Read 93010_01_ch01_p001-047.qxd text version

93010_01_ch01_p001-047.qxd

1/16/09

6:21 PM

Page 1

CHAPTER 1

The Search for the Scope and Purpose of Public Administration

O

ur own politics must be the touchstone for all theories. The principles on which to base a science of administration for America must be principles which have democratic policy very much at heart. Woodrow Wilson

READING 1.1

Introduction

A definition of the parameters of a field of study, that is, the boundaries, landmarks, and terrain that distinguish it from other scientific and humanistic disciplines, is normally considered a good place to begin any academic subject. Unfortunately, as yet, no one has produced a simple definition of the study of public administration--at least one on which most practitioners and scholars agree. Attempting to define the core values and focus of twenty-first­century public administration provides lively debates and even deep divisions among students of the field. A major difficulty in arriving at a precise and universally acceptable definition arises in part from the rapid growth in the twentieth century of public administration, which today seems to be all-encompassing. Public administrators are engaged in technical, although not necessarily mundane details: they prepare budgets for a city government, classify jobs in a post office, have potholes patched and mail delivered, or evaluate the performance of a city's drug treatment centers. At the same time, they are also concerned with the major goals of society and with the development of resources for achieving those goals within the context of a rapidly changing political environment. For instance, if an engineering staff of a state agency proposes to build a highway, this decision appears at first glance to be a purely administrative activity. However, it involves a wide range of social values related to pressing concerns such as community land-use patterns, energy consumption, pollution control, and mass transit planning. Race relations, the general economic well-being of a community, and the allocation of scarce physical and human resources affect even simple administrative decisions about highway construction. Public administration does not operate in a vacuum but is deeply intertwined with the critical dilemmas confronting an entire society. The issue then becomes: How can a theorist reasonably and concisely define a field so interrelated with all of society?

1

93010_01_ch01_p001-047.qxd

1/16/09

6:21 PM

Page 2

2

Chapter 1/ The Search for the Scope and Purpose of Public Administration

The rapidly increasing number and scope of activities involving public administration have led theorists to develop a variety of definitions. Consider fifteen offered during the past two decades by leading textbook writers: Public Administration is the production of goods and services designed to serve the needs of citizens-consumers. Marshall Dimock, Gladys Dimock, and Douglas Fox, Public Administration (Fifth Edition, 1983) We suggest a new conceptual framework that emphasizes the perception of public administration as design, with attendant emphasis on participative decision making and learning, purpose and action, innovation, imagination and creativity, and social interaction and "coproduction." Jong S. Jun, Public Administration (1986) In ordinary usage, public administration is a generic expression for the entire bundle of activities that are involved in the establishment and implementation of public policies. Cole Blease Graham, Jr., and Steven W. Hays, Managing the Public Organization (1986) Public administration: 1. is a cooperative group effort in a public setting. 2. covers all three branches--executive, legislative, and judicial--and their interrelationships. 3. has an important role in the formulation of public policy, and is thus part of the political process. 4. is different in significant ways from private administration. 5. is closely associated with numerous private groups and individuals in providing services to the community. Felix A. Nigro and Lloyd G. Nigro, Modern Public Administration (Seventh Edition, 1989) . . . Public administration is centrally concerned with the organization of government policies and programs as well as the behavior of officials (usually nonelected) formally responsible for their conduct. Charles H. Levine, B. Guy Peters, and Frank J. Thompson, Public Administration: Challenges, Choices, Consequences (1990) The practice of public administration involves the dynamic reconciliation of various forces in government's efforts to manage public policies and programs. Melvin J. Dubnick and Barbara S. Romzek, American Public Administration: Politics and the Management of Expectations (1991)

93010_01_ch01_p001-047.qxd

1/16/09

6:21 PM

Page 3

Reading 1.1/ Introduction

3

Public administration is concerned with the management of public programs. Robert B. Denhardt, Public Administration: An Action Orientation (1995) Public Administration can be portrayed as a wheel of relationships focused on the implementation of public policy. William C. Johnson, Public Administration: Policy, Politics and Practice (Second Edition, 1995) Public Administration in all modern nations is identified with the executive branch. James W. Fesler and Donald F. Kettl The Politics of the Administrative Process (Second Edition, 1996) Public administration is the use of managerial, political, and legal theories and processes to fulfill legislative, executive, and judicial governmental mandates for the provision of regulatory and service functions for the society as a whole or for some segments of it. David H. Rosenbloom and Deborah D. Goldman, Public Administration: Understanding Management, Politics, and Law in the Public Sector (Fourth Edition, 1997) Public service is service, and as such must always be seen in personal terms. . . . This is what public administration means to me . . . the only path along which personal human development can proceed. O. C. McSuite, Invitation to Public Administration (2002) All administration, including public administration, depends on the cooperative effort of the individuals who make up the administration. Therefore, administration is affected by all the complexities of human nature. N. Joseph Cayer, and Louis Weschler, Public Administration: Social Change and Adaptive Management (Second Edition, 2002) Public administration is not only instrumental--public sector decisions and actions are often complex, involve multiple possibilities, and change with time; and public sector practitioners are involved with determining what government does in addition to how it does it. Richard C. Box, Public Administration and Society (2004) Public administration may be defined as all processes, organizations, and individuals (the latter acting in official positions and roles) associated with carrying out laws and other rules adopted or issued by legislatures, executives, and courts. Michael E. Milakovich, Public Administration in America (Ninth Edition, 2006). Traditionally, public administration is thought of as the accomplishing side of government. It is supposed to comprise all those activities involved in carrying out the policies of

93010_01_ch01_p001-047.qxd

1/16/09

6:21 PM

Page 4

4

Chapter 1/ The Search for the Scope and Purpose of Public Administration

elected officials and some activities associated with the development of those policies. Public administration is . . . all that comes after the last campaign promise and electionnight cheer. Grover Starling, Managing the Public Sector (Eighth Edition, 2007) Generally, these attempts at defining public administration seem to identify it with the following: (1) the executive branch of government (yet it is related in important ways to the legislative and judicial branches); (2) the formulation and implementation of public policies; (3) the involvement in a considerable range of problems concerning human behavior and cooperative human effort; (4) a field that can be differentiated in several ways from private administration; (5) the production of public goods and services; and (6) rooted in the law as well as concerned with carrying out laws. However, trying to pin down public administration in more specific detail becomes, according to specialists such as Harold Stein, a fruitless endeavor. The many variables and complexities of public administration make almost every administrative situation a unique event, eluding any highly systematic categorization. As Harold Stein writes: "public administration is a field in which every man is his own codifier and categorizer and the categories adopted must be looked on as relatively evanescent."1 For some writers like Frederick C. Mosher, the elusiveness of a disciplinary core for public administration gives the subject its strength and fascination, for students must draw upon many fields and disciplines, as well as their own resources, to solve a particular administrative problem. As Mosher writes: "Perhaps it is best that it [public administration] not be defined. It is more an area of interest than a discipline, more a focus than a separate science. . . . It is necessarily cross-disciplinary. The overlapping and vague boundaries should be viewed as a resource, even though they are irritating to some with orderly minds."2 But for others like Robert S. Parker, the frustrations of dealing with such a disorderly discipline mitigate against its being a mature, rewarding academic field of study. "There is really no such subject as `public administration,'" writes Parker. "No science or art can be identified by this title, least of all any single skill or coherent intellectual discipline. The term has no relation to the world of systematic thought. . . . It does not, in itself, offer any promising opportunity to widen or make more precise any single aspect of scientific knowledge."3 Despite Parker's pessimistic assessment of the present and future status of public administration, the search for a commonly accepted definition of the field, both in its academic and professional applications, continues by many scholars. Indeed, defining public administration--its boundaries, scope, and purpose--has become, in recent decades, a preoccupation and difficulty confronting public administration theorists. The field's "identity crisis," as Dwight Waldo once labeled the dilemma, has now become especially acute because a plethora of models, approaches, and theories now purport to define what public administration is all about. To help us understand public administration today, it is useful to study the rationale for creating this field, as outlined in an essay written in 1887 by Woodrow Wilson, a young political

1 Harold Stein, Public Administration and Policy Development: A Case Book (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1952), xxv. 2 Frederick C. Mosher, "Research in Public Administration," Public Administration Review, 16 (Summer 1956): 177. 3 Robert S. Parker, "The End of Public Administration," Public Administration, 34 (June 1965): 99.

93010_01_ch01_p001-047.qxd

1/16/09

6:21 PM

Page 5

Reading 1.1/ Introduction

5

scientist at the time. Wilson (1856­1924) is better known as the twenty-eighth President of the United States (1913­1921), father of the League of Nations, Commander-in-Chief during World War I, and author of much of the "New Freedom" progressive reform legislation. Wilson is also credited by scholars with writing the first essay on public administration in the United States and therefore is considered by many as its American founder. His short but distinguished essay, "The Study of Administration," was published a century after the U.S. Constitution's birth. Wilson had just begun his academic career, teaching political science at Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania, after earning his Ph.D. at Johns Hopkins University. The editor of a new journal (Political Science Quarterly) asked Wilson to contribute an essay on this developing subject. At that time, public administration had been a well-established discipline in Europe but was largely unknown in America. Geographic isolation, agrarian self-sufficiency, the absence of threats to national security, and limited demands for public services, among other things, had allowed the United States to get along reasonably well during its first century of existence without the self-conscious study of public administration. However, many events were forcing Americans to take notice of the need for public administration. By the late nineteenth century, technologic innovations such as the automobile, telephone, and light bulb and growing international involvement in the Spanish-American War, combined with increasing public participation in a democratic government, created urgent needs for expanded, effective administrative services. As a consequence, we also required an established field of administrative study. Wilson wrote his essay at the time when civil service reform had been instituted in the federal government (the Civil Service Act or "the Pendleton Act," named for its legislative sponsor, had been passed in 1883). Much of Wilson's centennial essay was, not surprisingly, a plea for recognizing the central importance of administrative machinery, especially a well-trained civil service based on merit, rather than politics, to operate a modern democratic government. Just as the Federalist Papers, authored by James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and John Jay had a century before advocated the passage of the U.S. Constitution, Wilson called in 1887 for the necessity of this new field "to run a constitution" during its second century. His essay strived to encourage the development of public administration and to underscore the importance of effective administration for the Constitution's survival in the future. But how could Americans graft public administration into their Constitution, which had not mentioned this subject? For Wilson--and modern students of the field--this was the critical issue. In developing public administration--both practically and academically--Wilson's basic difficulty was to reconcile the notions of constitutional democracy with inherent concerns for popular control and participation with theories of efficient, professional administration, and their stress on systematic rules and internal procedures as distinct from democratic oversight and influence. For Wilson, this inevitable conflict could be settled by dividing government into two spheres--"politics," in which choices regarding what government should do are determined by a majority of elected representatives, and "administration," which serves to carry out the dictates of the populace through efficient procedures relatively free from political meddling. Although modern administrative scholars generally reject the possibility or desirability of drawing any hard-or-fast line between politics and administration, or what most call "the politics-administration dichotomy," the issues Wilson raised are enduring and important. Read the essay for yourself and see how you judge the validity of Wilson's arguments.

93010_01_ch01_p001-047.qxd

1/16/09

6:21 PM

Page 6

6

Chapter 1/ The Search for the Scope and Purpose of Public Administration

How did Wilson define public administration, and why did he believe it was so critical to the future of the United States? Are his arguments for its basic rationale and value still valid? Why did Wilson distinguish between "politics" and "administration" as important terms for creating public administration? In your opinion, is such a "politics-administration dichotomy" practical and workable? What are the advantages and disadvantages of using such a dichotomy today as a way to advance this field of study? What sources did Wilson believe the United States should draw on in developing this new field? And what sources should Americans avoid in shaping their administrative enterprise? And why? What issues and challenges did Wilson pose for administrative study and practice? Are these still priorities today?

The Study of Administration

WOODROW WILSON

I suppose that no practical science is ever studied where there is no need to know it. The very fact, therefore, that the eminently practical science of administration is finding its way into college courses in this country would prove that this country needs to know more about administration, were such proof of the fact required to make out a case. It need not be said, however, that we do not look into college programmes for proof of this fact. It is a thing almost taken for granted among us, that the present movement called civil service reform must, after the accomplishment of its first purpose, expand into efforts to improve, not the personnel only, but also the organization and methods of our government offices: because it is plain that their organization and methods need improvement only less than their personnel. It is the object of administrative study to discover, first, what government can properly and successfully do, and, secondly, how it can do these proper things with the utmost possible efficiency and at the least possible cost either of money or of energy. On both these points there is obviously much need of light among us; and only careful study can supply that light.

Reprinted with permission from Political Science Quarterly, 2 (June 1887): 197­222.

Before entering on that study, however, it is needful: I. To take some account of what others have done in the same line; that is to say, of the history of the study. II. To ascertain just what is its subject-matter. III. To determine just what are the best methods by which to develop it, and the most clarifying political conceptions to carry with us into it. Unless we know and settle these things, we shall set out without chart or compass.

I.

The science of administration is the latest fruit of that study of the science of politics which was begun some twenty-two hundred years ago. It is a birth of our own century, almost of our own generation. Why was it so late in coming? Why did it wait till this too busy century of ours to demand attention for itself? Administration is the most obvious part of government; it is government in action; it is the executive, the operative, the most visible side of government, and is of course as old as government itself. It is

93010_01_ch01_p001-047.qxd

1/16/09

6:21 PM

Page 7

Woodrow Wilson / The Study of Administration

7

government in action, and one might very naturally expect to find that government in action had arrested the attention and provoked the scrutiny of writers of politics very early in the history of systematic thought. But such was not the case. No one wrote systematically of administration as a branch of the science of government until the present century had passed its first youth and had begun to put forth its characteristic flower of systematic knowledge. Up to our own day all the political writers whom we now read had thought, argued, dogmatized only about the constitution of government; about the nature of the state, the essence and seat of sovereignty, popular power and kingly prerogative; about the greatest meanings lying at the heart of government, and the high ends set before the purpose of government by man's nature and man's aims. The central field of controversy was that great field of theory in which monarchy rode tilt against democracy, in which oligarchy would have built for itself strongholds of privilege, and in which tyranny sought opportunity to make good its claim to receive submission from all competitors. Amidst this high warfare of principles, administration could command no pause for its own consideration. The question was always: Who shall make law, and what shall that law be? The other question, how law should be administered with enlightenment, with equity, with speed, and without friction, was put aside as "practical detail" which clerks could arrange after doctors had agreed upon principles. That political philosophy took this direction was of course no accident, no chance preference or perverse whim of political philosophers. The philosophy of any time is, as Hegel says, "nothing but the spirit of that time expressed in abstract thought"; and political philosophy, like philosophy of every other kind, has only held up the mirror to contemporary affairs. The trouble in early times was almost altogether about the constitution of government; and consequently that was what engrossed men's thoughts. There was little or no trouble about administration,--at least little that was heeded by administrators. The functions of government were simple, because life itself was simple. Government went about imperatively and compelled men, without

thought of consulting their wishes. There was no complex system of public revenues and public debts to puzzle financiers; there were, consequently, no financiers to be puzzled. No one who possessed power was long at a loss how to use it. The great and only question was: Who shall possess it? Populations were of manageable numbers; property was of simple sorts. There were plenty of farms, but no stocks and bonds; more cattle than vested interests.

···

There is scarcely a single duty of government which was once simple which is not now complex; government once had but a few masters; it now has scores of masters. Majorities formerly only underwent government; they now conduct government. Where government once might follow the whims of a court, it must now follow the views of a nation. And those views are steadily widening to new conceptions of state duty; so that, at the same time that the functions of government are every day becoming more complex and difficult, they are also vastly multiplying in number. Administration is everywhere putting its hands to new undertakings. The utility, cheapness, and success of the government's postal service, for instance, point towards the early establishment of governmental control of the telegraph system. Or, even if our government is not to follow the lead of the governments of Europe in buying or building both telegraph and railroad lines, no one can doubt that in some way it must make itself master of masterful corporations. The creation of national commissioners of railroads, in addition to the older state commissions, involves a very important and delicate extension of administrative functions. Whatever hold of authority state or federal governments are to take upon corporations, there must follow cares and responsibilities which will require not a little wisdom, knowledge, and experience. Such things must be studied in order to be well done. And these, as I have said, are only a few of the doors which are being opened to offices of government. The idea of the state and the consequent ideal of its duty are undergoing noteworthy change; and "the idea of the state is the conscience of administration." Seeing every day new things which the state ought

93010_01_ch01_p001-047.qxd

1/16/09

6:21 PM

Page 8

8

Chapter 1/ The Search for the Scope and Purpose of Public Administration

to do, the next thing is to see clearly how it ought to do them. This is why there should be a science of administration which shall seek to straighten the paths of government, to make its business less unbusinesslike; to strengthen and purify its organization, and to crown its duties with dutifulness. This is one reason why there is such a science. But where has this science grown up? Surely not on this side of the sea. Not much impartial scientific method is to be discerned in our administrative practices. The poisonous atmosphere of city government, the crooked secrets of state administration, the confusion, sinecurism, and corruption ever and again discovered in the bureaus at Washington forbid us to believe that any clear conceptions of what constitutes good administration are as yet very widely current in the United States. No; American writers have hitherto taken no very important part in the advancement of this science. It has found its doctors in Europe. It is not of our making; it is a foreign science, speaking very little of the language of English or American principle. It employs only foreign tongues; it utters none but what are to our minds alien ideas. Its aims, its examples, its conditions, are almost exclusively grounded in the histories of foreign races, in the precedents of foreign systems, in the lessons of foreign revolutions. It has been developed by French and German professors, and is consequently in all parts adapted to the needs of a compact state, and made to fit highly centralized forms of government; whereas, to answer our purposes, it must be adapted, not to a simple and compact, but to a complex and multiform state, and made to fit highly decentralized forms of government. If we would employ it, we must Americanize it, and that not formally, in language merely, but radically, in thought, principle, and aim as well. It must learn our constitutions by heart; must get the bureaucratic fever out of its veins; must inhale much free American air. If an explanation be sought why a science manifestly so susceptible of being made useful to all governments alike should have received attention first in Europe, where government has long been a monopoly, rather than in England or the United States, where government has long been a common

franchise, the reason will doubtless be found to be twofold: first, that in Europe, just because government was independent of popular assent, there was more governing to be done; and, second, that the desire to keep government a monopoly made the monopolists interested in discovering the least irritating means of governing. They were, besides, few enough to adopt means promptly.

