Urban Policy and Administration Master Degree Program Political Science Department Brooklyn College POLS 7400X: Public

Final Exam- Fall 2012

    You must answer at least one essay question for both the Public Administration and Labor sections. Each essay should be approximately 3-4 pages, single-spaced. Take-home final exam questions should be submitted via email to NFranklin@brooklyn.cuny.edu by Thursday, December 20th at 6:00pm. There will be no make-ups for the final exam, and late submissions will NOT be accepted.

For the Public Administration section of the take-home exam, you can either answer question 1, or the two essay topics for question 2. When you turn in your exam, please indicate which question you chose to answer for this section. Question 1. Consider this situation: Five years from now you find yourself working as the head of the Parks and Recreation Department in Yonkers, Westchester. The city's budget is very tight. You are considering budget proposals for next year, which you will present to the City Council next month. An analyst on your staff, working on the budget for the Parks and Recreation Department, shows you a request in that budget for construction of a new ice-skating rink in the wealthier part of town. He shows you a sophisticated cost-benefit analysis that he has done of the project, which demonstrates that the project's costs are substantially more than its benefits. You call the Mayor of Yonkers, explain the analysis to her and propose eliminating the ice rink project from the upcoming budget. The Mayor, an astute politician, responds, "You know as well as I do that the residents in that part of town vote, and that they want this ice rink. Further, the Council Member from that district is planning on running against me next year and this will give him the ammunition he needs to beat me and put you out of a job. Your fancy cost-benefit analysis is nice, but it isn't relevant in the real

world of government. Put the ice rink back in and we'll close the park on the poor side of town instead to plug the hole in our budget." You indicate your sense of indecision to your staff member. Incensed, he tells you, "When you hired me you told me that we would make the right decisions, and not be boxed in by politics. You are selling out, and if you go through with this, you will have my resignation letter on your desk the next morning." Confused, you call your old professor. He says, "Remember in your program that you learned about the dichotomy between politics and administration. As you may recall, I argued in class that good decisions in government are able to synthesize both concerns. And don't worry about your job." Using the story as a context, please answer both part A and B questions: A. This story relates to the on-going debate throughout the history of the field of public administration regarding the separation of politics and administration. Is it essential to have such a separation of politics and administration in cases such as this one? How does that influence the role of a public administrator? B. In carrying out any public policy, the public administrator is challenged to satisfy multiple values - traditionally framed in the three E’s of efficiency, effectiveness, and equity (often referred to as social equity). In relation to the story above, in what ways is the public administrator challenged to balance these values? Question 2. Please answer both parts A and B: A. Extensive public administration research has discussed the role of street level bureaucrats in the administration of public services. Much of this research has focused on whether (and to what end) these front-line government employees have discretion in their day-to-day work. Write an essay in which you explain why this issue is so important to the field of public administration. What are the consequences if street-level bureaucrats have discretion? What are the consequences if they do not have discretion? B. A fundamental assumption of administrative reformers in the late 1800s and early 1900s was that politics could have only adverse affects on administration. How valid is that belief? Why? How, and to what extent, do current administrative structures and practices reflect that assumption? In your essay also explain how each of [a.] Woodrow Wilson and [b.] Luther Gulick directly or indirectly treated the ‘politics-administration dichotomy’ concept. Also, discuss the other contributions made by Luther Gulick to the development of public administration as a discipline.


For the Labor section, you can either answer one of the first three questions, or answer both parts A. and B. for question four. When you turn in your exam, please indicate which question(s) you choose to answer for this section. Question 1. In considering the function of public-sector unions, some have argued that if they do anything at all, it is to advocate for the economic interests of their members at the expense of others. Through political advocacy, they assert that unions- such as the United Federation of Teachers (UFT)- seek to protect their members' claims on future government revenue (such as raises or salary increases) and to protect the terms of their contract agreements. Discuss whether unionized government workers should be allowed to influence the sovereignty of government officials in deciding workers’ salaries and the terms of contracts. Explain whether or not public employee unions have advantages have that makes the exploitation of government officials more likely. Question 2. It has been asserted that the reasons why workers join labor unions is because they a. hope to advance a particular political and social agenda; b. hope to improve their lives generally; c. are dissatisfied with their working conditions; and d. are opposed to the free market system. Please select which one or more items that you think are the main reasons why workers, especially those in the public sector, join unions and discuss your justification(s). Question 3. Traditional methods in collective bargaining negotiations that focus on defending stated positions are more likely to break down because the parties become too invested in their positions instead of trying to uncover new option. Discuss an example that clearly illustrates the difference between positions and interests in collective bargaining negotiations. Also, be sure to answer the following questions: Why is this difference important to bargaining? Why is it difficult for labor negotiators to switch from traditional positions to interest- focused negotiations? What recommendations would you make for negotiators trying to make this switch? Why might it be more difficult for union negotiators to make this change compared to management negotiators? Question 4. Please answer both part A and B:

A. How do public employees’ rights generally differ from those of private sector employees? B. Explain what you have learned about bargaining strategies to inform a friend about the options for negotiating his or her starting salary and other items for a new job.

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful