Academic journal article The Public Manager

Time Hasn't Changed Public Service

Academic journal article The Public Manager

Time Hasn't Changed Public Service

Article excerpt

The American Society for Public Administration and the National Academy of Public Administration honor leaders at every level of government who have made outstanding and lasting contributions to public service. Two city managers received the organizations' National Public Service Award this past March.

Each has some 35 years in public service. What has changed in public service? What significant factors have remained constant? Also, how can you encourage young people to enter public service?

John Shirey

City Manager, Sacramento, California

Ronald Bates

City Manager, Pico Rivera, California

Technology has changed the way we work. When I started we didn't have desktop computers or sophisticated communication systems. Many of the tools we take for granted were not around. The advancements have been breathtaking. Also, elected officials are more diverse, more pluralistic. More women and minorities are in public office, and elected officials come from a broader economic base.

It is always difficult to manage a city when finances are tight. People think it was better "years ago," but we've always had to balance a budget and manage resources, and there is never enough money to meet all the needs. Another constant, and one that makes public service challenging, is an ever-changing array of issues. …

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