Power Failure: New York City Politics and Policy since 1960

By Charles Brecher; Raymond D. Horton et al. | Go to book overview

13
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,

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Power Failure: New York City Politics and Policy since 1960
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface v
  • Contents ix
  • List of Tables xi
  • I - Introduction and Overview 1
  • 1 - Introduction 3
  • 2 - Overview of Political Change 17
  • II - Electoral Politics 47
  • 3 - Local Elections and Local Democracy 49
  • 4 - Mayoral Elections 77
  • 5 - Public Financing of Campaigns 113
  • III - Budgetary Politics and Policy 141
  • 6 - Improving the Operating Budget Process 143
  • 7 - Bargaining and Budgeting 157
  • 8 - The Capital Budget and Capital Projects 165
  • 9 - Tax Policy 185
  • 10 - The Property Tax 209
  • IV - Service Delivery 219
  • 11 - Expenditures and Services 221
  • 12 - Municipal Wage Policy 241
  • 13 - The Uniformed Services 263
  • 14 - The Department of Parks and Recreation 299
  • 15 - The Health and Hospitals Corporation 329
  • Notes 361
  • Index 379
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