···

The English race . . . has long and successfully studied the art of curbing executive power to the constant neglect of the art of perfecting executive methods. It has exercised itself much more in controlling than in energizing government. It has been more concerned to render government just and moderate than to make it facile, well-ordered, and effective. English and American political history has been a history, not of administrative development, but of legislative oversight,--not of progress in governmental organization, but of advance in law-making and political criticism. Consequently, we have reached a time when administrative study and creation are imperatively necessary to the well-being of our governments saddled with the habits of a long period of constitution-making. That period has practically closed, so far as the establishment of essential principles is concerned, but we cannot shake off its atmosphere. We go on criticizing when we ought to be creating. We have reached the third of the periods I have mentioned,--the period, namely, when the people have to develop administration in accordance with the constitutions they won for themselves in a previous period of struggle with absolute power; but we are not prepared for the tasks of the new period. Such an explanation seems to afford the only escape from blank astonishment at the fact that, in spite of our vast advantages in point of political liberty, and above all in point of practical political skill and sagacity, so many nations are ahead of us in administrative organization and administrative skill. Why, for instance, have we but just begun purifying a civil service which was rotten full fifty years ago? To say that slavery diverted us is but to repeat what I have said--that flaws in our Constitution delayed us.

93010_01_ch01_p001-047.qxd

1/16/09

6:21 PM

Page 9

Woodrow Wilson / The Study of Administration

9

Of course all reasonable preference would declare for this English and American course of politics rather than for that of any European country. We should not like to have had Prussia's history for the sake of having Prussia's administrative skill; and Prussia's particular system of administration would quite suffocate us. It is better to be untrained and free than to be servile and systematic. Still there is no denying that it would be better yet to be both free in spirit and proficient in practice. It is this even more reasonable preference which impels us to discover what there may be to hinder or delay us in naturalizing this muchto-be desired science of administration. What, then, is there to prevent? Well, principally, popular sovereignty. It is harder for democracy to organize administration than for monarchy. The very completeness of our most cherished political successes in the past embarrasses us. We have enthroned public opinion; and it is forbidden us to hope during its reign for any quick schooling of the sovereign in executive expertness or in the conditions of perfect functional balance in government. The very fact that we have realized popular rule in its fullness has made the task of organizing that rule just so much the more difficult. In order to make any advance at all we must instruct and persuade a multitudinous monarch called public opinion,--a much less feasible undertaking than to influence a single monarch called a king. An individual sovereign will adopt a simple plan and carry it out directly; he will have but one opinion, and he will embody that one opinion in one command. But this other sovereign, the people, will have a score of differing opinions. They can agree upon nothing simple: advance must be made through compromise, by a compounding of differences, by a trimming of plans and a suppression of too straightforward principles. There will be a succession of resolves running through a course of years, a dropping fire of commands running through a whole gamut of modifications. In government, as in virtue, the hardest of hard things is to make progress. Formerly the reason for this was that the single person who was sovereign was generally either selfish, ignorant, timid, or a fool,--albeit there was now and again one who was

wise. Nowadays the reason is that the many, the people, who are sovereign have no single ear which one can approach, and are selfish, ignorant, timid, stubborn, or foolish with the selfishnesses, the ignorances, the stubbornnesses, the timidities, or the follies of several thousand persons,--albeit there are hundreds who are wise. Once the advantage of the reformer was that the sovereign's mind had a definite locality, that it was contained in one man's head, and that consequently it could be gotten at; though it was his disadvantage that that mind learned only reluctantly or only in small quantities, or was under the influence of someone who let it learn only the wrong things. Now, on the contrary, the reformer is bewildered by the fact that the sovereign's mind has no definite locality, but is contained in a voting majority of several million heads; and embarrassed by the fact that the mind of this sovereign also is under the influence of favorites, who are none the less favorites in a good old-fashioned sense of the word because they are not persons but preconceived opinions; i.e., prejudices which are not to be reasoned with because they are not the children of reason. Wherever regard for public opinion is a first principle of government, practical reform must be slow and all reform must be full of compromises. For wherever public opinion exists it must rule. This is now an axiom half the world over, and will presently come to be believed even in Russia. Whoever would effect a change in a modern constitutional government must first educate his fellow-citizens to want some change. That done, he must persuade them to want the particular change he wants. He must first make public opinion willing to listen and then see to it that it listen to the right things. He must stir it up to search for an opinion, and then manage to put the right opinion in its way. The first step is not less difficult than the second. With opinions, possession is more than nine points of the law. It is next to impossible to dislodge them. Institutions which one generation regards as only a makeshift approximation to the realization of a principle, the next generation honors as the nearest possible approximation to that principle, and the next worships as the principle itself. It takes scarcely three generations for the apotheosis. The grandson accepts

93010_01_ch01_p001-047.qxd

1/16/09

6:21 PM

Page 10

10

Chapter 1/ The Search for the Scope and Purpose of Public Administration

his grandfather's hesitating experiment as an integral part of the fixed constitution of nature. Even if we had clear insight into all the political past, and could form out of perfectly instructed heads a few steady, infallible, placidly wise maxims of government into which all sound political doctrine would be ultimately resolvable, would the country act on them? That is the question. The bulk of mankind is rigidly unphilosophical, and nowadays the bulk of mankind votes. A truth must become not only plain but also commonplace before it will be seen by the people who go to their work very early in the morning; and not to act upon it must involve great and pinching inconveniences before these same people will make up their minds to act upon it. And where is this unphilosophical bulk of mankind more multifarious in its composition than in the United States? To know the public mind of this country, one must know the mind, not of Americans of the older stocks only, but also of Irishmen, of Germans, of Negroes. In order to get a footing for new doctrine, one must influence minds cast in every mould of race, minds inheriting every bias of environment, warped by the histories of a score of different nations, warmed or chilled, closed or expanded by almost every climate of the globe.

···

II.

The field of administration is a field of business. It is removed from the hurry and strife of politics; it at most points stands apart even from the debatable ground of constitutional study. It is a part of political life only as the methods of the counting-house are a part of the life of society; only as machinery is part of the manufactured product. But it is, at the same time, raised very far above the dull level of mere technical detail by the fact that through its greater principles it is directly connected with the lasting maxims of political wisdom, the permanent truths of political progress. The object of administrative study is to rescue executive methods from the confusion and costliness of

empirical experiment and set them upon foundations laid deep in stable principle. It is for this reason that we must regard civil service reform in its present stages as but a prelude to a fuller administrative reform. We are now rectifying methods of appointment; we must go on to adjust executive functions more fitly and to prescribe better methods of executive organization and action. Civil service reform is thus but a moral preparation for what is to follow. It is clearing the moral atmosphere of official life by establishing the sanctity of public office as a public trust, and, by making the service unpartisan, it is opening the way for making it businesslike. By sweetening its motives it is rendering it capable of improving its methods of work. Let me expand a little what I have said of the province of administration. Most important to be observed is the truth already so much and so fortunately insisted upon by our civil service reformers; namely, that administration lies outside the proper sphere of politics. Administrative questions are not political questions. Although politics sets the tasks for administration, it should not be suffered to manipulate its offices. This is distinction of high authority; eminent German writers insist upon it as of course. Bluntschli, for instance, bids us separate administration alike from politics and from law. Politics, he says, is state activity "in things great and universal," while "administration, on the other hand," is "the activity of the state in individual and small things. Politics is thus the special province of the statesman, administration of the technical official." "Policy does nothing without the aid of administration"; but administration is not therefore politics. But we do not require German authority for this position; this discrimination between administration and politics is now, happily, too obvious to need further discussion. There is another distinction which must be worked into all our conclusions, which, though but another side of that between administration and politics, is not quite so easy to keep sight of; I mean the distinction between constitutional and administrative questions, between those governmental adjustments which are essential to constitutional principle and those which are merely instrumental to the possibly changing purposes of a wisely adapting convenience.

93010_01_ch01_p001-047.qxd

1/16/09

6:21 PM

Page 11

Woodrow Wilson / The Study of Administration

11

One cannot easily make clear to every one just where administration resides in the various departments of any practicable government without entering upon particulars so numerous as to confuse and distinctions so minute as to distract. No lines of demarcation, setting apart administrative from nonadministrative functions, can be run between this and that department of government without being run up hill and down dale, over dizzy heights of distinction and through dense jungles of statutory enactment, hither and thither around "ifs" and "buts," "whens" and "howevers," until they become altogether lost to the common eye not accustomed to this sort of surveying, and consequently not acquainted with the use of the theodolite of logical discernment. A great deal of administration goes about incognito to most of the world, being confounded now with political "management," and again with constitutional principle. Perhaps this case of confusion may explain such utterances as that of Niebuhr's: "Liberty," he says, "depends incomparably more upon administration than upon constitution." At first sight this appears to be largely true. Apparently facility in the actual exercise of liberty does depend more upon administrative arrangements than upon constitutional guarantees; although constitutional guarantees alone secure the existence of liberty. But--upon second thought--is even so much as this true? Liberty no more consists in easy functional movement than intelligence consists in the ease and vigor with which the limbs of a strong man move. The principles that rule within the man, or the constitution, are the vital springs of liberty or servitude. Because dependence and subjection are without chains, are lightened by every easy-working device of considerate, paternal government, they are not thereby transformed into liberty. Liberty cannot live apart from constitutional principle; and no administration, however perfect and liberal its methods, can give men more than a poor counterfeit of liberty if it rest upon illiberal principles of government. A clear view of the difference between the province of constitutional law and the province of administrative function ought to leave no room for misconception; and it is possible to name some roughly definite criteria upon which such a view can be built. Public administration is detailed and systematic execution of

public law. Every particular application of general law is an act of administration. The assessment and raising of taxes, for instance, the hanging of a criminal, the transportation and delivery of the mails, the equipment and recruiting of the army and navy, etc., are all obviously acts of administration; but the general laws which direct these things to be done are as obviously outside of and above administration. The broad plans of governmental action are not administrative; the detailed execution of such plans is administrative. Constitutions, therefore, properly concern themselves only with those instrumentalities of government which are to control general law. Our federal Constitution observes this principle in saying nothing of even the greatest of the purely executive offices, and speaking only of that President of the Union who was to share the legislative and policy-making functions of government, only of those judges of highest jurisdiction who were to interpret and guard its principles, and not of those who were merely to give utterance to them. This is not quite the distinction between Will and answering Deed, because the administrator should have and does have a will of his own in the choice of means for accomplishing his work. He is not and ought not to be a mere passive instrument. The distinction is between general plans and special means. There is, indeed, one point at which administrative studies trench on constitutional ground--or at least upon what seems constitutional ground. The study of administration, philosophically viewed, is closely connected with the study of the proper distribution of constitutional authority. To be efficient it must discover the simplest arrangements by which responsibility can be unmistakably fixed upon officials; the best way of dividing authority without hampering it, and responsibility without obscuring it. And this question of the distribution of authority, when taken into the sphere of the higher, the originating functions of government, is obviously a central constitutional question. If administrative study can discover the best principles upon which to base such distributions, it will have done constitutional study an invaluable service. Montesquieu did not, I am convinced, say the last word on this head. To discover the best principle for the distribution of authority is of greater importance, possibly, under

93010_01_ch01_p001-047.qxd

1/16/09

6:21 PM

Page 12

12

Chapter 1/ The Search for the Scope and Purpose of Public Administration

a democratic system, where officials serve many matters, than under others where they serve but a few. All sovereigns are suspicious of their servants, and the sovereign people is no exception to the rule; but how is its suspicion to be allayed by knowledge? If that suspicion could but be clarified into wise vigilance, it would be altogether salutary; if that vigilance could be aided by the unmistakable placing of responsibility, it would be altogether beneficent. Suspicion in itself is never healthful either in the private or in the public mind. Trust is strength in all relations of life; and, as it is the office of the constitutional reformer to create conditions of trustfulness, so it is the office of the administrative organizer to fit administration with conditions of clear-cut responsibility which shall insure trustworthiness. And let me say that large powers and unhampered discretion seem to me the indispensable conditions of responsibility. Public attention must be easily directed, in each case of good or bad administration, to just the man deserving of praise or blame. There is no danger in power, if only it be not irresponsible. If it be divided, dealt only in shares to many, it is obscured; and if it be obscured, it is made irresponsible. But if it be centred in heads of the service and in heads of branches of the service, it is easily watched and brought to book. If to keep his office a man must achieve open and honest success, and if at the same time he feels himself entrusted with large freedom of discretion, the greater his power the less likely is he to abuse it, the more is he nerved and sobered and elevated by it. The less his power, the more safely obscure and unnoticed does he feel his position to be, and the more readily does he relapse into remissness. Just here we manifestly emerge upon the field of that still larger question,--the proper relations between public opinion and administration. To whom is official trustworthiness to be disclosed, and by whom is it to be rewarded? Is the official to look to the public for his meed of praise and his push of promotion, or only to his superior in office? Are the people to be called in to settle administrative discipline as they are called in to settle constitutional principles? These questions evidently find their root in what is undoubtedly the fundamental problem of this whole

study. That problem is: What part shall public opinion take in the conduct of administration? The right answer seems to be, that public opinion shall play the part of authoritative critic. But the method by which its authority shall be made to tell? Our peculiar American difficulty in organizing administration is not the danger of losing liberty, but the danger of not being able or willing to separate its essentials from its accidents. Our success is made doubtful by that besetting error of ours, the error of trying to do too much by vote. Self-government does not consist in having a hand in everything, any more than housekeeping consists necessarily in cooking dinner with one's own hands. The cook must be trusted with a large discretion as to the management of the fires and the ovens. In those countries in which public opinion has yet to be instructed in its privileges, yet to be accustomed to having its own way, this question as to the province of public opinion is much more readily soluble than in this country, where public opinion is wide awake and quite intent upon having its own way anyhow. It is pathetic to see a whole book written by a German professor of political science for the purpose of saying to his countrymen, "Please try to have an opinion about national affairs"; but a public which is so modest may at least be expected to be very docile and acquiescent in learning what things it has not a right to think and speak about imperatively. It may be sluggish, but it will not be meddlesome. It will submit to be instructed before it tries to instruct. Its political education will come before its political activity. In trying to instruct our own public opinion, we are dealing with a pupil apt to think itself quite sufficiently instructed beforehand. The problem is to make public opinion efficient without suffering it to be meddlesome. Directly exercised, in the oversight of the daily details and in the choice of the daily means of government, public criticism is of course a clumsy nuisance, a rustic handling delicate machinery. But as super-intending the greater forces of formative policy alike in politics and administration, public criticism is altogether safe and beneficent, altogether indispensable. Let administrative study find the best means for giving public criticism this control and for shutting it out from all other interference.

93010_01_ch01_p001-047.qxd

1/16/09

6:21 PM

Page 13

Woodrow Wilson / The Study of Administration

13

But is the whole duty of administrative study done when it has taught the people what sort of administration to desire and demand, and how to get what they demand? Ought it not to go on to drill candidates for the public service? There is an admirable movement towards universal political education now afoot in this country. The time will soon come when no college of respectability can afford to do without a well-filled chair of political science. But the education thus imparted will go but a certain length. It will multiply the number of intelligent critics of government, but it will create no competent body of administrators. It will prepare the way for the development of a sure-footed understanding of the general principles of government, but it will not necessarily foster skill in conducting government. It is an education which will equip legislators, perhaps, but not executive officials. If we are to improve public opinion, which is the motive power of government, we must prepare better officials as the apparatus of government. If we are to put in new boilers and to mend the fires which drive our governmental machinery, we must not leave the old wheels and joints and valves and bands to creak and buzz and clatter on as the best they may at bidding of the new force. We must put in new running parts wherever there is the least lack of strength or adjustment. It will be necessary to organize democracy by sending up to the competitive examinations for the civil service men definitely prepared for standing liberal tests as to technical knowledge. A technically schooled civil service will presently have become indispensable. I know that a corps of civil servants prepared by a special schooling and drilled, after appointment, into a perfected organization, with appropriate hierarchy and characteristic discipline, seems to a great many very thoughtful persons to contain elements which might combine to make an offensive official class,-- a distinct, semi-corporate body with sympathies divorced from those of a progressive, free-spirited people, and with hearts narrowed to the meanness of a bigoted officialism. Certainly such a class would be altogether hateful and harmful in the United States. Any measures calculated to produce it would for us be measures of reaction and of folly.

But to fear the creation of a domineering, illiberal officialism as a result of the studies I am here proposing is to miss altogether the principle upon which I wish most to insist. That principle is, that administration in the United States must be at all points sensitive to public opinion. A body of thoroughly trained officials serving during good behavior we must have in any case: that is a plain business necessity. But the apprehension that such a body will be anything unAmerican clears away the moment it is asked, What is to constitute good behavior? For that question obviously carries its own answer on its face. Steady, hearty allegiance to the policy of the government they serve will constitute good behavior. That policy will have no taint of officialism about it. It will not be the creation of permanent officials, but of statesmen whose responsibility to public opinion will be direct and inevitable. Bureaucracy can exist only where the whole service of the state is removed from the common political life of the people, its chiefs as well as its rank and file. Its motives, its objects, its policy, its standards, must be bureaucratic. It would be difficult to point out any examples of impudent exclusiveness and arbitrariness on the part of officials doing service under a chief of department who really served the people, as all our chiefs of departments must be made to do.

···

The ideal for us is a civil service cultured and selfsufficient enough to act with sense and vigor, and yet so intimately connected with the popular thought, by means of elections and constant public counsel, as to find arbitrariness or class spirit quite out of the question.

III.

Having thus viewed in some sort the subjectmatter and the objects of this study of administration, what are we to conclude as to the methods best suited to it--the points of view most advantageous for it? Government is so near us, as much a thing of our daily familiar handling, that we can with difficulty see the need of any philosophical study of it, or the exact

93010_01_ch01_p001-047.qxd

1/16/09

6:21 PM

Page 14

14

Chapter 1/ The Search for the Scope and Purpose of Public Administration

point of such study, should it be undertaken. We have been on our feet too long to study now the art of walking. We are a practical people, made so apt, so adept in self-government by centuries of experimental drill that we are scarcely any longer capable of perceiving the awkwardness of the particular system we may be using, just because it is so easy for us to use any system. We do not study the art of governing: we govern. But mere unschooled genius for affairs will not save us from sad blunders in administration. Though democrats by long inheritance and repeated choice, we are still rather crude democrats. Old as democracy is, its organization on a basis of modern ideas and conditions is still an unaccomplished work. The democratic state has yet to be equipped for carrying those enormous burdens of administration which the needs of this industrial and trading age are so fast accumulating. Without comparative studies in government we cannot rid ourselves of the misconception that administration stands upon an essentially different basis in a democratic state from that on which it stands in a non-democratic state. After such study we could grant democracy the sufficient honor of ultimately determining by debate all essential questions affecting the public weal, of basing all structures of policy upon the major will; but we would have found but one rule of good administration for all governments alike. So far as administrative functions are concerned, all governments have a strong structural likeness; more than that, if they are to be uniformly useful and efficient, they must have a strong structural likeness. A free man has the same bodily organs, the same executive parts, as the slave, however different may be his motives, his services, his energies. Monarchies and democracies, radically different as they are in other respects, have in reality much the same business to look to. It is abundantly safe nowadays to insist upon this actual likeness of all governments, because these are days when abuses of power are easily exposed and arrested, in countries like our own, by a bold, alert, inquisitive, detective public thought and a sturdy popular self-dependence such as never existed before. We are slow to appreciate this; but it is easy to appreciate it. Try to imagine personal government in the United States. It is like trying to imagine a national

worship of Zeus. Our imaginations are too modern for the feat. But, besides being safe, it is necessary to see that for all governments alike the legitimate ends of administration are the same, in order not to be frightened at the idea of looking into foreign systems of administration for instruction and suggestion; in order to get rid of the apprehension that we might perchance blindly borrow something incompatible with our principles. That man is blindly astray who denounces attempts to transplant foreign systems into this country. It is impossible: they simply would not grow here. But why should we not use such parts of foreign contrivances as we want, if they be in any way serviceable? We are in no danger of using them in a foreign way. We borrowed rice, but we do not eat it with chopsticks. We borrowed our whole political language from England, but we leave the words "king" and "lords" out of it. What did we ever originate, except the action of the federal government upon individuals and some of the functions of the federal supreme court? We can borrow the science of administration with safety and profit if only we read all fundamental differences of condition into its essential tenets. We have only to filter it through our constitutions, only to put it over a slow fire of criticism and distill away its foreign gases.

