Academic journal article Public Administration Quarterly

Previous Consolidation Efforts in the Global Metropolitan Region of El Paso, Texas

Academic journal article Public Administration Quarterly

Previous Consolidation Efforts in the Global Metropolitan Region of El Paso, Texas

Article excerpt

ABSTRACT

This report compiles a great deal of qualitative data concerning the policy-making and decision climate in El Paso which have undergirded the consolidation debate up to the present time. Contained within the report are the following areas: Monitoring, which will demonstrate policy outcome; Evaluation, which will establish policy performance; Problem Structuring, which will outline policy problems; Forecasting, which will predict policy futures; and Recommendation, which will substantiate policy actions. It is the hope of this report that current and future city-county policymaking will implement the following decision-making instruments to transcend existing limitations and create a new vision for a consolidated metro government.

INTRODUCTION

The newest initiative on achieving El Paso City-County consolidation is but one of several efforts designed to provide an academic and political insight into the feasibility of commingling city-county governments. Neighbor's (1971) study aimed at discerning attitudes concerning the possibility of an administrative political consolidation following partial consolidation successes (e.g., interlocal agreements and tax office) in 1968 and 1969. Unfortunately, nothing came from this venture and it would be another seventeen years before a serious evaluation of this issue was raised Dr. Judson F. Williams led a special committee to adopts a three-tiered approach designed to avoid many of the errors in previous studies.

Given the entrenched and long-standing nature of political and ideological divisions concerning the consolidation issue, a thorough analysis needs to be conducted of the internal and external forces which have shaped the structure of governance.

In order for there to be an accurate assessment of the success or failure of any strategic planning effort, there must be heavy reliance on specific and comprehensive problem definition. Precious efforts to organize have failed to progress beyond the needs assessment phase. As a result of the lack of implementation, the goals and objectives of city-county consolidation are sporadic. The key stakeholders only make assumptions on what could be socially, economically, and politically viable for consolidation. Along with comprehensive problem definition, a thorough analysis of the major stakeholders has identified the following groups: the denizens of the County of El Paso, the employees of the city-county governments, and the policy-makers (or influential politicians).

In this study, the measures of effectiveness include citizen participation, the introduction of objectivity into the process, and a voice for public-sector employees. These measures of effectiveness, in turn, lend themselves to the following potential solutions: (1) the development of sophisticated preassessment techniques; (2) an independent facilitator; (3) inclusive representation on consolidation committees and decision-making groups; (4) the opening of lines of communication; and (5) a quantitative analysis.

Policy alternatives include interlocal agreement reform, the development of enterprise zones, service or multiservice consolidation, remaining with the status quo, and annexation efforts. These alternatives have also serious consequences related to numerous spillovers and externalities which may result from the implementation of these initiative. However, these alternatives also carry a set of constraints which are limited by the political and decision-making climate evident in the contemporary city-county government.

After an evaluation of this local issue, the following policy recommendations are: (1) to reach an initial agreement; (2) organize a needs assessment plan; (3) formulate strategic planning processes; (4) generate a strategic plan; (5) move into the implementation phase (e.g., general guidance, communication and education or staged implementation); and (6) follow through with a monitoring and evaluation procedure

MONITORING: BACKGROUND OF PROBLEM

Strategic planning is a set of concepts, procedures, and tools designed to help leaders, managers, and planners think and act strategically . …

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