THE UNIFORMED SERVICES
Chapter 11 explained how an input--output approach can serve three purposes in the analysis of municipal services: it can further understanding of the expenditure--services relationship, facilitate performance evaluation, and help identify options for service improvement. This chapter applies the approach to the city of New York's four uniformed services--sanitation, fire, police, and correction--with an emphasis on evaluation and options for improvement.
This focus requires an awareness of the characteristics of municipal management and the constraints on policy innovation. Four distinguishing features can be identified.
First, like most bureaucracies, the city's agencies resist change. They may grow larger or smaller as a result of changes in the city's fiscal condition, but the way the agencies produce services remains much the same. There are a few instructive exceptions to this generalization, notably the change from three- to two-person collection trucks in the Department of Sanitation. But the exceptions are so few they prove the rule that municipal agencies are operationally conservative. The implication of this is not that trying to change the bureaucracies is a waste of time. To the contrary, the implication is that the potential to increase productivity is substantial.
Second, commissioners and their senior staff cannot change operations unilaterally even with mayoral support. The nature of municipal service delivery is shaped by many factors, including formal rules established by local law,