···

Let it be noted that it is the distinction, already drawn, between administration and politics which makes the comparative method so safe in the field of administration. When we study the administrative systems of France and Germany, knowing that we are not in search of political principles, we need not care a peppercorn for the constitutional or political reasons which Frenchmen or Germans give for their practices when explaining them to us. If I see a murderous fellow sharpening a knife cleverly, I can borrow his way of sharpening the knife without borrowing his probable intention to commit murder with it; and so, if I see a monarchist dyed in the wool managing a public bureau well, I can learn his business methods without changing one of my republican spots. He may serve his king; I will continue to serve the people; but I should

93010_01_ch01_p001-047.qxd

1/16/09

6:21 PM

Page 15

Woodrow Wilson / The Study of Administration

15

like to serve my sovereign as well as he serves his. By keeping this distinction in view,--that is, by studying administration as a means of putting our own politics into convenient practice, as a means of making what is democratically politic towards all administratively possible towards each,--we are on perfectly safe ground, and can learn without error what foreign systems have to teach us. We thus devise an adjusted weight for our comparative method of study. We can thus scrutinize the anatomy of foreign governments without fear of getting any of their diseases into our veins; dissect alien systems without apprehension of blood-poisoning. Our own politics must be the touchstone for all theories. The principles on which to base a science of administration for America must be principles which have democratic policy very much at heart. And, to suit American habit, all general theories must, as theories, keep modestly in the background, not in open argument only, but even in our own minds,-- lest opinions satisfactory only to the standards of the library should be dogmatically used, as if they must be quite as satisfactory to the standards of practical politics as well. Doctrinaire devices must be postponed to tested practices. Arrangements not only sanctioned by conclusive experience elsewhere but also congenial to American habit must be preferred without hesitation to theoretical perfection. In a word, steady, practical statesmanship must come first, closet doctrine second. The cosmopolitan what-to-do must always be commanded by the American howto-do-it. Our duty is, to supply the best possible life to a federal organization, to systems within systems; to make town, city, county, state, and federal governments live with a like strength and an equally assured healthfulness, keeping each unquestionably its own master and yet making all interdependent and cooperative, combining independence with mutual helpfulness. The task is great and important enough to attract the best minds. This interlacing of local self-government with federal self-government is quite a modern conception.

It is not like the arrangements of imperial federation in Germany. There local government is not yet, fully, local self-government. The bureaucrat is everywhere busy. His efficiency springs out of esprit de corps, out of care to make ingratiating obeisance to the authority of a superior, or, at best, out of the soil of a sensitive conscience. He serves, not the public, but an irresponsible minister. The question for us is, how shall our series of governments within governments be so administered that it shall always be to the interest of the public officer to serve, not his superior alone but the community also, with the best efforts of his talents and the soberest service of his conscience? How shall such service be made to his commonest interest by contributing abundantly to his sustenance, to his dearest interest by furthering his ambition, and to his highest interest by advancing his honor and establishing his character? And how shall this be done alike for the local part and for the national whole? If we solve this problem we shall again pilot the world. There is a tendency--is there not?--a tendency as yet dim, but already steadily impulsive and clearly destined to prevail, towards, first the confederation of parts of empires like the British, and finally of great states themselves. Instead of centralization of power, there is to be wide union with tolerated divisions of prerogative. This is a tendency towards the American type--of governments joined with governments for the pursuit of common purposes, in honorary equality and honorable subordination. Like principles of civil liberty are everywhere fostering like methods of government; and if comparative studies of the ways and means of government should enable us to offer suggestions which will practicably combine openness and vigor in the administration of such governments with ready docility to all serious, well-sustained public criticism, they will have approved themselves worthy to be ranked among the highest and most fruitful of the great departments of political study. That they will issue in such suggestions I confidently hope.

93010_01_ch01_p001-047.qxd

1/16/09

6:21 PM

Page 16

16

Chapter 1/ The Search for the Scope and Purpose of Public Administration

READING 1.2

Introduction

Before going on to the case study, as normally happens in this text's concept-case methodology, which pairs concepts with cases throughout this book, let's look at one more conceptual overview that attempts to define what is the nature and substance of the study of public administration (as opposed to its practice). Unlike the Wilson essay, which is an argument for its development in 1887, the following piece by the author of this textbook tries to sketch the academic study of public administration from the vantage point of its broad historical evolution in America. He argues that public administration as a field of study is a product of a unique political tradition that he labels as "antistatist." This "antistatist" tradition permitted America to ignore this field until the late nineteenth century, but it arose as a response to the rapidly changing socio-political-economic environment throughout the twentieth century. Because much of the following essay attempts to define the field of American Public Administration by arguing that its outlook and values were--and still are--pervasively dominated by antistatism, it is worth briefly defining "statism" and "antistatism" as an introduction to this essay. What do those two terms mean? As one leading expert on this topic recently defined "state": A state is any set of relatively differentiated organizations that claims sovereignty and coercive control over a territory and its population, defending and perhaps extending that claim in competition with other states. The core organizations that make up a state include administrative, judicial, and policing organizations that collect and dispense revenues, enforce the constitutive rules of the state and society, and maintain some modicum of domestic order, especially to protect the state's own claims and activities.4 "Statism" therefore is doctrines and ideas that advocate strengthening the role and sovereignty of the state institutions in society. "Antistatism" is the opposite, namely, ideas and doctrines expressly hostile to these central governing institutions in society, which argue for reducing, limiting, even eliminating their role(s) and activities. As you read this "dragnet overview" of the study of Public Administration, you might ask yourself these questions: How does the field define itself today in contrast with Wilson's 1887 perspective? What are its basic values and outlooks? What are the central problems Public Administration is trying to address now in comparison to Wilson's era? How does the field today view the problem of relating politics and administration, by contrast to Wilson's essay?

4

Theda Skocpol, Protecting Soldiers and Mothers: The Political Origins of Social Policy in the United States (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1995), 43. Skocpol's conceptualization of "state," as she indicates in a footnote, draws heavily from the writings of Max Weber and Otto Hintz.

93010_01_ch01_p001-047.qxd

1/16/09

6:21 PM

Page 17

Richard J. Stillman II / The Study of Public Administration in the United States

17

Do you agree that "The Refounding Movement" is the correct label to describe Public Administration currently? If so, what are the implications for the practice of public administration?

The Study of Public Administration in the United States: "The Eminently Practical Science"

RICHARD J. STILLMAN II

The study of Public Administration* in the United States, unlike other nations, can be understood only within the context of a radically antistatist political tradition. The U.S. Constitution, the core framing document, says nothing about civil service, budgets, executive departments, planning, and yes, public administration, all essential to promoting effective government performance. Rather, the Great Charter of 1787 places a tangle of limits upon government action by means of federalism, separation of powers, periodic elections, enumerated powers, a bill of rights, and so forth--mainly aimed at negating public power, not enhancing it, in order to secure, in Thomas Jefferson's ringing words of the Declaration of Independence, "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." The Founders, to paraphrase Louis Hartz, were "locked into John Locke" (Hartz 1955). They framed the American Constitution premised on erecting a "night watchman"­style government by means of a strict "social contract" with the people to provide for only defense, courts, foreign affairs, trade relations, coin money, and little else. In turn, this new governing edifice was firmly founded upon a rock-hard Calvinism that viewed human nature as sinful due to Adam's fall so that no one can be

*

This essay was written especially for this volume. Because the English language does not differentiate between administrative institutional practice versus theory, the author follows Dwight Waldo's approach throughout this essay by capitalizing "Public Administration" when referring to ideas or theory of the study of this field, as opposed to lowercase for describing its practice and institutions.

trusted with power for very long. Or in Madison's apt sentence coined to support the separation of powers in Federalist No. 51, "Ambition must be made to counteract ambition" (Hamilton, Madison, and Jay 1961). An eighteenth-century enlightenment-inspired Constitution, based upon seventeenth-century Lockean politics and sixteenth-century Calvinist religion, makes it hard to accommodate twenty-first-century "positive" administrative action or thought. Indeed, the framers sought to stamp out anything that smelled of the slightest whiff of European-style statism, for their opponents, the antifederalists, were even more rabid on that subject--and they nearly won! America's belief in antistatism was further soundly reinforced over more than three centuries by waves of immigrants fleeing all sorts of oppressive regimes, from the Puritans in 1620 to the twentieth-century's escapees from fascism, communism, and numerous other varieties of "isms," all carrying a peculiarly virulent hostility towards statism. There were no stout advocates of Machiavelli's "Prince," Bodin's "divine right of kings," or Hobbes's "Leviathan." If there were any British Tories, the Revolutionary War chased them off to Canada or back to England for good in 1776! Quite by accident and no thanks to Adam Smith, the first century of American national life conspired to underscore that the notion "state" was not only "evil" but also unnecessary. Geographic isolation, a largely self-supporting rural populace, the absence of significant external threats, little need for sizable armed forces or social services, the frontier mentality, and the

93010_01_ch01_p001-047.qxd

1/16/09

6:21 PM

Page 18

18

Chapter 1 / The Search for the Scope and Purpose of Public Administration

lack of an industrial revolution created a unique hothouse environment where antistatism flourished with little challenge as the political norm. Perhaps Harvard sociologist Theda Skocpol most aptly characterized this odd situation: just as Prussia in the eighteenth century was less a state with an army than an army with a state, the early United States was "not so much a country with a post office, as a post office that gave popular reality to a fledging nation" (Skocpol 1996). During the 1830s and 1840s, three-quarters of all federal employees were postal workers, and until the Civil War, 85 percent of growth in the entire federal government occurred within that single department.

The Uniqueness of American Public Administration Thought

What does all this unrelenting antistatism have to do with the study of Public Administration in America? First, it explains why this academic field arrived so late on this side of the Atlantic. Without much necessity for public administration or its institutions and practices, why bother with Public Administration or its study and ideas? It took a century after the Constitution was written--in 1887, to be precise--for the first article to appear that merely advocated its study: Woodrow Wilson's now famous centennial essay, "The Study of Administration." It took another nearly four decades for the publication of the first American textbook: Leonard White's An Introduction to the Study of Public Administration (1926). Indeed, the growth of public administrative research and training of any significance was not until the 1930s and 1940s, or more than a century after the subject had been well established on the European continent. Contextual forces in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century forced Americans to build an administrative enterprise, like it or not, in response to the closing of the frontier; massive migration from abroad; rapid technological, urbanized, industrial change with concomitant jarring "economic booms and busts"; clashes between management and labor, and the drive for international markets abroad. Only then did the development of a professional civil service, military, and diplomatic corps become urgent new priorities.

Suddenly a prophetic phrase in Wilson's 1887 essay became meaningful: "It is getting harder to run a Constitution than frame one." Up to roughly the dawn of the new century, even well into the 1920s,Americans studied government as law, proper constitutional design, and political philosophy, largely salted with Lockean-Calvinistic-Jeffersonian-antistatism.Thus, its second unique quality: U.S. Public Administration appeared well after the U.S. administrative state became an established reality and "running the Constitution" a necessity. Most scholars date the building of theAmerican State between 1877 and 1920 (Skowronek 1982), and administrative ideas gelled only later.Again by stark contrast to continental Europe, where the development of both state and administrative sciences preceded democratic constitution-making, intense antistatism reversed the process inAmerica and so, as a result, first its constitution, next its state and then its study emerged. Third, unlike Europe's Public Administration, where top-down state-building fostered top-down, rational administrative sciences, American Public Administration "bubbled up" quietly and haphazardly from grassroots reforms, imbued with protestant "moral uplift" and "democratic idealism." It evolved in bits and pieces through the experimentation by a variety of local reform groups such as the National Civil Service League, National Municipal League, New York Bureau of Municipal Research, and more generally across the nation through the "bureau movement." To this day, American Public Administration Thought remains considerably more experimental, fragmented, inductive, applied, and reformist in caste and character compared with other countries. Again missing a sense of state, indeed vigorously opposed to it, any kind of top-down, rationalized administrative way of thinking would, for Americans, be out of the question, even inconceivable. Thus, both U.S. public administration as well as its Public Administration literally had to be built from the ground up by adding a civil service system here, an executive budget there, a council-manager plan over there, moving upward to the federal levels and toward a unique way of administrative thought that gelled under a label that today is called Public Administration. Fourth, unlike many nations, where the positive law tradition became a basic methodology for teaching and

93010_01_ch01_p001-047.qxd

1/16/09

6:21 PM

Page 19

Richard J. Stillman II / The Study of Public Administration in the United States

19

research, particularly to create and expand welfare states on the Continent during the nineteenth century (Raadschelders and Rutgers 1999), Americans, rooted in a common law tradition as well as in the fundamental law of its Constitution that largely negated public power, had to look elsewhere to find the substance and scope of, not to mention legitimacy for, its administrative ideas. Rather, the field of management along with scientific methods founded upon a sharp differentiation between politics and administration became its early intellectual framework, unique identity, as well as its "meat and potatoes" content. The two most important writings that so profoundly influenced early students, akin to Old and New Testaments for field, were Frank Goodnow's Politics and Administration (1900) and Frederick W. Taylor's The Principles of Scientific Management (1911). The former, as its title suggests, offered up a rationale for a clear-cut dichotomy upon which to found the new field. The latter, also as its title emphasizes, gave the emerging field both rational managerial methodology as well as "solid" scientific legitimacy to "do good" public administration, buttressed neatly by the popularity of business symbols during the progressive reform era. Again without a sense of state, Americans had little choice but to advance a clear dichotomy that would free up "clean" administration from messy and corrupt "machine politics" while pressing for "respectable" business and scientific methods. Though Goodnow's and Taylor's ideas may seem quaint, even far-fetched, today, they in fact provided necessary answers to very real, complex empirical issues of the times. As Frederick C. Mosher astutely observed: the developments that created "the management movement were in a considerable degree, a response [author's emphasis] to the conditions . . . [of] fragmentation of responsibilities; lack of unified leadership; political corruption and spoils. They were spawned in an era of reform, of progressivism, of growing professionalism and occupational specialization and faith in rationality and applied sciences" (Mosher 1976). Finally, public administration as well as Public Administration's origins and growth after the dawn of the twentieth century were directly related to the rapid

expansion of democracy in all phases of public life. The twentieth century saw successful progressive challenges to "boss rule" and machine politics, by the passage of women's suffrage, direct election of senators, initiative, referendum and recall measures, combined with the rising public demands for government regulation of business, social services, and the like. In turn, these powerful democratic forces only heightened existing issues of governance. In the words of historian Robert Wiebe, America became a "distended society" (Wiebe 1967) that, in response, demanded more, not less, administrative thought, research, and training in order to knit together an increasingly fragmented or segmented society. Whether these administrative ideas worked all that well, let alone economically, efficiently, and effectively, is another matter, but again unlike other countries, American Public Administration Thought became-- and remains--a handmaiden of constitutional and democratic values. For without a preexisting stable state, its administrative ideas and institutions always had to be open for adjustment as well as to immediate shifting public interests. Therefore, U.S. administrative thought has never been--nor can ever be--defined as a fixed doctrine or set of doctrines but instead stays in flux, always chasing the shifting constitutional-democratic priorities of each new American generation. Thus too, Public Administration seems to transform itself into a new intellectual construct every generation, or every twenty years, often through highly innovative and creative methods, in order to respond to the pressing demands of the moment. Four eras of Public Administration, in retrospect, are apparent during the twentieth century, each with its distinct doctrines, ideals, theories, frameworks, methodologies, and agendas, largely shaped by the particular generational needs of that era: 1926­46, 1947­67, 1968­88, and 1989 to the present.

POSDCORB Orthodoxy, 1926­1946

The precise date for the intellectual birthing of American Public Administration can be considered 1926. In that year, the first American textbook appeared:

93010_01_ch01_p001-047.qxd

1/16/09

6:21 PM

Page 20

20

Chapter 1/ The Search for the Scope and Purpose of Public Administration

Leonard White's Introduction to the Study of Public Administration (1926). To be sure, after the turn of the century numerous basic texts were published on various functional fields such as city management, military administration, school administration, and business, but White's book stands out as a remarkable achievement. Here was the earliest volume offering Americans a subject labeled Public Administration. White's book succeeded as no other at gluing together various functional specializations as well as disparate ideas of Taylorism, Goodnow's dichotomy, and other administrative innovations under the rubric that we term today Public Administration. At the heart of White's theoretical synthesis was a POSDCORB way of thought that Luther Gulick, a decade later, most forcefully and fully articulated in The Papers on the Science of Administration (1937). The acronym stood for a logical sequence of steps for practicing "good" administration, ideally in the order in which they should be accomplished, namely, planning, organizing, staffing, directing, coordinating, reporting, and budgeting. In many aspects, it reflected an efficient military model of "good management" that White applied universally throughout American civilian government. POSDCORB certainly arrived at the right moment. Not only were the first graduate M.P.A. programs emerging and needing a basic text, beginning at the The Maxwell School, Syracuse University (1924) and University of Southern California (1928), but far more important, POSDCORB addressed as well as any alternative the twin crises of that era, the Great Depression and World War II. In the most turbulent period of the twentieth century, the nation confronted its worst economic and military conflicts back-to-back. How to plan, organize, staff, and so on, in order to cope with these unprecedented emergencies was indeed very real, and POSDCORB orthodoxy was near at hand for "the cure." Of course, what POSDCORB provided was a pretty stiff cure based upon a sharp separation of politics and administration, a no-nonsense Taylorism, applied in lockstep military fashion, ultimately raised to the highest levels of government, for reorganizing the presidency, thanks to the Brownlow Report or The Report of The President's Committee on Administrative Management

in 1937 (Karl 1963). Because Public Administration reached such visibility and prominence at the top levels of public life to deal successfully with the most pressing problems of those times, some later would envision it as "the golden age" for the field (Newland 1984). Perhaps an exaggeration, though on a deeper level, POSDCORB indeed did knit together a respectable intellectual framework for the new academic field. It also gave a common outlook and clear cause for a small but creative and committed band of academics who founded such key institutions as the Public Administration Clearing House (1930), the American Society for Public Administration (1939), and the Public Administration Review (1940), which significantly advanced research and teaching agendas for the field. POSDCORB further provided a cohesive and comprehensive academic rationale for setting up graduate programs advancing research as well as its applications throughout all levels of government, federal, state, local. In short, POSDCORB, as both an idea and a practice for doing "good" administration, allowed the field to begin, grow, and even flourish in national prominence in a manner that it never quite has achieved since. Yet, to the next generation of students, POSDCORB hardly seemed heroic, but rather full of contradictions--unscientific, value-laden, time-bound, and rigid, and hardly the best means to meet the needs of the postwar era. Of course, there were some persistent critics of the POSDCORB orthodoxy during the 1930s, such as Chester Barnard, Mary Parker Follett, Elton Mayo, Fritz Roethisberger, Ordway Tead, W. W. Willoughby, and "The Brookings Group." Yet, they remained distinct "outsiders" who were only later "discovered" in the postwar era by Public Administration Scholarship.

