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Local Government (Best Practices) Review

Local Government (Best Practices) Review

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Published by Adam R. Tanielian
Rough draft copy literature review section of a piece of research that was contracted by and will be submitted to some local governments in Thailand; more on the larger project will be posted as the rest of the research team informs me.
Rough draft copy literature review section of a piece of research that was contracted by and will be submitted to some local governments in Thailand; more on the larger project will be posted as the rest of the research team informs me.

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Categories:Types, Research, Law
Published by: Adam R. Tanielian on Jul 28, 2011
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07/28/2011

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Overview
Each of the 8 jurisdictions under review display world-renowned or international best practices in their local government operations, structure, organization, or performance.Several high honors and awards have been bestowed upon the municipalities and governmentoffices included in this section. The examples provided are intended to inspire and guide thereader(s) in design and implementation of secular government policies and practices, rather than command or compel the reader(s) to imitate the systems under study. Moderngovernments often operate as private businesses do, with foreign or other governmentsfunctioning as competitors for funding, contracts, business and residential development, andtalented professionals. Today academic theory taught in postgraduate management programsdirects managers to look everywhere to find solutions to problems, including looking intowhat the competition is doing. Government personnel seeking to solve problems related totheir organizational structure or function should look to other governments to find potentialsolutions and fresh outlooks on ancient institutions.Each of the featured locales offered a wealth of information on the internet, which is thefirst lesson that should be learnt from these authorities. Data, documents, policy, legislation,research, public opinion, plans, forms, and other administrative assistance is made availableon the websites which the governments under study operate. This public relations initiativenot only allows academics or other public servants to research the governments¶ activities, but it bridges the gap between the general layperson in the public and the experts in publicoffice. Information asymmetry is reduced online.The second and perhaps the most important point to be noted when reviewing thefollowing is that these governments make remarkable efforts in enforcing their codes, laws,regulations, and policies. Without implementation, the theoretical design or rule is withouteffect, and the greatest design may become more analogous to art than good modelgovernance. Skilled, qualified, trained professionals staff the administrative and enforcementagencies at the organizations in review, and those public officials are held to essentially thesame law as the civilians under the authority of the government. Special attention should be paid to not only mere enforcement of the law, but fair and equitable administration of such policy, with a method that does not cause harm but instead reduces harm for the community.Obviously each of the governments under review has a sufficient budget to support itshigh payrolls, competitive benefits packages for employees, modern facilities, high-techequipment, and active engagement of the population. Revenues at the local level are provided by allocations from the county, provincial, state, and national levels in addition tolocally-generated revenues. Tax and fee collection is essential for all governments under study, and pursuit of persons guilty of tax evasion is necessary. For the governments tocontinue operating at high levels of quality, revenue streams must be consistent and reliable,and thus an adequate fiscal policy must be developed and financial debts among individualsand businesses must be enforced within the jurisdictional capabilities of the relevantauthority.
 
Governments which employ best practices are keenly aware of the needs and wants of the people whom the government serves. The world¶s best jurisdictions have developed partnerships with NGOs, religious organizations, community groups, individuals and businesses to create and maintain comprehensive systems which link people of variousclasses, occupations, backgrounds, ages, and other diverse demographic characteristics into alarger pluralistic whole. Jurisdictions under study are successful primarily due to their focuson economy, finance, industry, environment, safety, diversity, adherence to a written standardand process, civil and social services. With some helpful hints from these locales, and withrational, conscious, intellectual thought, a mind to service, and commitment to establishedgeneral principles, the reader(s) should find it simple to join in the cause of quality controland continuous improvement along with their counterparts in public offices worldwide.
Amst
erda
m,
Ne
th
erland
s
 
City organization and services
The city has several core offices which coordinate and operate its various functions.Specialty and interdisciplinary offices are present in the city¶s departments and councils.Economic affairs advises and supports the city council by designing and implementingeconomic policy, and handling topics including urban marketing, knowledge promotion,innovation, and entrepreneurship, with the aim of acquiring foreign companies, maintainingrelationships with industry, assisting expats, and making the city a strong, balanced economiczone with an internationally competitive business climate. The work and income departmenthelps people find work, distributes assistance to the jobless, and operates facilities for lowincome residents, working closely with districts, chain partners, reintegration agencies,employers, and independent experts. The New West Course Program is an inter-district project aimed at improving the socioeconomic status of a specified zone - New West - andcooperates with housing, schools, residents, businesses, and social organizations to makesustainable investments. Project northward is an inter-district industrial, residential and business development plan for a specified zone with the aim of providing new andsustainable employment and investment options. The department of housing, care andcommunity aims to house all people in the city, and helps people find suitableaccommodation and care through implementation of the Social Support Act.The administrative department gives advice and support to the council on all policyareas, including education, urban planning, management, in aligning policies with other citieslike Rotterdam, The Hague, and Utrecht, and in establishing and maintaining partnershipsand programs involving the private citizens. House service staff is the human resourcesdepartment of the government which implements policies and manages personnel,supervising administrative areas related to leave time, absenteeism, claims, overtime,working conditions, recruitment, appointments, records, and payroll. The office of researchand statistics conducts research and collects, records, and analyzes data about the city,making reports accessible to the public and specialized agencies within the municipalities.
 
The services department gives information to citizens and technical information to districtand city workers.The tax office has a core function of levying and collecting taxes, valuing real estate, and preparing fiscal policy. The accounting and consultancy division audits the accounts of themunicipality of the organizational units and provides advice. The City Bank Loan is a nearly400 year old municipal service which offers loans at four branches to everyone age 18 andolder upon receipt of collateral at a rate of interest lower than private pawnshops. The ICTservice manages the computer, telephone, and software networks in the government offices,and helps cooperate with neighbourhoods on IT issues.The police force has core competencies in criminal and administrative jurisdiction,managing public spaces, supervision and coordination. A collection of professionals andspecialized enforcement agents, supported by a back office of planners, lawyers andconsultants designs and implements public safety strategies and plans, relying first on citizen-assisted prevention in achieving their safety goals. Besides the beat police and patrolvehicles conducting physical surveillance, the city also employs a CCTV network of morethan 150 cameras which detect suspicious behavior and help the administrative officesdispatch officers to scenes. A supervisor of the team is designated to monitor the city¶s sexindustry through investigations of legal and illegal prostitution and escort services, payingspecial attention to threats of trafficking and other abuses related to the industry. Specialistteams are formed to handle nuisances related to taxis, drug trafficking and use (though druglaws are quite flexible in the city), alcohol, young people, and public transport.The fire department works with the municipalities at fires, accidents, disasters, andcrises. Fire is supported by two scuba diver teams. The department advises on fire safety,and conducts inspections. The goal of the fire department is to provide helpful, expert,decisive support to the public when and where needed.The waste and energy company converts waste into renewable energy and high qualityconstruction materials. 1.4 million tons of municipal waste per year is incinerated to power street lighting and public transport, while heating businesses and 15,000 homes
1
.Engineering Amsterdam (IBA) is the public consulting and engineering firm involved inlarge projects in the city area, from initial planning through completion. IBA has expertise ininfrastructure, traffic, environment, urban green, water, and public space design engineering
2
.The project management board plans complex, integrated projects in the cities such as newneighbourhood development, major renovations of existing urban areas, and new subwaylines.The development authority (OGA) is responsible for area and property development,spatial planning, housing, infrastructure, and public space. OGA designs and passes building programs, supervises residential and commercial construction projects, and facilitates the
1
http://www.afvalenergiebedrijf.nl/Afval-aanbieden.aspx
2
http://www.amsterdam.nl/iba/

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