Holding Government Bureaucracies Accountable

By Bernard Rosen | Go to book overview

7 Other Instruments for Accountability

From the 1960s and well into the 1990s, growing public concern about the responsiveness of national, state, and local governments provided a favorable environment for creating additional instruments to help hold bureaucracies accountable. Laws were enacted; elected executives initiated action; and organizations were established to shed more light on the gap between governments' promises and performance.


FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT

It is the nature of bureaucracies, and particularly government bureaucracies, to make records, to collect records, and to keep them secret. Access to these records often provides different bases for evaluating the performance of agencies and new opportunities for holding their administrators accountable.

On July 4, 1966, President Johnson signed the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)1 with a ringing declaration about the importance of openness in government for our freedom and independence. The Justice Department was given responsibility for administering the law. The department's guidelines to agencies made clear that disclosure of government documents was to be the general rule, not the exception. The law identified specific exemptions from disclosure that relate primarily to personal data on individuals, business and trade secrets, classified information affecting the national security and foreign policy, and certain inter- and intra-agency memoranda.

In announcing the Justice Department's guidelines, the attorney general

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Holding Government Bureaucracies Accountable
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface ix
  • Notes xi
  • Acknowledgments xiii
  • Part I - The Substance of Accountability 1
  • 1 - Public Administrators: Accountable for What? 3
  • Notes 17
  • 2 - Public Administrators: Accountable to Whom? 19
  • Notes 31
  • Part II - The Processes of Accountability 33
  • 3 - Accountability Processes Within the Executive Branch 35
  • Notes 59
  • 4 - Accountability Mechanisms and Methods Used by the Legislative Branch 63
  • Notes 88
  • 5 - Citizen Participation in the Accountability Processes 91
  • Notes 115
  • 6 - Judicial Review of Administrative Actions 117
  • Notes 134
  • 7 - Other Instruments for Accountability 137
  • Notes 172
  • Part III - The Future 177
  • 8 - New Initiatives for Improving Accountability 179
  • Notes 205
  • 9 - In Retrospect 209
  • Notes 221
  • Selected Bibliography 223
  • Index 225
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