Social Science Heterodoxy, 1947­1967

Having won dual victories over the Great Depression and fascism, the United States by default became the postwar free world leader and over the next four decades engaged in a fierce Cold War with communism, at times turning into hot flash-points in Korea, Vietnam, and

93010_01_ch01_p001-047.qxd

1/16/09

6:21 PM

Page 21

Richard J. Stillman II / The Study of Public Administration in the United States

21

elsewhere. In James Fesler's fitting aphorism, "America rapidly shifted its concern from the Fascist Axis to the Communist Nexus" (Fesler 1975). In retrospect, it is hard to overestimate the profound influence of the Cold War in shaping American society as a whole as well as its public administration and its Administrative Sciences in particular. Just as the ancient Egyptian pyramids were products of slave labor harnessed for the greater glory of the Pharaoh's "hereafter," likewise fearful demons from abroad, fanned by popular press and political paranoia, drove postwar Americans into a self-protectionist frenzy of administrative state-building. Not only did a massive military-industrial complex emerge, as symbolized by the Pentagon, but also a host of domestic administrative activities were justified by national security needs such as the space program, educational assistance, scientific research, and even the largest public works project in the nation's history, the National Defense Highway Act (1955)--all in the name of beating the Russians! American Administrative Sciences became the direct beneficiary of public largess through the new necessities for government training programs to staff the civil service at all levels, as well by expanded funding for scientific and applied administrative research. American universities, driven by exploding enrollment of returning veterans, opened their doors to talented young professors, themselves often fresh from New Deal and wartime work, to teach, research, and rethink the field. Thus, teaching and research opportunities grew rapidly in higher education, particularly with the wider range of demands for international scholarship. For many administrative academics, especially those who had experienced public administration firsthand during the Great Depression and World War II and now were confronted with entirely different administrative challenges in the postwar world, prewar POSDCORB orthodoxy suddenly seemed ill-equipped to grasp the new administrative realities and deal with their essentials. In 1947 a young Yale political scientist, Robert Dahl, wrote a seminal Public Administration Review essay that perceptively and prophetically pointed out three central intellectual problems of prewar orthodoxy (Dahl 1947). In "The Science of Public Administration: Three

Problems," Dahl challenged Public Administration, first, to rethink its normative assumptions that had been based on the sharp dichotomy between politics and administration; second, to expand its conception of human behavior, beyond a view of a narrow, technical "rational man," in order to comprehend "the whole man" and thus explain more realistically how humans act within organizations; third, to embrace broader historical, economic, and social conditions, not merely techniques or technicians, as influential factors that affect administrative results. Dahl's orientation, or rather reorientation, of the field, by contrast to prewar orthodox values, stressed values of "realism," "behavioralism," and "scientific rigor." Herbert Simon's book Administrative Behavior: A Study of Decision-Making Process in Administrative Organization, also published in the same year (1947), made, however, the most profound and original theoretical impact on postwar administrative sciences in the United States (Simon 1947). For Simon, drawing upon logical-positivist, continental analytic philosophy, POSDCORB failed to live up to "true scientific methodology." His first chapter began with a slashing, if not dramatic, attack on POSDCORB principles, which he concluded were little more than "folk wisdom" or "proverbs" that confused "facts with values." Simon then set out ambitiously to refound the entire field on an entirely new interdisciplinary decision-making model, one he called "bounded rationality," to explain, as the book's title indicates, "administrative behavior." POSDCORB orthodoxy, as a result, would never look quite the same to anyone who read Simon's text. Under the withering intellectual crossfire of Dahl, Simon, and others of that generation, Dwight Waldo, Norton Long, James Fesler, Carl Friedrich, and Herman Finer, POSDCORB rapidly faded as the commonly accepted orthodoxy and soon became simply "posdcorb," or one among many competing ideas to explain the field. By the 1950s a rich infusion of a new variety of social sciences into Public Administration from economics, political sciences, psychology, comparative studies, decision-sciences, business, and elsewhere turned the field into a dizzying array of heterodoxies in order to both comprehend and to cope with enormous administrative challenges at home and

93010_01_ch01_p001-047.qxd

1/16/09

6:21 PM

Page 22

22

Chapter 1/ The Search for the Scope and Purpose of Public Administration

overseas. In the process, American Public Administration became far broader, less parochial, more theoretical, even academically more respectable, enriched by multiple doctrines, methodologies, ideas, new data, as well as factual information. The field also gravitated increasingly into formal university settings, especially within the social sciences, as opposed to prewar dominance by practitioners or academics with mostly applied backgrounds. Furthermore, its way of thinking and its dominant values became more dynamic and process-oriented, again emphasizing "realism," "behavioralism," and "science," by comparison to its prewar values, with more stable, Newtonian-like application of fixed POSDCORB Principles for understanding and doing "good" public administration. Indeed, what was "good" public administration turned out to be less certain, more problematic, and relative, no longer confined to promoting only twin Es of economy and efficiency. "Effectiveness," at best a slippery value, found favor at the core of many heterodoxies, either as part of a new trilogy of Es that combined the old Es and a new E, or as a standalone value orientation. One does not have to dig very deeply into the writings of several of the leading scholars during this period--Frederick Mosher, Paul Appleby, Don Price, and others--to find their value emphasis on "institutional effectiveness," not to mention "realism," "behavioralism," and "rigor." Likewise, the basic texts in the 1950s, such as those authored by John Pfiffner or Felix Nigro, or even Leonard White's textbook, then in its fourth edition, echoed such thinking and were popular no doubt because they spoke forcefully and thoughtfully to the continuing administrative demands of state-building during the Cold War.

The Reassertion of Democratic Idealism, 1968­1988

As this essay has underscored from the outset, rejection of statism has deep roots in American soil, yet no era during the twentieth century of U.S. Public Administration witnessed a more intense outpouring of antistatism literature than from the late 1960s to the late 1980s. The reasons for the outbreak of rabid antistatism during that generation remain unclear even

today. Perhaps it was caused by a backlash to perceived administrative misdeeds in Vietnam or Watergate--or later, Irangate? Was it due to the popularity of the counterculture? The widespread media criticisms of government? Growth of the civil rights, environmental, consumer, feminist, and gay movements? Assassinations of charismatic figures like President John F. Kennedy and the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.? Dashed hopes from program failures in the New Frontier and the Great Society? Or Presidents Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan waging successful campaigns against Washington, D.C. and Big Government? Whatever the causes, Herbert Kaufman characterized this period by the title of a lead essay in the Public Administration Review, "Fear of Bureaucracy: A Raging Pandemic" (Kaufman 1981). Or in the words of Samuel P. Huntington, the 1960s and early 1970s inaugurated "a democratic surge" that was similar to the eras of Jefferson-Jacksonian democracy and Progressive Reform, in which "there was a vital reassertion of democratic idealism in all phases of American public life" (Huntington 1975). The 1968 Minnowbrook Conference best symbolized the starting point of this shift toward democratic idealism within Public Administration. It was named for Syracuse University's Minnowbrook Conference Center, where the meeting took place during the warm summer of 1968, ironically not too distant from Woodstock, an even more noteworthy symbol of a generational gathering of that era. Minnowbrook involved mostly under-thirty-year-old academics, largely from political science. Their conference papers that were later published argued for the field to adopt fresh intellectual perspectives, or for a "new public administration," based on ideals of participation, consensus-building, sharing ideas, mutual trust, and even "love of mankind" (Marini 1971). These "young turks" exhibited particular hostility toward traditional public administration aimed at statebuilding and toward enhancing administrative efficiency, economy, and effectiveness as embodied in POSDCORB, as well as newer rational techniques such as operations research, decision-sciences, systems theory, PPBS, MBO, or other techno-professional inventions stressing rationality, science, behaviorism, realism, or any sort of hard empirical quantitative

93010_01_ch01_p001-047.qxd

1/16/09

6:21 PM

Page 23

Richard J. Stillman II / The Study of Public Administration in the United States

23

methodologies. Unlike the "young turks" in the late 1940s, Dahl, Simon, and others, who had revolted against POSDCORB precisely because they saw it had failed to accurately describe postwar administration sciences and deal with what they believed were new postwar administrative priorities, these late-1960s "young turks" (few of whom had worked in or even had held degrees in public administration) saw POSDCORB as all too real, too powerful, too much the embodiment of the establishment and therefore fundamentally detrimental to egalitarian, democratic, humane values. If the New Public Administration challenged the prior generational way of thinking from the left, public choice economics did so even more fiercely and profoundly from the right. In the same year as Minnowbrook, Indiana University Professor Vincent Ostrom began writing The Intellectual Crisis in American Public Administration (Ostrom 1973). More than any other single book, Ostrom introduced and advanced public choice doctrines throughout the field. Much like the Minnowbrookers, but using a far different vocabulary and scientific paradigm, Ostrom frontally assaulted older state-building ideas that he labeled as "The Wilson-Weber Paradigm" with its "single-centered administration," "hierarchical structures," and "sharp separation of politics and administration." Based on his reading, or rather rereading, of The Federalist Papers, Alexis de Tocqueville's Democracy in America, and the growing literature in a new economic subfield of public choice, Ostrom advocated a radically antistatist alternative, one he called "the Democratic Administrative Paradigm." Here was the very reverse of "Wilson-Weber" featuring "diverse decision-making centers," "popular participation," and "fragmented, overlapping, decentralized authority." In brief, Ostrom sought to enhance "public choice"--or read it as "individual choice"--using economic language and economic methods applied with fierce antigovernmental zeal. So if Minnowbrook and Ostrom best symbolized the "democratic temper of the times"--or was it distemper?--what distinctive marks did such literature leave on the field? Briefly, seven legacies come to mind:

1. Clashing moral absolutes: No longer did science, realism and behaviorism hold the dominant intellectual center, but new ideological stridency appeared throughout Public Administration thought as epitomized by the clashing moral absolutes of democratic ideals inherent in Minnowbrook and Public Choice thinking. 2. The new two Es and one L: If the two prior generations had promoted economy, efficiency and effectiveness, new key values emerged as dominant, mainly aimed to limit or control bureaucratic discretion and broaden democratic participation. Thus, ethical, legal, and economizing constraints on government due to "fear of bureaucracy" became paramount concerns and spawned a new infusion of ethics, law, and economics classes and texts throughout Public Administration Education. 3. A cry for relevancy: Both Minnowbrook and The Intellectual Crisis began by attacking the old orthodoxies as irrelevant for addressing the pressing problem of the late 1960s and early 1970s. Public Administration, its label and content, suddenly appeared old-fashioned and out of touch for many in this new generation. Alternative labels, often with far different connotations and implications, grew increasingly into favor--for example, public management, public affairs, public policy, and implementation, under which "bread and butter" Administration Sciences came to be taught. 4. The fragmentation--or decline?--of generalist Public Administration: Concomitant with the rise of more specialized approaches often emphasizing policy implementation and management, generalist Public Administration education and research declined in academic status, especially at major universities that had been longtime leaders, like Harvard, Berkeley, or Chicago. They shifted to becoming "policy schools" with their own professional associations and journals. Generalist associations, like the American Society for Public Administration, that had served as the focus for academic-practitioner exchange since 1940, no longer were dominant or were active at the forefront of the field. ASPA increasingly seemed to be

93010_01_ch01_p001-047.qxd

1/16/09

6:21 PM

Page 24

24

Chapter 1/ The Search for the Scope and Purpose of Public Administration

displaced by narrower, more specialized groups dealing with aspects of Public Administration, such as the National Academy of Public Administration, or the National Association of Schools of Public Administration. 5. The proliferation of subfields and techniques: As specialization grew, new subfields and subsubfields emerged as important to teach and train public administrators, often under functional fields like criminal justice, health, or public works. Techniques such as ZBB, MBO, or OD were popularized and proliferated into a vast hodgepodge of often faddish, unrelated techniques with problematic aims. 6. A field in intellectual crisis? Ostrom's book title perhaps most succinctly captured the mood of the times (no doubt why, in large part, it became such a popular text), for indeed many academics felt that the field was on the verge of "flying apart" and experiencing "a profound intellectual crisis." With the combination of declining status, increasing specialization, and faddishness, what was unique about "public administration," even what defined "public" or the study of government, became more problematic, a murky enigma, at least to many old hands, not to mention those new to the field. 7. A widening gap between theory and practice: If the pre­ and post­World War II eras mingled and mixed administrative academics and practitioners with relative ease, due to a degree of shared purposes between both, this era by contrast, 1968 to 1988, saw a much sharper differentiation. As the academic enterprise grew larger, more diverse, and more predicated on "publish or perish," with little or no common concerns for public service or for the advancement of the public interest, "the academy" became more remote, often devoting itself more to theory, with limited exposure to practice and the immediate needs of practitioners. This widening gap served to enrich theory as well as various specializations, yet it also created vexing distances, divisions, and debates over just what is Public Administration: a field or focus? theory or practice? art or science? craft or profession? or what?

The Refounding Movement, 1989 to the Present Day

As the twenty-first century was about to dawn, once more the socio-political-economic-military landscape of the United States, indeed the world, dramatically changed. The fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 signaled the end of the Cold War and the collapse of communism. America suddenly assumed the unique role as the last global superpower, with far-flung security responsibilities. Along with the U.S. hegemony, or possibly because of it, a borderless, global economy prospered, along with the explosion of new information technologies, while serious environmental threats involving air, water, and solid waste also appeared on a worldwide, at times life-threatening scale. The lengthy list of such changes profoundly reshapes America's complexities and challenges of government. Certainly public administration, and its people, processes, and institutions, stand at the heart of helping or hindering the nation's present capacity to govern and to deal with this new policy agenda effectively. In response, Public Administration likewise seems to be entering a new era of refounding its basics. During the last decade or so, several clusters of academics have emerged to rethink fundamental questions such as, What is Public Administration? What is the meaning of the "good life" and "good society"? Who should govern, and how? What are the criteria for proper administrative actions--and what defines improper or unethical action? Should public administration be centralized and/or decentralized? What should be its size and scope within society? Should public administrators behave as servants of the people, or as free-wheeling entrepreneurs? Indeed, how can old concepts like the "public interest," "accountability," "responsibility," and "public welfare" be reframed and recast to respond to twenty-first­century needs? Right now the field seems to be in the midst of a yeasty debate over these and other seminal administrative questions. While the answers remain unclear, seven identifiable clusters or schools of thought with shared perspectives--frequently expressed through their own publications, associations and leading academics--are evident and influential today:

93010_01_ch01_p001-047.qxd

1/16/09

6:21 PM

Page 25

Richard J. Stillman II / The Study of Public Administration in the United States

25

1. The Reinventors: During the early 1990s clearly the first and most significant group to suggest fundamental alternatives was that associated with the ideas put forward by David Osborne and Ted Gaebler's Reinventing Government (1992). Their book, which became a popular best-seller and a major part of President Bill Clinton's plan to reform the federal government, advocated "a third way" or a challenge to what was referred to as "old-style big bureaucracy" and "free-market methods" for doing the "public's business." Rather, the authors suggest building the "entrepreneurial spirit" throughout government as their "answer." While the enthusiasm for "reinventing" had markedly declined by the late 1990s for various reasons, it nonetheless has had profound effects on the size, scope, methods, and way of thinking about public administration at all levels of government. 2. The communitarians: Communitarian ideas also became popular and influential in many quarters during the 1990s, largely due to the writings of academic sociologists such as Amatai Etzioni, William Galston, David Chrislip, and Philip Selznick. Unlike the "reinventors," made up mostly of consultants and practitioners focused on advancing pragmatic administrative reforms to enhance "efficient, entrepreneurial" government operations for "customers," communitarians wrestle with larger issues of rebuilding "community" and "citizenship." While they touch on few explicit administrative reforms, most of their voluminous writings do implicitly suggest administrative arrangements to nurture moral ties of family, strengthen bonds in neighborhoods and in the workplace, and encourage wider citizen participation as well as public service. 3. The VPI refounders: By contrast to the two aforementioned schools, the Virginia Polytechnic Institution (VPI) refounders are largely composed of senior scholars who have been closely associated throughout their careers with American Administrative Sciences: Gary L. Wamsley, Robert N. Bacher, Charles T. Goodsell, Philip S. Kronenberg, John A. Rohr, Camilla M. Stivers, Orion F. White, and James F. Wolf. Their twin multiauthored books Refounding Public Administration

(1990) and Refounding Democratic Public Administration (1996), while containing often contradictory and complex themes, seek nothing less than a fundamental philosophical, institutional, and theoretical refounding of the entire field (as both titles stress). Or in the words of Gary L. Wamsley, they sought to develop "a new normative theory of American public administration and . . . a theory of the American state . . ." (1990, p. 4). The authors provoke and challenge stereotypes as well as advance ambitious agenda for the entire field, but by no means do they offer clear-cut convincing strategies or alternative doctrines necessary to resolve deep issues of legitimacy or securing a stable place for public administration within the context of an antistatist society, at least so far. 4. The interpretivists: As direct heirs of the New Public Administration movement, interpretivists are oriented toward phenomenology, or "subjective-intersubjective relations, which they see undergirding the social constructions of reality." As their name suggests, they explore and interpret values, assumptions, and ideas concerning the very nature of being or human existence--that is, the study of ontology. Unquestionably these administrative theorists probe some of the deepest and most profound questions confronting the field. They also have some of the liveliest and most interesting debates over these questions, as represented within the pages of their peer-reviewed journal, Administrative Theory and Praxis; or as reflected in their well-attended annual PAT-NET conferences; or as found in several new books: Jay White, Taking Language Seriously (1999); Camilla Stivers, Bureau Men, Settlement Women (2000); Michael L. Spicer, Public Administration and the State (2001); Jun Jung, Rethinking Administrative Theory (2002); Hugh Miller, Postmodern Public Policy (2002); O. C. McSuite, Invitation to Public Administration (2002); and Richard Box, Public Administration and Society (2004). While probing and provoking, more than any other cluster of current administrative scholars, interpretivists remain the most removed from the mainline day-to-day world of practitioners.

