University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Throughout history, we have many examples of how our bureaucracies have come to be and their strengths and weaknesses. It is with this knowledge I propose a hybrid bureaucracy be formed using the strengths of past reforms.
In the Jacksonian reform they eliminated the privileged position of the elites by requiring long lists of public officials to be elected, an institution known as the “long ballot” (Knott & Miller, 1987, p.16). I would continue having public officials elected rather than appointed. Only through elections can all people cast their vote for who they believe will best represent them. This is clearly a tenet of democracy; the free and equal right of every person to participate in a system of government. Another lesson learned from machine politics is the importance of money. To be elected as a president, governor, or any other elected position requires money. I recommend each state have a strict budget allocated to one candidate, from each political party, for each election. The money will come from the state budget, will be equally given, and will be the only form of campaign funding allowed. This would prevent candidates from being swayed to give special favors in return for money, which would help keep them honest. No donations to a single candidate or political party would be allowed; all donates will be divided equally between all candidates and all parties. For example, if ABC Signs donated 1,200 campaign posters they would be equally dispersed, 400 to the Democratic Party, 400 to the Republican Party and 400 to the Independent Party and then equally shared by all candidates within the party. This would once again reinforce our democratic ideal by providing equal opportunity for every person to have the same chance at being elected.
Traditional Public Administration, also known as the Progressive Reform, put forward the idea that we needed to change from amateurs to professionals in public administration.“The most important aspect of the Progressive movement, as far as [Knott & Miller] is concerned, was its prescription for administrative reform” (Knott & Miller, 1987, p. 38). Hired personnel would have to show proof of their knowledge and expertise, either through education, experience or a skill based test. By having personnel with working knowledge of their area, tasks would be done efficiently and effectively. New Public Management and reinventing government had new and innovative ideas; the two I recommend are Competitive Government and Mission-Driven Government. When it comes to service delivery, government contracts will be competitive. There is need for some departments to remain a monopoly within the government system. The IRS, for example, due to their need for high level of security and rigid policies, it is not feasible for the public sector to take control of such a massive department. Other services, such as garbage collection, can easily be contracted out to a private company. Creating competition for these contracts will increase productivity and efficiency while keeping the price from sky rocketing. Without competition, service providers will be able to charge the government a high price for low quality work, as long as that high price is still cheaper than the government creating its own new department.
Having a competitive government leads into a customer-driven government. Let the customer, or citizen, choose the service provider. This puts accountability of the provider into customers’ hands. Using already existing providers, instead of creating new ones, saves the government money to allocate to other areas and provides customers with a better service. My favorite example of this, being a veteran myself, is as David Osborne (1993) says, “(a)rguably the single most successful social program in U.S. history was the GI Bill” (p.354). The goal of the GI Bill is to turn veteran