20
PUBLIC WORKS

ACTIVITIES

The public works or service department is always one of the largest in the local government. From the standpoint of expenditures, due to the volume of construction and repair work, it usually ranks first; when sanitary activities, such as garbage and ash collections, water supply, and the full street program, including construction, repair, and cleaning, are performed directly by city labor, the public works department personnel often equals in number that of the fire or police department. The number and diversity of its activities are more elastic than those of any other branch of local administration, and often depend on the capabilities and personality of its director. Its activity assignments are frequently made by charter provisions, but they are also determined by the city council or the administrative head of the city, or outlined in the administrative code.

The official publication of the profession of public works engineers canvassed two hundred cities, in 1936, on the question of activities assigned to their departments, with the results outlined on the following page.1

The first ten functions on this list, appearing in more than a majority of the cities canvassed, may be considered definitely as public works functions. "Streets" includes street construction and maintenance, whether cared for directly by the department or done by private contractors under departmental supervision. "Sidewalks" includes the power of issuing repair or construction orders for both sidewalks and curbs, which work may be done by the department and charged to the property owner. "Bridges" covers both

____________________
1
"What is a Public Works Department?" Public Works Engineers' News Letter, February 1936, p. 2.

-509-

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City Management
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Foreword vii
  • Preface ix
  • Contents xiii
  • Illustrations xix
  • 1 - The Changing City 1
  • 2 - Administrative Principles 22
  • 3 - The Civil Service 49
  • 4 - Personnel Management 70
  • 5 - Revenues and Taxation 95
  • 6 - Finance and Accounting 124
  • 7 - Expenditures and Debts 151
  • Conclusions 174
  • 8 - State Financial Supervision 176
  • Conclusions 194
  • 9 - Centralized Purchasing 199
  • 10 - Planning 226
  • 11 - Zoning 249
  • 12 - Slums and Housing 275
  • 13 - The Law Department 300
  • 14 - Public Health 319
  • 15 - Recreation and Parks 355
  • Conclusions 378
  • 16 - Public Welfare 383
  • 17 - Police Administration 412
  • 18 - Traffic. 449
  • 19 - Fire 477
  • 20 - Public Works 509
  • 21 - Streets 539
  • 22 - Public Utilities 566
  • 23 - Wastes 593
  • Conclusions 620
  • 24- Water 623
  • Conclusions 646
  • 25 - Courts 649
  • Conclusions 669
  • 26 - Education 673
  • 27 - Nominations and Elections 696
  • 28 - New Horizons 716
  • Index 747
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