93010_01_ch01_p001-047.qxd

1/16/09

6:21 PM

Page 26

26

Chapter 1/ The Search for the Scope and Purpose of Public Administration

5. The tools-makers: Technologists and technology have played major roles in shaping the field from its origins, as discussed before in this essay with Taylorism. Though due to the rise of implementation theory and policy studies, newer "hard" quantitative, analytical methodologies have appeared and have been applied throughout Public Administration research and training in recent years to better understand government programs theoretically and to better run them practically. One of the most innovative examples of this line of thinking was the creative product of several policy analysts, mainly associated with the Urban Institute, Beyond Privatization (1989), edited by Lester Salamon, and as further elaborated in his more recent edited work, The Tools of Government (2002). The authors offer a "new analytical framework" for understanding and evaluating government programs. Chapter by chapter, both books analyze various "tools of service delivery" by government. These authors advance new "analytic methods" with no right or wrong answers, only methods for weighing the costs and benefits of various service delivery alternatives. 6. New bureaucratic analysts: A rich vibrant stream of ideas and literature continues to advance Public Administration, largely from the pens of political scientists, on a broad range of political and policy issues associated with public bureaucracy, such as public accountability, oversight, control, power, institutional performance, and responsiveness to democracy and to interest groups. Prominent books from this "cluster" of contributors today include Paul Light, The Tides of Reform (1997); Sally Selden, The Promise of Representative Bureaucracy (1997); Robert Behn, Rethinking Democratic Accountability (2001); Martha Derthick, Up in Smoke (2002); Beryl Radin, The Accountable Juggler (2002); and Phillip Cooper, Governing by Contract (2003). These and numerous other junior and senior scholars thoughtfully continue to influence the field just as the young political scientist Woodrow Wilson once did beginning in 1887 with the very first American essay advocating the study of Public Administration. Their writings individually and collectively tend to

address the broadest and most profound political issues of the field: What is the relationship between politics and administration? What is the role of ethics in administration? How are good and correct policies made? Is the policy process for dealing with the pressing issues of today meeting "public needs" and securing "the public interest?" How best can bureacracy be held accountable? 7. From management to governance: Finally, many of the old themes of management have reappeared in writings by leading administrative scholars. Although no longer narrowly focused on advancing economy/efficiency, this literature emphasizes the vital importance of managerial effectiveness for delivering "public goods" within today's complicated political context. These works are often based upon extensive empirical evidence, drawing upon diverse contemporary literature and data, with far less rigid generic "models" recommended for "best practices" compared to early POSDCORB formulations [e.g., Norma Riccucci, Unsung Heroes (1995); Mark Moore, Creating Public Value (1995); Laurence Lynn, Public Management as Art, Science and Profession (1996); Patricia Ingraham et al., Government Performance (2003); and Hal Rainey, Understanding and Managing Public Organizations (1997).] Especially since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, flexible yet topdown management and organization models drawn from business and military command experiences have returned to favor in developing sound administrative practices, such as for the formation of the new federal Department of Homeland Security in 2002 or throughout the prosecution of the war in Iraq in 2003. Concomitantly, renewed popularity of applied management training through case analysis and other "how-to" techniques is evident in James M. Banovetz, ed., Managing Local Government, 2nd ed. (1998). Also, the shift of interest into international comparative public management has resurfaced, often under the label of "governance" rather than the older categories of comparative/international Public Administration--for instance, Don Kettl, The Transformation of Governance (2001), and B. Guy Peters, The Future of Governing, 2nd ed. (2001). Within such influential

93010_01_ch01_p001-047.qxd

1/16/09

6:21 PM

Page 27

Richard J. Stillman II / The Study of Public Administration in the United States

27

writings, Public Administration is depicted as operating in a much broader global context, often using open "networks," flexible "steering" instruments, high technologies, and specialized expertise from around the world, "outsourced" to numerous public, private, and nonprofit entities. Such trends clearly transform the field into a more complicated and expanded subject, yet one that remains central and significant for the future of twenty-first century government.

Conclusion: Public Administration As "The Eminently Practical Science"

What will the future hold for American Administration Sciences? If the past is any guide to the present--and to the future--U.S. Public Administration, unlike Public Administration elsewhere, will remain dominated by its own unique brand of inductive, experimental, reformist mindset, closely interconnected to the practicalities of coping with the immediate needs of democratic governance. Or in the best sense of Woodrow Wilson's opening lines of his famous 1887 essay, it will remain "the eminently practical science." Within a radically antistatist culture, U.S. Administrative Sciences have no alternative but to steadfastly persist at being open to change, elusive in form, pragmatic in content, a servant of democracy, and above all, keep a low profile. Born without a sense of state, as this essay repeatedly stressed, Americans only reluctantly bought into administrative state-building--and Administrative Sciences-- roughly a century after the U.S. Constitution was written. Thus, neither its administrative institutions nor academic enterprise seems quite legitimate, even today. Their deep-seated positive government prescriptions never fit well--or at all--with the negative government values embedded at the core of the Great Charter of 1787. Debates still rage in the serious literature about whether Public Administration as a field of study exists and what "it" is. Of course it exists, but with a sort of protean cast and character, as Table 1.1 summarizes,

that seems to transform itself into new shapes and purposes every generation, or on twenty-year cycles, to respond to the particular needs of the times. This unobtrusive adaptability to deal with the immediate public demands of the moment may well be U.S. Public Administration's greatest strength. Administrative study must always chase--and cope with--the elusive, shifting public priorities, yet remain a low-keyed, catch-as-catch-can field. Whether it "catches" up and then copes successfully, or at all adequately with the pressing issues of society, is another matter, but certainly today in the present period of the Refounding Movement, it continues to try. And so here within its very strength, one finds also the chief downside readily apparent: its very elusiveness and adaptability makes the field a questionable, indeed suspect, academic enterprise, one that continues to defy, even at the dawn of the twentyfirst century, authoritative definition or a settled place within higher education. Is it a subfield of political science? Part of business? Policy sciences? A separate field? Or what? One can certainly hear the refrains of all these value accents and methodological emphases from earlier eras in the current refounding movement: the business values apparent within the reinventors; Taylorite themes within the tools-makers; New Public Administration idealism within the interpretivists, political science within the new bureaucratic analysts, or POSDCORB within management proponents. Within each school, new administrative concepts are therefore emerging and then gelling, while old ones are declining or disappearing according to contemporary and quickly shifting societal needs--much like a bubbling brew where some bubbles rise whereas others fall seemingly at random. Possibly the various levels of external necessities (state-building needs of society) determine the internal intensity of the boiling bubbles (concept-creation by the academy)? In essence, the field's potential genius may well be that it is continuously "bubbling up" with multiple new perspectives for understanding, defining, and dealing with salient public issues of the here-and-now by means of its own brand of interdisciplinary hands-on conceptual creativity, while frequently being maligned as a marginal, unscientific academic player within contemporary American higher education.

Table 1.1 Four Eras of U.S. Public Administration Thought 28

Eras and Dates

POSDCORB Orthodoxy 1926­46

Social Science Heterodoxy 1947­67

Reassertion of Democratic Idealism 1968­88 Refounding Movement 1989 to Present

93010_01_ch01_p001-047.qxd

Key Shaping Events Depression and World War II Vietnam, Watergate, "fear of bureaucracy" Minnowbrook (1968) and Ostrom's book Democratic idealism New PA and public choice scholars Leonard White's textbook (1926) POSDCORB Leonard White and Luther Gulick Robert Dahl, Herbert Simon, Dwight Waldo, Frederick Mosher, and Don Price The Maxwell School, USC, and other "generalist" programs Applied "realistic and rigorous," interdisciplinary perspectives promoting institutional effectiveness National/international issues of the Cold War What is Public Administration? Applying ideas from business, economics, politics, history, and social sciences Rich infusion of social sciences; global influence; expanded views and ideas about the field "Policy schools" at Harvard or Berkeley, and "think tanks" at Heritage, AEI and CATO "Two Es and One L" Social sciences heterodoxy Dahl's essay and Simon's book (1947)

Cold War abroad; prosperity at home

America as last global superpower, end of cold war and fall of Berlin Wall First "refounding books" published (1989) Refounding movement Multiple "refounding" schools

Intellecual Benchmark Event and Date

1/16/09

Framing Administrative Idea

Leading Administrative Theorist(s)

6:21 PM

Major Institution(s) Promoting Ideas within Public Administration "The Chicago School," PACH, ASPA, PAR, White's text POSDCORB Principles rooted in "economy and efficiency," as well as politics-administration dichotomy Dealing with depression and wartime issues How to build and apply Administrative Sciences? Learning generalist management functions of POSDCORB Birth of field; highest visibility; creation of key institutions like ASPA and PAR

Professional associations such as NASPAA, ASPA, APSA, APPAM or PAT-NET In search of new legitimacy, conceptual framework and values

Page 28

Central Values of the Field

Main Orientation of Administrative Sciences

Ethical, economic, legal, oversight/control issues of bureaucracy Where is Public Administration? Training in numerous administrative techniques, concepts, and technologies New ideas of law, economics, implementation theory; analytical methods; rapid growth in size of field

In search of a new overall orientation What will be the field's new identity? "All depends" on a particular school's methods, perspectives, and theories Fundamental rethinking of "basics" like PA's legitimacy, purposes, etc.

Chapter 1/ The Search for the Scope and Purpose of Public Administration

Key Theoretical Question

Education Methods

Lasting Contributions

93010_01_ch01_p001-047.qxd

1/16/09

6:21 PM

Page 29

Richard J. Stillman II / The Study of Public Administration in the United States

29

References

Banovetz, J.M., ed. 1998. Managing Local Government, 2nd ed. Washington, D.C.: ICMA. Behn, R. 2001. Rethinking Democratic Accountability. Washington, D.C.: Brookings. Box, R.C., ed. 2004. Public Administration and Society. Armonk, N.Y.: M. E. Sharpe. Cooper, P.J. 2003. Governing by Contract. Washington, D.C.: CQ Press. Dahl, R.A. 1947. "The Science of Public Administration: Three Problems." Public Administration Review 7:1. Derthick, M. 2002. Up in Smoke. Washington, D.C.: CQ Press. Fesler, J.W. 1975. "Public Administration and the Social Sciences: 1946 to 1960." p. 98 in American Public Administration: Past, Present, Future, ed. F. C. Mosher. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press. Goodnow, F.J. 1900. Politics and Administration. New York: Macmillan. Gulick, L. 1937. "Notes on the Theory of Organization." p. 13 in Paper on the Source of Administration, ed. L. Gulick and L. Urwick. New York: Institute of Public Administration. Hamilton, A., J. Madison, and J. John. 1961. The Federalist Papers. New York: Mentor. Hartz, L. 1955. The Liberal Tradition in America. New York: Harcourt, Brace. Huntington, S.P. 1975. "The United States." pp. 74­75 in The Crisis of Democracy, ed. M. Crozier et al. New York: New York University Press. Ingraham, P.W., et al. 2003. Government Performance. Baltimore, Md.: Johns Hopkins Press. Jung, J. 2002. Rethinking Administrative Theory. Westport, Conn.: Praeger. Karl, B.D. 1963. Executive Reorganization and Reform in the New Deal. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Kaufman, H. 1981. "Fear of Bureaucracy: A Raging Pandemic." Public Administration Review 41(1): 1­9. Kettl, D. F. 2002. The Transformation of Governance. Baltimore, Md.: Johns Hopkins Press. Light, P. 1997. The Tides of Reform. New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press. Lynn, L.E., Jr. 1996. Public Management as Art, Science and Profession. Chatham, N.J.: Chatham House. Marini, F., ed. 1971. Toward a New Public Administration: The Minnowbrook Perspective. Scranton, Penn.: Chandler. McSuite, O.C. 2002. Invitation to Public Administration. Armonk, N.Y.: M. E. Sharpe.

Miller, H. 2002. Postmodern Public Policy. Albany: State University of New York Press. Moore, M. 1995. Creating Public Value. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press. Mosher, F.C. 1956. "Research in Public Administration." Public Administration Review 16 (Summer): 177. ------, ed. 1976. Basic Documents of American Public Administration, 1776­1950. New York: Holmes & Meier. Newland, C.A. 1984. Public Administration and Community: Realism in the Practice of Ideals. McLean, Va.: Public Administration Service. Osborne, T., and T. Gaebler. 1992. Reinventing Government: How the Entrepreneurial Spirit Is Transforming the Public Sector from the Schoolhouse to Statehouse, City Hall to the Pentagon. Reading, Mass.: AddisonWesley. Ostrom, V. 1973. The Intellectual Crisis in American Public Administration. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press. Peters, B.G. 2001. The Future of Governing, 2nd ed. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas. Raadschelders, J.C.N., and M.R. Rutgers. 1999. "The Waxing and Waning of the State and Its Study," in The Modern State and Its Study, ed. W. J. M. Kickert and R. Stillman. London: Edward Elgar, Chapter 2. Radin, B. 2002. The Accountable Juggler. Washington, D.C.: CQ Press. Rainey, H. 1997. Understanding and Managing Public Organizations, 2nd ed. San Francisco, Jossey-Bass Publishers. Riccucci, N. 1995. Unsung Heroes. Washington, D.C.: Georgetown University Press. Salamon, L.M., ed. 1989. Beyond Privatization: The Tools of Government Action. Washington, D.C.: Urban Institute Press. Salamon, L.M., ed. 2002. The Tools of Government. New York: Oxford University Press. Selden, S. 1997. The Promise of Representative Bureaucracy. Armonk, N.Y.: M. E. Sharpe. Simon, H.A. 1947. Administrative Behavior: A Study of Decision-Making Process in Administrative Organization. New York: Macmillan. Skocpol, T. 1996. "Presidential Address for the Annual Meeting of Social Science History Association," unpublished manuscript, p. 10. Skowronek, S. 1982. Building a New American State: The Expansion of National Administrative Capacities, 1877­1920. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Spicer, M.W. 2001. Public Administration and the State. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press.

93010_01_ch01_p001-047.qxd

1/16/09

6:21 PM

Page 30

30

Chapter 1/ The Search for the Scope and Purpose of Public Administration White, J. 1999. Taking Language Seriously. Washington, D.C.: Georgetown University Press. White, L.D. 1926. Introduction to the Study of Public Administration. New York: Macmillan. Wiebe, R.H. 1967. The Search for Order, 1877­1920. New York: Hill and Wang. Wilson, W. 1887. "The Study of Administration." Political Science Quarterly 2 (June): 197­222.

Stivers, C. 2000. Bureau Men, Settlement Women. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas. Taylor, F.W. 1911. The Principles of Scientific Management. New York: W.W. Norton. Waldo, D. 1948. The Administrative State: A Study of the Political Theory of American Public Administration. New York: Ronald Press. Wamsley, G., et. al. 1990. Refounding Public Administration. Newbury Park, Calif.: Sage. Wamsley, G., et al. 1996. Refounding Democratic Public Administration. Newbury Park, Calif.: Sage.

CASE STUDY 1 Introduction

The following story may shed some further insight into the role of public administration in modern society. The story, "The Blast in Centralia No. 5: A Mine Disaster No One Stopped," is an excellent account of a mine disaster that occurred three generations ago in Centralia, Illinois, killing 111 miners. This article is an unusual case study in public administration; not only does the author, John Bartlow Martin, carefully recount the facts of the catastrophe, but he also attempts to understand the reasons behind the disaster. In his search for clues, the writer reveals much about the inner complexities of the administrative framework of our modern society--a coal company sensitive only to profit incentives; state regulatory agencies inadequately enforcing mine safety legislation; federal officials and mine unions complacent about a growing problem; and the miners incapable of protecting themselves against the impending disaster. This is an example of administrative reality that, for some, will only confirm their suspicions about the inherent corruption of modern administrative enterprises. The victims died, they might argue, because the mine owners were only interested in profits, not in human lives. But is this the correct interpretation? Martin does not blame any one individual or even a group of individuals but stresses the ineffectiveness of the administrative structure on which all the disaster victims were dependent for survival. After reading this story you will probably be struck by how much modern society depends on the proper functioning of unseen administrative arrangements--for safeguarding our environment; for protecting the purity of our food; for transporting us safely by road, rail, or air; for sending us our mail; or for negotiating an arms limitations agreement at some distant diplomatic conference. All of us, like the miners in Centralia No. 5, rely throughout our lives on the immovable juggernaut of impersonal administrative systems. A functioning, ordered public administration, as this story illustrates, is an inescapable necessity for maintaining the requisites of a civilized modern society. As you read this selection, keep the following questions in mind: What does this case study tell us are the central problems and issues facing public administrators in their work? Why is government administration such a complex and difficult task, according to this study?

93010_01_ch01_p001-047.qxd

1/16/09

6:21 PM

Page 31

John Bartlow Martin / The Blast in Centralia No. 5: A Mine Disaster No One Stopped Given the themes and problems in this case study, how would you frame a suitable definition of the field of public administration? Does it "square" with Woodrow Wilson's or any of the more recent theories put forth in Stillman's prior essay? What does the case say about the special public obligations of public administrators compared to the obligations of those engaged in private administration? Finally, if you had actually been one of the leading administrative officials in the case-- Driscoll O. Scanlan, Dwight Green, or Robert Medill--what would have been your view of public administration, and how might such a perspective on administration have helped to shape the outcome of the story?

