground for the section membership.  This statement speaks to the historic roots of the section while also signaling our ongoing interest in the scholarship and practice of intergovernmental relations.  We ask the executive committee to bring this proposal to the general membership at the 2016 meeting of ASPA in Seattle. 

Remaining Questions 

The mission implementation committee acknowledges the dialogue about the future of SIAM will continue.  Rick Feiock and Carl Stenberg are providing a venue for ongoing discussion by allowing committee members to participate in a special panel during the Wright Symposium at the ASPA meeting in 2016.  The section is making every effort to have an open and transparent dialogue about how we maintain a vibrant section focused on salient topics and activities that engage the membership. Several questions remain for the section.  First, is a change to the section name necessary?  While we see divided opinion within the current section membership, we have no sense of external perceptions of the section.  We do not know if, as suggested at the last membership meeting, the name serves as a barrier to entry for ASPA members.  Second, which services and activities provided to the section membership are most important?  The survey did not attempt to assess the value the membership places on the Wright Symposium at the annual conference, the section newsletter, or the subscription to State and Local Government Review.  Third, if the membership approves a more concise mission statement, can this sharper focus help with membership recruitment?  As the membership has engaged in dialogue about the mission, membership remains static.  The membership should consider how to engage new participants in section activities.  We hope that dialogue among section members at the 2016 meeting can help address these three questions.

2016 Deil S. Wright Symposium: Friday, March 18, 2016



The Section on Intergovernmental Administration and Management (SIAM) invites ASPA members to attend the 2016 Deil S. Wright Symposium at the 2016 ASPA national conference in Seattle. The symposium honors the career and contributions of Professor Deil S. Wright, who was a charter member of SIAM and remained active until his passing in 2009. The all-day meeting on Friday, March 18 will feature cutting edge research on local governance and intergovernmental management by outstanding doctoral candidates and junior scholars, collaborating with faculty members, as well as a panel discussion on the Section’s mission. The theme of the symposium is “Intergovernmental Management in Transition” Following is the preliminary agenda.


8:30-8:45 Welcome Richard Feiock and Carl Stenberg
8: 45-10:00 Panel 1: Local Governance and Intergovernmental Management Research
The Rise of Specialized Governance in Federalism: Links between Local Autonomy and Special Districts among States
Yu Shi, University of Illinois at Chicago
The Dynamics of Interorganizational Risk Management Networks: Following the 2015 South Korea MERS Response  
KyungWoo (John) Kim, University of North Texas            
Policy Abandonment at Multiple Levels of Government: Understanding Why State and Local Governments Abandon Economic Development Incentives
Eric Stokan, George Washington University
External and Internal Influences on Local Governments to Design Comprehensive Sustainability Programs
Hyungjun Ji, Arizona State University
Why Do Local Leaders Cooperate Across Boundaries? Results from a National Survey Experiment on Mayors and Councilors
Meghan Rubado, Temple University
10:00-10:15 Break
10:15-11:00 Discussion of Panel 1 Papers
Discussants include editors of State and Local Government Review, Public Administration Review, Urban Affairs Review
11:00-12:30 Panel 2:  What Future for SIAM?  Exploring and Adjusting the Mission of ASPA’s Intergovernmental Section
This roundtable features leading scholars and practitioners who served on the committee to review the recent SIAM mission change and make implementation recommendations.  Eric Zeemering will present results of the survey of SIAM members the committee conducted and panel members will provide their thoughts, assessments, and ideas in a dialogue with the other panelists and the audience.
Eric Zeemering, Northern Illinois University (Chair)
Ed Benton, University of South Florida
David Miller, University of Pittsburgh
David Warm, Executive Director, Mid-America Regional Council
12:30-1:30  Lunch Break
1:30-3:00  Panel 3: Local Governance and Intergovernmental Management Research
Bottom-up Federalism: An Examination of U.S. Local Governments’ Climate Change Policy
Benoy Jacob, University of Colorado, Denver, Brian Gerber, Arizona State University, Sam Gallaher, University of Colorado, Denver
Equipment Sharing Among Local Governments
Daniel D. Wendt, Bowling Green State University
Empathy and Ethics in Public Servants: The Role of Public Administration Education in Developing Competencies for Collaborative Governance
Mariglynn Edlins and Stephanie Dolamore, University of Baltimore
Can You Put Food on the Table? Redefining Poverty in America
Maureen Berner and Alexander Vazquez, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
John Kincaid, Layafette University
3:00-3:15  Break
3:15-4:45  Panel 4: Public Administration and Providing and Managing Collaborative and Environmental Programs in the New Era
Providing Public Services in a Networked and Collaborative Environment
David K. Hamilton, Texas Tech University
The Municipal Governance of Sustainability: Climate Change, Polycentricity, and Public Administration
Dennis Patterson and Robert E. Forbis, Jr., Texas Tech University
Determinants of Change and Innovation in U.S. Local Governments Natural Hazard Management Practices
Brian Gerber, Arizona State University
The Conflicted Role of Professional Managers: Help Guild or Insulate from the Metropolitan Region
David Miller, University of Pittsburgh
Beverly Cigler, Penn State Harrisburg


4:45-5:00 Wrap-Up  Richard Feiock and Eric Zeemering

SLGR seeking local government practitioners for comment on article

The Governance Matters (GM) section of the State and Local Government Review (SLGR) is looking for assistance in identifying local government practitioners who have undergone or closely studied local government (that is, city-county) or regional consolidation to read and comment on an article on that topic to be published in SLGR GM.  The selected practitioners would participate by teleconference in a roundtable discussion of the article which would be summarized in an introductory article in the same GM section and their views would be credited by name in the issue.  If you know of someone who you think would be a knowledgeable and willing contributor to this endeavor, please contact GM Editor, Bruce Perlman at bperlman@unm.edu

PLEASE SAVE THE DATE: SIAM Section Meeting on March 19

The SIAM section meeting will be held on Saturday, March 19 from 2:00-3:30 p.m. Please save the date.