31

The Blast in Centralia No. 5: A Mine Disaster No One Stopped

JOHN BARTLOW MARTIN

Already the crowd had gathered. Cars clogged the short, black rock road from the highway to the mine, cars bearing curious spectators and relatives and friends of the men entombed. State troopers and deputy sheriffs and the prosecuting attorney came, and officials from the company, the Federal Bureau of Mines, the Illinois Department of Mines and Minerals. Ambulances arrived, and doctors and nurses and Red Cross workers and soldiers with stretchers from Scott Field. Mine rescue teams came, and a federal rescue unit, experts burdened with masks and oxygen tanks and other awkward paraphernalia of disaster. . . . One hundred and eleven men were killed in that explosion. Killed needlessly, for almost everybody concerned had known for months, even years, that the mine was dangerous. Yet nobody had done anything effective about it. Why not? Let us examine the background of the explosion. Let us study the mine and the miners, Joe Bryant and Bill Rowekamp and some others, and also the numerous people who might have saved the miners' lives but did not. The miners had appealed in various directions for help but got none, not from their state government nor

"The Blast in Centralia No. 5: A Mine Disaster No One Stopped" by John Bartlow Martin. Reprinted by permission of Harold Ober Associates Incorporated. Copyright 1948 by John Bartlow Martin. Copyright renewed 1975 by John Bartlow Martin.

their federal government nor their employer nor their own union. (In threading the maze of officialdom we must bear in mind four agencies in authority: The State of Illinois, the United States Government, the Centralia Coal Company, and the United Mine Workers of America, that is, the UMWA of John L. Lewis.) Let us seek to fix responsibility for the disaster. . . . The Centralia Mine No. 5 was opened two miles south of Centralia in 1907. Because of its age, its maze of underground workings is extensive, covering perhaps six square miles, but it is regarded as a mediumsmall mine since it employs but 250 men and produces but 2,000 tons of coal daily. It was owned by the Centralia Coal Company, an appendage of the Bell & Zoller empire, one of the Big Six among Illinois coal operators. . . . The Bell & Zoller home office was in Chicago (most of the big coal operators' home offices are in Chicago or St. Louis); no Bell & Zoller officers or directors lived at Centralia. There are in coal mines two main explosion hazards--coal dust and gas. Coal dust is unhealthy to breathe and highly explosive. Some of the dust raised by machines in cutting and loading coal stays in suspension in the air. Some subsides to the floor and walls of the tunnels, and a local explosion will kick it back into the air where it will explode and, in turn, throw more dust into the air, which will explode; and as this

93010_01_ch01_p001-047.qxd

1/16/09

6:21 PM

Page 32

32

Chapter 1 / The Search for the Scope and Purpose of Public Administration company officials. Not Scanlan; he waited outside, and down in the mine he talked with the miners, not the bosses. Other inspectors, emerging, would write their reports in the company office at the company typewriter. Not Scanlan; he wrote on a portable in his car. Widespread rumor had it that some inspectors spent most of their inspection visits drinking amiably with company officials in the hotel in town. Not Scanlan. Other inspectors wrote the briefest reports possible, making few recommendations and enumerating only major violations of the mining law. Scanlan's reports were longer than any others (owing in part to a prolix prose style), he listed every violation however minor, and he made numerous recommendations for improvements even though they were not explicitly required by law. Scanlan came to consider the Centralia No. 5 mine the worst in his district. In his first report on it he made numerous recommendations, including these: "That haulage roads be cleaned and sprinkled. . . . That tamping of shots with coal dust be discontinued and that clay be used. . . ." Remember those criticisms, for they were made February 7, 1942, more than five years before the mine blew up as a result (at least in part) of those very malpractices. Every three months throughout 1942, 1943, and 1944 Scanlan inspected the mine and repeated his recommendations, adding new ones: "That the mine be sufficiently rock dusted." And what became of his reports? He mailed them to the Department of Mines and Minerals at Springfield, the agency which supervises coal mines and miners. Springfield is dominated by the Statehouse, an ancient structure of spires and towers and balconies, of colonnades and domes; on its broad front steps Lincoln stands in stone. Inside all is gloom and shabby gilt. The Department of Mines and Minerals occupies three high-ceilinged rooms in a back corner of the second floor. The Director of the Department uses the small, comfortable, innermost office, its windows brushed by the leaves of trees on the Statehouse lawn, and here too the Mining Board meets. In theory, the Mining Board makes policy to implement the mining law, the Director executes its dictates; in practice, the Director possesses considerable discretionary power of his own. In 1941 Governor Green appointed as Director Robert M. Medill, a genial, paunchy, red-faced man of about sixty-five. Medill had gone to work in a mine at sixteen; he rose rapidly in management. He had a talent for making money and he enjoyed spending it.

chain reaction continues the explosion will propagate throughout the mine or until it reaches something that will stop it. The best method of stopping it, a method in use for some twenty-five years, is rock dusting. Rock dusting is simply applying pulverized stone to the walls and roof of the passageways; when a local explosion occurs it will throw a cloud of rock dust into the air along with the coal dust, and since rock dust is incombustible the explosion will die. Rock dusting will not prevent an explosion but it will localize one. Illinois law requires rock dusting in a dangerously dusty mine. Authorities disagreed as to whether the Centralia mine was gassy but everyone agreed it was exceedingly dry and dusty. The men who worked in it had been complaining about the dust for a long time--one recalls "the dust was over your shoetops," another that "I used to cough up chunks of coal dust like walnuts after work"--and indeed by 1944, more than two years before the disaster, so widespread had dissatisfaction become that William Rowekamp, as recording secretary of Local Union 52, prepared an official complaint. But even earlier, both state and federal inspectors had recognized the danger. Let us trace the history of these warnings of disaster to come. For in the end it was this dust which did explode and kill one hundred and eleven men, and seldom has a major catastrophe of any kind been blueprinted so accurately so far in advance. Driscoll O. Scanlan (who led the rescue work after the disaster) went to work in a mine near Centralia when he was 16, studied engineering at night school, and worked 13 years as a mine examiner for a coal company until, in 1941, he was appointed one of 16 Illinois state mine inspectors by Governor Green upon recommendation of the state representative from Scanlan's district. Speaking broadly, the job of a state inspector is to police the mine operators--to see that they comply with the state mining law, including its numerous safety provisions. But an inspector's job is a political patronage job. Coal has always been deeply enmeshed in Illinois politics. Dwight H. Green, running for Governor the preceding fall, had promised the miners that he would enforce the mining laws "to the letter of the law," and however far below this lofty aim his administration fell (as we shall see), Scanlan apparently took the promise literally. Scanlan is a stubborn, righteous, zealous man of fierce integrity. Other inspectors, arriving to inspect a mine, would go into the office and chat with the

93010_01_ch01_p001-047.qxd

1/16/09

6:21 PM

Page 33

John Bartlow Martin / The Blast in Centralia No. 5: A Mine Disaster No One Stopped He entered Republican politics in 1920, served a few years as director of the Department of Mines and Minerals, then returned to business (mostly managing mines); and then, after working for Green's election in 1940, was rewarded once more with the directorship. Green reappointed him in 1944 with, says Medill, the approval of "a multitude of bankers and business men all over the state. And miners. I had the endorsement of all four factions." By this he means the United Mine Workers and its smaller rival, the Progressive Mine Workers, and the two associations of big and little operators; to obtain the endorsement of all four of these jealous, power-seeking groups is no small feat. As Director, Medill received $6,000 a year (since raised to $8,000) plus expenses of $300 or $400 a month. He lived in a sizable country house at Lake Springfield, with spacious grounds and a tree-lined driveway. To Medill's department, then, came Driscoll Scanlan's inspection reports on Centralia Mine No. 5. Medill, however, did not see the first thirteen reports (1942­44); they were handled as "routine" by Robert Weir, an unimaginative, harassed little man who had come up through the ranks of the miners' union and on recommendation of the union had been appointed Assistant Director of the Department by Green (at $4,000 a year, now $5,200). When the mail brought an inspector's report, it went first to Medill's secretary who shared the office next to Medill's with Weir. She stamped the report [with date of receipt] . . . and put it on Weir's desk. Sometimes, but by no means always, Weir read the report. He gave it to one of a half-dozen girl typists in the large outer office. She edited the inspector's recommendations for errors in grammar and spelling, and incorporated them into a form letter to the owner of the mine, closing: "The Department endorses the recommendations made by Inspector Scanlan and requests that you comply with same. "Will you please advise the Department upon the completion of the recommendations set forth above? "Thanking you . . ." When the typist placed this letter upon his desk, Weir signed it and it was mailed to the mine operator. But the Centralia company did not comply with the major recommendations Scanlan made. In fact, it did not even bother to answer Weir's thirteen letters based on Scanlan's reports. And Weir did nothing about this. Once, early in the game, Weir considered the dusty condition of the mine so serious that he requested the company to correct it within ten days; but there is no evidence that the company even replied.

33

This continued for nearly three years. And during the same period the federal government entered the picture. In 1941 Congress authorized the U.S. Bureau of Mines to make periodic inspections of coal mines. But the federal government had no enforcement power whatever; the inspections served only research. The first federal inspection of Centralia Mine No. 5 was made in September of 1942. In general, the federal recommendations duplicated Scanlan's--rock dusting, improving ventilation, wetting the coal to reduce dust--and the federal inspectors noted that "coal dust . . . at this mine is highly explosive, and would readily propagate an explosion." In all, they made 106 recommendations, including 33 "major" ones (a government official has defined a "major" hazard as one that "could . . . result in a disaster"). Four months passed before a copy of this report filtered through the administrative machinery at Washington and reached the Illinois Department at Springfield, but this mattered little: the Department did nothing anyway. Subsequent federal reports in 1943 and 1944 showed that the "major" recommendations had not been complied with. The federal bureau lacked the power to force compliance; the Illinois Department possessed the power but failed to act. What of the men working in the mine during these three years? On November 4, 1944, on instructions from Local 52 at Centralia, William Rowekamp, the recording secretary, composed a letter to Medill: "At the present the condition of those roadways are very dirty and dusty . . . they are getting dangerous. . . . But the Coal Co. has ignored [Scanlan's recommendations]. And we beg your prompt action on this matter." The Department received this letter November 6, and four days later Weir sent Inspector Scanlan to investigate. Scanlan reported immediately: "The haulage roads in this mine are awful dusty, and much dust is kept in suspension all day. . . . The miners have complained to me . . . and I have wrote it up pretty strong on my inspection reports. . . . But to date they have not done any adequate sprinkling. . . . Today . . . [Superintendent Norman] Prudent said he would fix the water tank and sprinkle the roads within a week, said that he would have had this work done sooner, but that they have 20 to 30 men absent each day." (This last is a claim by the company that its cleanup efforts were handicapped by a wartime manpower shortage. This is controversial. Men of fifty-nine--the average wartime age at the mine--do not feel like spending weekends removing coal dust or rock dusting, a disagreeable task;

93010_01_ch01_p001-047.qxd

1/16/09

6:21 PM

Page 34

34

Chapter 1/ The Search for the Scope and Purpose of Public Administration quiet, well-furnished office near the top of the Bell Building overlooking Michigan Avenue, Young replied immediately to "Dear Bob" [Medill]: "As you know we have been working under a very severe handicap for the past months. The war demand for coal . . . we are short of men. . . . I am hopeful that the urgent demand of coal will ease up in another month so that we may have available both the time and labor to give proper attention to the recommendations of Inspector Scanlan. With kindest personal regards. . . ." A week later, on March 7, 1945, Medill forwarded copies of this correspondence to Scanlan, adding: "I also talked with Mr. Young on the phone, and I feel quite sure that he is ready and willing. . . . I would suggest that you ask the mine committee [of Local 52] to be patient a little longer, inasmuch as the coal is badly needed at this time." The miners told Scanlan they'd wait till the first of April but no longer. On March 14 Medill was to attend a safety meeting in Belleville. Scanlan went there to discuss Centralia No. 5 with him. According to Scanlan, "When I went up to his room he was surrounded with coal operators . . . all having whiskey, drinking, having a good time, and I couldn't talk to him then, and we attended the safety meeting [then] went . . . down to Otis Miller's saloon, and I stayed in the background drinking a few cokes and waited until the crowd thinned out, and went back up to his hotel room with him. . . . I told him that the mine was in such condition that if the dust became ignited that it would sweep from one end of the mine to the other and probably kill every man in the mine, and his reply to me was, `We will just have to take that chance.'" (Medill has denied these words but not the meeting.) On the first of April the president of Local Union 52 asked Scanlan to attend the Local's meeting on April 4. The miners complained that the company had not cleaned up the mine and, further, that one of the face bosses, or foreman, had fired explosive charges while the entire shift of men was in the mine. There can be little doubt that to fire explosives on-shift in a mine so dusty was to invite trouble--in fact, this turned out to be what later caused the disaster--and now in April 1945 the union filed charges against Mine Manager Brown, asking the State Mining Board to revoke his certificate of competency (this would cost him his job and prevent his getting another in Illinois as a mine manager). Rowekamp wrote up the charges: ". . . And being the Mine is so dry and dusty it could of caused an explosion. . . ."

winter colds caused absenteeism and miners are always laying off anyway. On the other hand, the company was interested in production and profits: as Mine Manager Brown has said, "In the winter you can sell all the coal you can get out. So you want top production, you don't want to stop to rock dust.") At any rate, Rowekamp's complaint got results. On December 2, 1944, he wrote Scanlan: "Well I am proud to tell you that they have sprinkled the 18th North Entry & 21st So. Entry and the main haulage road. . . . Myself and the Members of Local Union #52 appreciate it very much what you have done for us." It is apparent from this first direct move by Local 52 that Scanlan was working pretty closely with the Local to get something done. But by the end of that month, December 1944, the mine once more had become so dirty that Scanlan ended his regular inspection report, ". . . if necessary the mine should discontinue hoisting coal for a few days until the [cleanup] work can be done." But all Weir said to the company was the routine "The Department endorses. . . ." Early in 1945 it appeared that something might be accomplished. Scanlan, emerging from his regular inspection, took the unusual step of telephoning Medill at Springfield. Medill told him to write him a letter so Scanlan did: "The haulage roads in this mine are in a terrible condition. If a person did not see it he would not believe. . . . Two months ago . . . the local officers [of Local Union 52] told me that . . . if [the mine manager] did not clean the mine up they were going to prefer charges against him before the mining board and have his certificate canceled. I talked them out of it and told them I thought we could get them to clean up the mine. But on this inspection I find that practically nothing has been done. . . . The mine should discontinue hoisting coal . . . until the mine is placed in a safe condition. . . . The coal dust in this mine is highly explosive. . . ." This stiff letter was duly stamped "Received" at Springfield on February 23, 1945. A few days earlier a bad report had come in from Federal Inspector Perz. And now at last Medill himself entered the picture. What did he do? The Superintendent at Centralia had told Scanlan that, in order to clean up the mine, he would have to stop producing coal, a step he was not empowered to take. So Medill bypassed him, forwarding Scanlan's letter and report to William P. Young, Bell & Zoller's operating vice-president at Chicago: "Dear Bill. . . . Please let me have any comments you wish to make. . . . Very kindest personal regards." From his

93010_01_ch01_p001-047.qxd

1/16/09

6:21 PM

Page 35

John Bartlow Martin / The Blast in Centralia No. 5: A Mine Disaster No One Stopped Weir went to Centralia on April 17, 1945, but only to investigate the charges against Brown, not to inquire into the condition of the mine. He told the miners they should have taken their charges to the state's attorney. Nearly a month passed before, on May 11, Weir wrote a memorandum to the Mining Board saying that the company's superintendent had admitted the shots had been fired on-shift but that this was done "in an emergency" and it wouldn't happen again; and the Board refused to revoke Manager Brown's certificate. Meanwhile, on April 12 and 13, Scanlan had made his regular inspection and found conditions worse than in February. He told the Superintendent: "Now, Norman, you claim Chicago won't give you the time to shut your mine down and clean it up. Now, I am going to get you some time," and he gave him the choice of shutting the mine down completely or spending three days a week cleaning up. The Superintendent, he said, replied that he didn't know, he'd have to "contact Chicago," but Scanlan replied: "I can't possibly wait for you to contact Chicago. It is about time that you fellows who operate the mines get big enough to operate your mines without contacting Chicago." So on Scanlan's recommendation the mine produced coal only four days a week and spent the remaining days cleaning up. For a time Scanlan was well satisfied with the results, but by June 25 he was again reporting excessive dust and Federal Inspector Perz was concurring: "No means are used to allay the dust." Following his October inspection Scanlan once more was moved to write a letter to Medill; but the only result was another routine letter from Weir to the company, unanswered. Now, one must understand that, to be effective, both rock dusting and cleanup work must be maintained continuously. They were not at Centralia No. 5. By December of 1945 matters again came to a head. Scanlan wrote to Medill, saying that Local 52 wanted a sprinkling system installed to wet the coal, that Mine Manager Brown had said he could not order so "unusual" an expenditure, and that Brown's superior, Superintendent Prudent, "would not talk to me about it, walked away and left me standing." And Local 52 again attempted to take matters into its own hands. At a special meeting on December 12 the membership voted to prefer charges against both Mine Manager Brown and Superintendent Prudent. Rowekamp's official charge, typed on stationery of the Local, was followed next day by a letter, written in longhand on two sheets of dime-store notepaper, and signed by 28 miners. . . . At Springfield this communication too

35

was duly stamped "Received." And another Scanlan report arrived. Confronted with so many documents, Medill called a meeting of the Mining Board on December 21. Moreover, he called Scanlan to Springfield and told him to go early to the Leland Hotel, the gathering place of Republican politicians, and see Ben H. Schull, a coal operator and one of the operators' two men on the Mining Board. In his hotel room, Schull (according to Scanlan) said he wanted to discuss privately Scanlan's report on Centralia No. 5, tried to persuade him to withdraw his recommendation of a sprinkling system, and, when Scanlan refused, told him, "you can come before the board." But when the Mining Board met in Medill's inner office, Scanlan was not called before it though he waited all day, and after the meeting he was told that the Board was appointing a special commission to go to Centralia and investigate. On this commission were Weir, two state inspectors, and two members of the Mining Board itself, Schull and Murrell Reak. Reak, a miner himself, represented the United Mine Workers of America on the Mining Board. And Weir, too, owed his job to the UMWA but, oddly, he had worked for Bell & Zoller for twenty years before joining the Department, the last three as a boss, so his position was rather ambiguous. In fact, so unanimous were the rulings of the Mining Board that one cannot discern any management-labor cleavage at all but only what would be called in party politics bipartisan deals. The commission had before it a letter from Superintendent Prudent and Manager Brown setting forth in detail the company's "absentee experience" and concluding with a veiled suggestion that the mine might be forced to close for good (once before, according to an inspector, the same company had abandoned a mine rather than go to the expense entailed in an inspector's safety recommendation). Weir wrote to Prudent, notifying him that the commission would visit Centralia on December 28 to investigate the charges against him and Brown; Medill wrote to the company's vice-president, Young, at Chicago ("You are being notified of this date so that you will have an opportunity to be present or designate some member of your staff to be present"); but Medill only told Rowekamp, "The committee has been appointed and after the investigation you will be advised of their findings and the action of the board"-- he did not tell the Local when the commission would visit Centralia nor offer it opportunity to prove its charges.

93010_01_ch01_p001-047.qxd

1/16/09

6:21 PM

Page 36

36

Chapter 1/ The Search for the Scope and Purpose of Public Administration of their own union, the UMWA? Why not to John L. Lewis himself? One of them has said, "You have to go through the real procedure to get to the right man, you got to start at the bottom and start climbing up, you see? If we write to Lewis, he'll refer us right back to Spud White." Spud White is Hugh White, the thick-necked president of the UMWA in Illinois (District 12), appointed by Lewis. Now, Lewis had suspended District 12's right to elect its own officers during the bloody strife of the early 1930s, when the members, disgusted with what they called his "dictator" methods and complaining of secret payrolls, expulsions, missing funds, stolen ballots, and leaders who turned up on operators' payrolls, had rebelled; in the end the Progressive Mine Workers was formed and Lewis retained tight control of the UMWA. A decade later the Illinois officers of UMWA demanded that he restore their self-government, but Lewis managed to replace them with his own men, including Spud White. By 1946 President White, a coal miner from the South, was consulting at high levels with Lewis, he was receiving $10,000 a year plus expenses (which usually equal salary), and he was maintaining a spacious house on a winding lane in the finest residential suburb of Springfield, a white house reached by a circular drive through weeping willows and evergreens. Evidently the perplexed miners at Centralia already had appealed to District 12 for help, that is to White. Certainly Murrell Reak, the UMWA's man on the Mining Board and a close associate of White's, had asked Weir to furnish him with a copy of the findings of the special commission: "I want them so I may show the district UMWA. So they in turn may write Local Union down there, and show them that their charges are unfounded or rather not of a nature as to warrant the revocation of mine mgr. Certificate. . . ." Jack Ripon, the bulky vice-president of District 12 and White's righthand man, said recently, "We heard there'd been complaints but we couldn't do a thing about it; it was up to the Mining Department to take care of it." And yet in the past the UMWA has stepped in when the state failed to act. One unionist has said, "White could have closed that mine in twenty-four hours. All he'd have had to do was call up Medill and tell him he was going to pull every miner in the state if they didn't clean it up. It's the union's basic responsibility--if you don't protect your own wife and daughter, your neighbor down the street's not going to do it."

Rowekamp, a motorman, recalls how he first learned of the special commission's visit. He was working in the mine and "Prudent told me to set out an empty and I did and they rode out." Prudent--remember, the commission was investigating charges against Prudent--led the commission through the mine. Rowekamp says, "They didn't see nothing. They didn't get back in the buggy runs where the dust was the worst; they stayed on the mainline." Even there they rode, they did not walk through the dust. Riding in a mine car, one must keep one's head down. In the washhouse that afternoon the men were angry. They waited a week or two, then wrote to Medill asking what had been done. On January 22, 1946, Medill replied: the Mining Board, adopting the views of the special commission, had found "insufficient evidence" to revoke the certificates of Prudent and Brown. He did not elaborate. Next day, however, he sent to Scanlan a copy of the commission's report. It listed several important violations of the mining law: inadequate rock dusting, illegal practice in opening rooms, insufficient or improperly placed telephones, more than a hundred men working on a single split, or current, of air. In fact, the commission generally concurred with Scanlan, except that it did not emphasize dust nor recommend a sprinkling system. Thus in effect it overruled Scanlan on his sprinkling recommendation, a point to remember. It did find that the law was being violated yet it refused to revoke the certificates of the Superintendent and the Mine Manager, another point to remember. Weir has explained that the board felt that improvements requiring construction, such as splitting the airstream, would be made and that anyway "conditions there were no different than at most mines in the state." And this is a refrain that the company and the Department repeated in extenuation after the disaster. But actually could anything be more damning? The mine was no worse than most others; the mine blew up; therefore any might blow up! The miners at Centralia were not satisfied. "It come up at the meeting," Rowekamp recalls. Local 52 met two Wednesday nights a month in its bare upstairs hall. The officers sat at a big heavy table up front; the members faced them, sitting on folding chairs which the Local had bought second-hand from an undertaker. Attendance was heavier now than usual, the men were aroused, some were even telling their wives that the mine was dangerous. They wanted to do something. But what? The state had rebuffed them. Well, why did they not go now to the higher officials

93010_01_ch01_p001-047.qxd

1/16/09

6:21 PM

Page 37

John Bartlow Martin / The Blast in Centralia No. 5: A Mine Disaster No One Stopped Perhaps the miners of Local 52 knew they must go it alone. They continued to address their official complaints to the State of Illinois. On February 26 Rowekamp wrote once more to Medill: "Dear Sir: At our regular meeting of Local Union 52. Motion made and second which carried for rec. secy. write you that the members of local union 52 are dissatisfied with the report of the special investigation commission. . . ." No answer. And so the members of Local 52 instructed Rowekamp to write to higher authority, to their Governor, Dwight H. Green. It took him a long time. Elmer Moss kept asking if he'd finished it and Rowekamp recalls, "I'd tell him, Elmer, I can't do that fast, that's a serious letter, that'll take me a while." He wrote it out first in pencil and showed it to a couple of the boys and they thought it sounded fine. Then, sitting big and awkward at his cluttered little oak desk in the living room of his home outside town, he typed it, slowly and carefully--"anything important as that I take my time so I don't make mistakes, it looks too sloppified." He used the official stationery of the Local, bearing in one corner the device of the union--crossed shovels and picks--and in the other "Our Motto--Justice for One and All." He impressed upon it the official seal--"I can write a letter on my own hook but I dassen't use the seal without it's official"--and in the washhouse the Local officers signed it. Rowekamp made a special trip to the post office to mail it. It was a two-page letter saying, in part: Dear Governor Green: We, the officers of Local Union No. 52, U. M. W. of A., have been instructed by the members . . . to write a letter to you in protest against the negligence and unfair practices of your department of mines and minerals . . . we want you to know that this is not a protest against Mr. Driscoll Scanlan . . . the best inspector that ever came to our mine. . . . But your mining board will not let him enforce the law or take the necessary action to protect our lives and health. This protest is against the men above Mr. Scanlan in your department of mines and minerals. In fact, Governor Green this is a plea to you, to please save our lives, to please make the department of mines and minerals enforce the laws at the No. 5 mine of the Centralia Coal Co. . . . before we have a dust explosion at this mine like just happened in Kentucky and West Virginia. For the last couple of years the policy of the department of

37

mines and minerals toward us has been one of ignoring us. [The letter then recited the story of the useless special commission.] We are writing you, Governor Green, because we believe you want to give the people an honest administration and that you do not know how unfair your mining department is toward the men in this mine. Several years ago after a disaster at Gillespie we seen your pictures in the papers going down in the mine to make a personal investigation of the accident. We are giving you a chance to correct the conditions at this time that may cause a much worse disaster. . . . We will appreciate an early personal reply from you, stating your position in regard to the above and the enforcement of the state mining laws. The letter closed "Very respectfully yours" and was signed by Jake Schmidt, president; Rowekamp, recording secretary; and Thomas Bush and Elmer Moss, mine committee. Today, of these, only Rowekamp is alive; all the others were killed in the disaster they foretold. And now let us trace the remarkable course of this letter at Springfield. It was stamped in red ink "Received March 9, 1946, Governor's Office." In his ornate thick-carpeted offices, Governor Green has three male secretaries (each of whom in turn has a secretary) and it was to one of these, John William Chapman, that the "save our lives" letter, as it came to be called, was routed. Two days later Chapman dictated a memorandum to Medill: ". . . it is my opinion that the Governor may be subjected to very severe criticism in the event that the facts complained of are true and that as a result of this condition some serious accident occurs at the mine. Will you kindly have this complaint carefully investigated so I can call the report of the investigation to the Governor's attention at the same time I show him this letter?" Chapman fastened this small yellow memo to the miners' letter and sent both to Medill. Although Medill's office is only about sixty yards from the Governor's, the message consumed two days in traversing the distance. The messenger arrived at the Department of Mines and Minerals at 9:00 a.m. on March 13 and handed the "save our lives" letter and Chapman's memorandum to Medill's secretary. She duly stamped both "Received" and handed them to Medill. He and Weir discussed the matter, then Medill sent the original letter back to the Governor's office and dictated his reply to Chapman, blaming the war, recounting the activities of the special commission, saying: "The complaint sounds a good

93010_01_ch01_p001-047.qxd

1/16/09

6:21 PM

Page 38

38

Chapter 1/ The Search for the Scope and Purpose of Public Administration Reak who, to Scanlan's astonishment, had joined the other members of the special commission in upholding the Superintendent and Mine Manager in their violations of the law and then had been so anxious to help White convince the members of Local 52 "that their charges are unfounded"). At any rate, Reak apparently did not call the Board's attention to the "save our lives" letter, even though it was a local of his own union which felt itself aggrieved. And White took no action either. As for Medill, on the day he received the letter he called Scanlan to Springfield and, says Scanlan, "severely reprimanded" him. According to Scanlan, Medill "ordered me to cut down the size of my inspection report," because Medill thought that such long reports might alarm the miners, "those damn hunks" who couldn't read English (Medill denied the phrase); but Scanlan took this order to mean that Medill wanted him to "go easy" on the operators--"it is the same thing as ordering you to pass up certain things." And one day during this long controversy, Medill buttonholed Scanlan's political sponsor in a corridor of the Statehouse and said he intended to fire Scanlan; Scanlan's sponsor refused to sanction it and but for this, Scanlan was convinced, he would surely have lost his job. But now hundreds of miles away larger events were occurring which were to affect the fate of the miners at Centralia. In Washington, D.C., John L. Lewis and the nation's bituminous coal operators failed to reach an agreement and the miners struck, and on May 21, 1946, President Truman ordered the mines seized for government operation. Eight days later Lewis and Julius A. Krug, Secretary of the Interior, signed the famous KrugLewis Agreement. Despite strenuous protests by the operators, this agreement included a federal safety code. It was drawn up by the Bureau of Mines (a part of the U.S. Department of the Interior). And now for the first time in history the federal government could exercise police power over coal mine safety. Thus far the efforts of the miners of Local 52 to thread the administrative maze in their own state had produced nothing but a snowfall of memoranda, reports, letters, and special findings. Let us now observe this new federal machinery in action. We shall learn nothing about how to prevent a disaster but we may learn a good deal about the administrative process. "Government operation of the mines" meant simply that the operators bossed their own mines for their own profit as usual but the UMWA had a work contract with

deal worse than it really is. The present condition at the mine is not any different than it has been during the past ten or fifteen years. . . . I would suggest the Governor advise Local Union No. 52, U. M. W. of A., that he is calling the matter to the attention of the State Mining Board with instructions that it be given full and complete consideration at their next meeting." This apparently satisfied Chapman for, in the Governor's name, he dictated a letter to Rowekamp and Schmidt: "I [i.e., Governor Green] am calling your letter to the attention of the Director of the Department of Mines and Minerals with the request that he see that your complaint is taken up at the next meeting of the State Mining Board. . . ." This was signed with Governor Green's name but it is probable that Green himself never saw the "save our lives" letter until after the disaster more than a year later. Nor is there any evidence that the Mining Board ever considered the letter. In fact, nothing further came of it. One of the most remarkable aspects of the whole affair was this: An aggrieved party (the miners) accused a second party (Medill's department) of acting wrongfully, and the higher authority to which it addressed its grievance simply, in effect, asked the accused if he were guilty and, when he replied he was not, dropped the matter. A logic, the logic of the administrative mind, attaches to Chapman's sending the complaint to the Department--the administrative mind has a pigeonhole for everything, matters which relate to law go to the Attorney General, matters which relate to mines go to the Department of Mines and Minerals, and that is that--but it is scarcely a useful logic when one of the agencies is itself accused of malfunction. Apparently it did not occur to Chapman to consult Inspector Scanlan or to make any other independent investigation. And Jack Ripon, Spud White's second-in-command at the District UMWA, said recently, "If I get a letter here I turn it over to the department that's supposed to take care of it, and the same with Governor Green-- he got some damn bad publicity he shouldn't have had, he can't know everything that's going on." Ripon's sympathy with Green is understandable--he must have known how Green felt, for he and Spud White received a copy of the same letter. Ripon says, "Oh, we got a copy of it. But it wasn't none of ours, it didn't tell us to do anything. So our hands was tied. What'd we do with it? I think we gave it to Reak." Perhaps Murrell Reak, the UMWA's man on the Mining Board, felt he already had dealt with this matter (it was

93010_01_ch01_p001-047.qxd

1/16/09

6:21 PM

Page 39

John Bartlow Martin / The Blast in Centralia No. 5: A Mine Disaster No One Stopped the government, not the operators. To keep the 2,500 mines running, Secretary Krug created a new agency, the Coal Mines Administration. CMA was staffed with only 245 persons, nearly all naval personnel ignorant of coal mining. Theirs was paper work. For technical advice they relied upon the Bureau of Mines plus a handful of outside experts. More than two months passed before the code was put into effect, on July 29, 1946, and not until November 4 did Federal Inspector Perz reach Centralia to make his first enforceable inspection of Centralia No. 5. Observe, now, the results. After three days at the mine, Perz went home and wrote out a "preliminary report" on a mimeographed form, listing 13 "major violations" of the safety code. He mailed this to the regional office of the Bureau of Mines at Vincennes, Indiana. There it was corrected for grammar, spelling, etc., and typed; copies then were mailed out to the Superintendent of the mine (to be posted on the bulletin board), the CMA in Washington, the CMA's regional office at Chicago, the District 12 office of the UMWA at Springfield, the UMWA international headquarters at Washington, the Bureau of Mines in Washington, and the Illinois Department at Springfield. While all this was going on, Perz was at home, preparing his final report, a lengthy document listing 57 violations of the safety code, 21 of them major and 36 minor. This handwritten final report likewise went to the Bureau at Vincennes where it was corrected, typed, and forwarded to the Bureau's office in College Park, Maryland. Here the report was "reviewed," then sent to the Director of the Bureau at Washington. He made any changes he deemed necessary, approved it, and ordered it processed. Copies were then distributed to the same seven places that had received the preliminary report, except that the UMWA at Springfield received two copies so that it could forward one to Local 52. (All this was so complicated that the Bureau devised a "flow sheet" to keep track of the report's passage from hand to hand.) We must not lose sight of the fact that in the end everybody involved was apprised of Perz's findings: that the Centralia Company was violating the safety code and that hazards resulted. The company, the state, and the union had known this all along and done nothing, but what action now did the new enforcing agency take, the CMA? Naval Captain N. H. Collison, the Coal Mines Administrator, said that the copy of the inspector's preliminary report was received at his office in Washington "by the head of the Production and Operations Department of my headquarters staff . . . Lieutenant Commander

39

Stull. . . . Lieutenant Commander Stull would review such a report, discuss the matter with the Bureau of Mines as to the importance of the findings, and then . . . await the final report"--unless the preliminary report showed that "imminent danger" existed, in which case he would go immediately to Captain Collison and, presumably, take "immediate action." And during all this activity in Washington, out in Chicago at the CMA's area office a Captain Yates also "would receive a copy of the report. His duty would be to acquaint himself with the findings there. If there was a red check mark indicating it fell within one of the three categories which I shall discuss later, he would detail a man immediately to the mine. If it indicated imminent danger . . . he would move immediately." The three categories deemed sufficiently important to be marked with "a red check mark" were all major hazards but the one which killed 111 men at Centralia No. 5 was not among them. These, of course, were only CMA's first moves as it bestirred itself. But to encompass all its procedures is almost beyond the mind of man. Let us skip a few and see what actually resulted. The CMA in Washington received Perz's preliminary report November 14. Eleven days later it wrote to the company ordering it to correct one of the 13 major violations Perz found (why it said nothing about the others is not clear). On November 26 the CMA received Perz's final report and on November 29 it again wrote to the company, ordering it to correct promptly all violations and sending copies of the directive to the Bureau of Mines and the UMWA. Almost simultaneously it received from Superintendent Niermann a reply to its first order (Niermann had replaced Prudent, who had left the company's employ): "Dear Sir: In answer to your CMA8-gz of November 25, 1946, work has been started to correct the violation of article 5, section 3c, of the Federal Mine Safety Code, but has been discontinued, due to . . . a strike. . . ." This of course did not answer the CMA's second letter ordering correction of all 57 violations, nor was any answer forthcoming, but not until two months later, on January 29, 1947, did the CMA repeat its order and tell the company to report its progress by February 14. This brought a reply from the company official who had been designated "operating manager" during the period of government operation, H. F. McDonald. McDonald, whose office was in Chicago, had risen to the presidency of the Centralia Coal Company and of the Bell & Zoller Coal Company through the sales department; after the Centralia disaster he told a reporter, "Hell, I don't know anything about a coal mine." Now

93010_01_ch01_p001-047.qxd

1/16/09

6:21 PM

Page 40

40

Chapter 1/ The Search for the Scope and Purpose of Public Administration UMWA were fined heavily.) The members of Local 52 thought, correctly or not, that the injunction deprived them of their last weapon in their fight to get the mine cleaned up--a wildcat strike. A leader of Local 52 has said, "Sure we could've wildcatted it--and we'd have had the Supreme Court and the government and the whole public down on our necks." The miners tried the state once more: Medill received a letter December 10, 1946, from an individual miner who charged that the company's mine examiner (a safety man) was not doing what the law required. Earlier Medill had ignored Scanlan's complaint about this but now he sent a department investigator, who reported that the charges were true and that Mine Manager Brown knew it, that Superintendent Niermann promised to consult Vice-President Young in Chicago, that other hazards existed, including dust. Weir wrote a routine letter and this time Niermann replied: The examiner would do his job properly. He said nothing about dust. This letter and one other about the same time, plus Young's earlier equivocal response to Medill's direct appeal, are the only company compliance letters on record. There was yet time for the miners to make one more try. On February 24, 1947, the safety committee, composed of three miners, wrote a short letter to the Chicago area office of the Coal Mines Administration: "The biggest grievance is dust. . . ." It was written in longhand by Paul Compers (or so it is believed: Compers and one of the two other committee members were killed in the disaster a month later) and Compers handed it to Mine Manager Brown on February 27. But Brown did not forward it to the CMA; in fact he did nothing at all about it. And now almost at the last moment, only six days before the mine blew up, some wholly new facts transpired. Throughout this whole history one thing has seemed inexplicable: the weakness of the pressure put on the company by Medill's Department of Mines and Minerals. On March 19, 1947, the St. Louis PostDispatch broke a story that seemed to throw some light upon it. An Illinois coal operator had been told by the state inspector who inspected his mine that Medill had instructed him to solicit money for the Republican Chicago mayoralty campaign. And soon more facts became known about this political shakedown. Governor Dwight H. Green, a handsome, likeable politician, had first made his reputation as the young man who prosecuted Al Capone. By 1940 he looked like the white hope of Illinois Republicans. Campaigning for the governorship, Green promised to rid the state of the Democratic machine ("there will never

he reported to CMA that "a substantial number of reported violations have been corrected and others are receiving our attention and should be corrected as materials and manpower become available." For obvious reasons, CMA considered this reply inadequate and on February 21 told McDonald to supply detailed information. Three days later McDonald replied ("Re file CMA81-swr"): He submitted a detailed report--he got it from Vice-President Young, who got it from the new General Superintendent, Walter J. Johnson--but McDonald told the CMA that this report was a couple of weeks old and he promised to furnish further details as soon as he could get them. The CMA on March 7 acknowledged this promise but before any other correspondence arrived to enrich file CMA81-swr, the mine blew up. Now, the Krug-Lewis Agreement set up two methods of circumventing this cumbersome administrative machinery. If Inspector Perz had found what the legalese of the Agreement called "imminent danger," he could have ordered the men removed from the mine immediately (this power was weakened since it was also vested in the Coal Mines Administrator, the same division of authority that hobbled the state enforcers). But Perz did not report "imminent danger." And indeed how could he? The same hazardous conditions had obtained for perhaps twenty years and the mine hadn't blown up. The phrase is stultifying. In addition, the Krug-Lewis Agreement provided for a safety committee of miners, selected by each local union and empowered to inspect the mine, to make safety recommendations to the management, and, again in case of "an immediate danger," to order the men out of the mine (subject to CMA review). But at Centralia No. 5 several months elapsed before Local 52 so much as appointed a safety committee, and even after the disaster the only surviving member of the committee didn't know what his powers were. The UMWA District officers at Springfield had failed to instruct their Locals in the rights which had been won for them. And confusion was compounded because two separate sets of safety rules were in use--the federal and the state--and in some instances one was the more stringent, in other instances, the other. Meanwhile another faraway event laid another burden upon the men in the mine. John L. Lewis' combat with Secretary Krug. It ended, as everyone knows, in a federal injunction sought at President Truman's order and upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court, which forbade Lewis to order his miners to strike while the government was operating the mines. (Subsequently Lewis and the

93010_01_ch01_p001-047.qxd

1/16/09

6:21 PM

Page 41

John Bartlow Martin / The Blast in Centralia No. 5: A Mine Disaster No One Stopped be a Green machine"). He polled more votes in Illinois than Roosevelt; national Republican leaders began to watch him. Forthwith he set about building one of the most formidable machines in the nation. This task, together with the concomitant plans of Colonel Robert R. McCormick of the Chicago Tribune and others to make him President or Vice-President, has kept him occupied ever since. He has governed but little, permitting subordinates to run things. Reelected in 1944, he reached the peak of his power in 1946 when his machine succeeded in reducing the control of the Democratic machine over Chicago. Jubilant, Governor Green handpicked a ward leader to run for mayor in April of 1947 and backed him hard. And it was only natural that Green's henchmen helped. Among these was Medill. "Somebody," says Medill, told him he was expected to raise "$15,000 or $20,000." On January 31, 1947, he called all his mine inspectors to the state mine rescue station in Springfield (at state expense), and told them--according to Inspector Scanlan who was present--that the money must be raised among the coal operators "and that he had called up four operators the previous day and two of them had already come through with a thousand dollars . . . and that he was going to contact the major companies, and we was to contact the independent companies and the small companies." Medill's version varied slightly: he said he told the inspectors that, as a Republican, he was interested in defeating the Democrats in Washington and Chicago, that if they found anybody of like mind it would be all right to tell them where to send their money, that all contributions must be voluntary. After the meeting Scanlan felt like resigning but he thought perhaps Governor Green did not know about the plan and he recalled that once he had received a letter from Green (as did all state employees) asking his aid in giving the people an honest administration: Scanlan had replied to the Governor "that I had always been opposed to corrupt, grafting politicians and that I wasn't going to be one myself; and I received a nice acknowledgement . . . the Governor . . . told me that it was such letters as mine that gave him courage to carry on. . . ." Scanlan solicited no contributions from the coal operators. But other inspectors did, and so did a party leader in Chicago. So did Medill: he says that his old friend David H. Devonald, operating vice-president of the huge Peabody Coal Company, gave him $1,000 and John E. Jones, a leading safety engineer, contributed $50 (Jones works for another of the Big Six operators and of him more later). No accounting ever has been made of the total

41

collected. The shakedown did not last long. According to Medill, another of Governor Green's "close advisers" told Medill that the coal operators were complaining that he and his inspectors were putting pressure on them for donations and if so he'd better stop it. He did, at another conference of the inspectors on March 7. Since no Illinois law forbids a company or an individual to contribute secretly to a political campaign, we are dealing with a question of political morality, not legality. The Department of Mines and Minerals long has been a political agency. An inspector is a political appointee and during campaigns he is expected to contribute personally, tack up candidates' posters, and haul voters to the polls. Should he refuse, his local political boss would have him fired. (Soliciting money from the coal operators, however, apparently was something new for inspectors.) Today sympathetic Springfield politicians say: "Medill was just doing what every other department was doing and always has done, but he got a tough break." But one must point out that Medill's inspectors were charged with safeguarding lives, a more serious duty than that of most state employees, and that in order to perform this duty they had to police the coal operators, and that it was from these very operators that Medill suggested they might obtain money. A United States Senator who investigated the affair termed it "reprehensible." What bearing, now, did this have on the Centralia disaster? Nobody, probably, collected from the Centralia Coal Company. But the shakedown is one more proof--stronger than most--that Governor Green's department had reason to stay on friendly terms with the coal operators when, as their policemen, it should have been aloof. As a miner at Centralia said recently: "If a coal company gives you a thousand dollars, they're gonna expect something in return." Here lies Green's responsibility--not that, through a secretary's fumble, he failed to act on the miners' appeal to "save our lives" but rather that, while the kingmakers were shunting him around the nation making speeches, back home his loyal followers were busier building a rich political machine for him than in administering the state for him. Moreover, enriching the Green machine dovetailed nicely with the personal ambitions of Medill and others, and Green did not restrain them. By getting along with his old friends, the wealthy operators, Medill enhanced his personal standing. Evidence exists that Bell & Zoller had had a hand in getting him appointed Director, and remember, Weir had worked as a Bell & Zoller boss. By nature Medill was

93010_01_ch01_p001-047.qxd

1/16/09

6:21 PM

Page 42

42

Chapter 1/ The Search for the Scope and Purpose of Public Administration 111 were "murdered by the criminal negligence" of Secretary Krug and declared a national six-day "mourning period" during this Holy Week, and though some said he was only achieving by subterfuge what the courts had forbidden him--a strike and defiance of Krug-- nonetheless he made the point that in the entire nation only two soft coal mines had been complying with the safety code; and so Krug closed the mines. Six separate investigations began, two to determine what had happened, and four to find out why. Federal and state experts agreed, in general, that the ignition probably had occurred at the extreme end, or face, of the First West Entry, that it was strictly a coal-dust explosion, that the dust probably was ignited by an explosive charge which had been tamped and fired in a dangerous manner--fired by an openflame fuse, tamped with coal dust--and that the resulting local explosion was propagated by coal dust throughout four working sections of the mine, subsiding when it reached rock-dusted areas. . . . And what resulted from all the investigations into the Centralia disaster? The Washington County Grand Jury returned no-bills--that is, refused to indict Inspector Scanlan and five company officials ranging upward in authority through Brown, Niermann, Johnson, Young, and McDonald. The Grand Jury did indict the Centralia Coal Company, as a corporation, on two counts of "willful neglect" to comply with the mining law--failing to rock dust and working more than 100 men on a single split of air--and it also indicted Medill and Weir for "palpable omission of duty." The company pleaded nolo contendere--it did not wish to dispute the charge--and was fined the maximum: $300 on each count, a total of $1,000 (or less than $10 per miner's life lost). The law also provides a jail sentence of up to six months but of course you can't put a corporation in jail. At this writing the indictments against Medill and Weir are still pending, and amid interesting circumstances. Bail for Medill was provided by Charles E. Jones, John W. Spence, G. C. Curtis, and H. B. Thompson; and all of these men, oddly enough, are connected with the oil and gas division of the Department from which Medill was fired. And one of them is also one of Medill's defense attorneys. But this is not all. Medill and Weir filed a petition for a change of venue, supported by numerous affidavits of Washington County residents that prejudice existed. These affidavits were collected by three inspectors for the oil and gas division. They succeeded in getting the trial transferred to

no zealous enforcer of laws. As for the inspectors, few of them went out of their way to look for trouble; some inspectors after leaving the Department have obtained good jobs as coal company executives. Anyway, as one inspector has said, "If you tried to ride 'em, they'd laugh at you and say, `Go ahead, I'll just call up Springfield.'" As one man has said, "It was a cozy combination that worked for everybody's benefit, everybody except the miners." And the miners' man on the Board, Murrell Reak of the UMWA, did not oppose the combination. Nor did Green question it. As the Chicago campaign ground to a close, down at Centralia on March 18 Federal Inspector Perz was making another routine inspection. General Superintendent Johnson told him the company had ordered pipe for a sprinkler system months earlier but it hadn't arrived, "that there would be a large expenditure involved there . . . they had no definite arrangements just yet . . . but he would take it up with the higher officials of the company" in Chicago. Scanlan and Superintendent Niermann were there too; they stayed in the bare little mine office, with its rickety furniture and torn window shades, till 7:30 that night. No rock dusting had been done for nearly a year but now the company had a carload of rock dust underground and Scanlan got the impression it would be applied over the next weekend. (It wasn't.) Perz, too, thought Johnson "very conscientious . . . very competent." Scanlan typed out his report--he had resorted wearily to listing a few major recommendations and adding that previous recommendations "should be complied with"--and mailed it to Springfield. Perz went home and wrote out his own report, acknowledging that 17 hazards had been corrected but making 52 recommendations most of which he had made in November (the company and the CMA were still corresponding over that November report). Perz finished writing on Saturday morning and mailed the report to the Vincennes office, which presumably began processing it Monday. The wheels had been turning at Springfield, too, and on Tuesday, March 25, Weir signed a form letter to Brown setting forth Scanlan's latest recommendations: "The Department endorses. . . ." But that day, at 3:26 p.m., before the outgoing-mail box in the Department was emptied, Centralia Mine No. 5 blew up. . . . The last of the bodies was recovered at 5:30 a.m. on the fifth day after the explosion. On "Black Monday" the flag on the new city hall flew at half staff and all the businesses in town closed. Already the funerals had begun, 111 of them. John L. Lewis cried that the

93010_01_ch01_p001-047.qxd

1/16/09

6:21 PM

Page 43

John Bartlow Martin / The Blast in Centralia No. 5: A Mine Disaster No One Stopped Wayne County, which is dominated by a segment of Governor Green's political organization led locally by one of these men, Spence. Not in recent memory in Illinois has the conviction of a Department head on a similar charge been sustained, and there is little reason to suppose that Medill or Weir will be convicted. Medill performed an act of great political loyalty when he shouldered most of the blame at Centralia, in effect stopping the investigation before it reached others above him, and this may be his reward. Why did nobody close the Centralia mine before it exploded? A difficult question. Medill's position (and some investigators') was that Inspector Scanlan could have closed it. And, legally, this is true: The mining law expressly provided that an inspector could close a mine which persisted in violating the law. But inspectors have done so very rarely, only in exceptional circumstances, and almost always in consultation with the Department. Scanlan felt that had he closed the Centralia mine Medill simply would have fired him and appointed a more tractable inspector. Moreover, the power to close was not his exclusively: it also belonged to the Mining Board. (And is not this divided authority one of the chief factors that produced the disaster?) Robert Weir has said, "We honestly didn't think the mine was dangerous enough to close." This seems fantastic, yet one must credit it. For if Scanlan really had thought so, surely he would have closed it, even though a more pliable inspector reopened it. So would the federal authorities, Medill, or the company itself. And surely the miners would not have gone to work in it. Governor Green's own fact-finding committee laid blame for the disaster upon the Department, Scanlan, and the company. The Democrats in the Illinois joint legislative committee submitted a minority report blaming the company, Medill, Weir, and Green's administration for "the industrial and political crime . . ."; the Republican majority confessed itself unable to fix blame. After a tremendous pulling and hauling by every special interest, some new state legislation was passed as a result of the accident, but nothing to put teeth into the laws: violations still are misdemeanors (except campaign solicitation by inspectors, a felony); it is scarcely a serious blow to a million-dollar corporation to be fined $1,000. Nor does the law yet charge specific officers of the companies--rather than the abstract corporations--with legal responsibility, so it is still easy for a company official to hide behind a nebulous chain of command

43

reaching up to the stratosphere of corporate finance in Chicago or St. Louis. It is hard to believe that compliance with any law can be enforced unless violators can be jailed. As for the Congress of the United States, it did next to nothing. The Senate subcommittee recommended that Congress raise safety standards and give the federal government power to enforce that standard--"Immediate and affirmative action is imperative." But Congress only ordered the Bureau of Mines to report next session on whether mine operators were complying voluntarily with federal inspectors' recommendations. . . . After the Centralia disaster each man responsible had his private hell, and to escape it each found his private scapegoat--the wartime manpower shortage, the material shortage, another official, the miners, or, in the most pitiable cases, "human frailty." Surely a strange destiny took Dwight Green from a federal courtroom where, a young crusader, he overthrew Capone to a hotel in Centralia where, fifteen years older, he came face to face with William Rowekamp, who wanted to know why Green had done nothing about the miners' plea to "save our lives." But actually responsibility here transcends individuals. The miners at Centralia, seeking somebody who would heed their conviction that their lives were in danger, found themselves confronted with officialdom, a huge organism scarcely mortal. The State Inspector, the Federal Inspector, the State Board, the Federal CMA, the company officials--all these forever invoked "higher authority," they forever passed from hand to hand a stream of memoranda and letters, decisions and laws and rulings, and they lost their own identities. As one strives to fix responsibility for the disaster, again and again one is confronted, as were the miners, not with any individual but with a host of individuals fused into a vast, unapproachable, insensate organism. Perhaps this immovable juggernaut is the true villain in the piece. Certainly all those in authority were too remote from the persons whose lives they controlled. And this is only to confess once more that in making our society complex we have made it unmanageable.

Author's Epilogue

Illinois Governor Dwight Green was ruined politically by the Centralia disaster. He had been mentioned as a possible Republican vice-presidential candidate in 1948 and had all the makings of a successful national

93010_01_ch01_p001-047.qxd

1/16/09

6:21 PM

Page 44

44

Chapter 1/ The Search for the Scope and Purpose of Public Administration The Centralia blast created 99 widows and 76 fatherless children under the age of 18, which prompted the United Mine Workers Union to change its welfare death benefits from lump sum payouts to monthly stipends. The union used the disaster to press for higher wages and benefits for miners elsewhere. The Centralia Mine was sold to the Peabody Coal Company and reopened on July 21, 1947, with sixty miners, including many of the survivors, but was closed in two years due to the high costs of production. The mine was abandoned and sealed with concrete. In 1980 a solid waste disposal company bought the property, bulldozed the remaining buildings and plans someday to grind up solid waste and deposit it in the mine shafts. Today coal fragments and slate can be found around the grounds, along with foundations of the old mine and rusting equipment overgrown with weeds. In the nearby Centralia Foundation Park and in the Village of Wamac, plaques recently were dedicated to the miners who lost their lives in Centralia.

political figure, but in 1948 he even lost his bid for reelection to the governorship. One of the issues that his opponent, Adlai Stevenson, raised during the campaign was mine safety. Governor Stevenson eventually became a national political figure, running twice-- unsuccessfully--for U.S. president in 1952 and 1956. Robert M. Medill, director of the Illinois Bureau of Mines and Minerals, was asked to resign his post and did so, April 1, 1947. His assistant, Robert Weir, though indicted, remained in his post until his retirement. The mine owners, Bell and Zoller Coal Company, paid the fine of $1000, but none of the company's officers were indicted or imprisoned. Despite the six separate investigations of the disaster that were undertaken by various state and federal authorities, neither the state of Illinois nor the federal government changed its mine safety laws or enforcement policies. Only after the 1952 West Frankfurt, Kentucky, coal mine disaster was a stricter federal mine safety code enacted and enforcement procedures improved.

Chapter 1 Review Questions

1. How did Woodrow Wilson justify the creation of the new field of public administration? Why does he view public administration as being so critical to the future of the United States? Do you agree? What does Wilson conclude are the best ways to develop this new field? Are these ideas still valid? By contrast, based on your reading of Stillman's essay, how is the field evolving today? Is it evolving along the lines Wilson's essay envisioned? 2. Why does Wilson stress throughout his essay the importance of finding the appropriate relationship between democracy and public administration? What does he mean by that? For example? According to Stillman's essay, how does the field now deal with this issue? 3. Did the case, "The Blast in Centralia No. 5," help you to formulate your own view of what the scope and purpose of the field are or should be today? Does the case contradict or support the conclusions about the importance of this field made in the Wilson essay? Or in Stillman's essay? 4. Based on your reading of the case, what do you see as the central causes of the tragedy in "The Blast in Centralia No. 5"? Why did these problems develop? After reflecting on the seven schools identified at the end of Stillman's essay (e.g., the reinventors, communitarians, etc.), how would each analyze the Centralia case? Its fundamental problems? Recommended solutions? Would adapting their possible recommendations have changed the outcome of this case? 5. What reforms would you recommend to prevent the tragedy from reoccurring elsewhere? How could such reforms be implemented? 6. Based on your analysis of "The Blast in Centralia No. 5," can you generalize about the importance of public administration for society? Can you list some of the pros and cons of having a strong and effective administrative system to perform essential services in society?

93010_01_ch01_p001-047.qxd

1/16/09

6:21 PM

Page 45

Suggestions for Further Reading

45

Key Terms

The Great Charter of 1787 public administration politics-administration dichotomy Reinventing Government communitarians the refounding movement democratic idealism The Federalist Papers New Deal POSDCORB social sciences heterodoxy VPI refounders tools approach antistatism public choice theory Minnowbrook Conference

Suggestions for Further Reading

The seminal book on the origins and growth of public administration in America remains Dwight Waldo, The Administrative State: A Study of the Political Theory of American Public Administration (New York: Ronald Press, 1948), which was reissued in 1984, with a new preface, by Holmes and Meier Publishers. For other writings by Waldo, see "The Administrative State Revisited," Public Administration Review, 25 (March 1965), pp. 5­37, and The Enterprise of Public Administration: A Summary View (Novato, Calif.: Chandler and Sharp Publishers, 1980). For a helpful commentary on Waldo's ideas and career, see Brack Brown and Richard J. Stillman II, A Search for Public Administration (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1986). Also for insightful review of Dwight Waldo's contributions, read Frank Marini, "Leaders in the Field: Dwight Waldo," Public Administration Review, 53 (September/October 1993), pp. 409­18. To appreciate where we are today with current debates over Waldo's ideas, see Patrick Overeen "Beyond Hetrodoxy: Dwight Waldo and the Politics of Administrative Dichotomy," Public Administration Review, 68 (January/February 2008), pp. 36­45 and in the same issue, read the responses by James Svara, Camilla Stivers, and David Rosenbloom. For two excellent reassessments of Woodrow Wilson and his influence on the field, read Paul P. Van Riper, ed., The Wilson Influence on Public Administration: From Theory to Practice (Washington, D.C.: American Society for Public Administration, 1990); and Daniel W. Martin, "The Fading Legacy of Woodrow Wilson," Public Administration Review (March/April 1988), pp. 631­36. Much can be learned from the writings of important contributors to the field, like Woodrow Wilson, Frederick Taylor, Luther Gulick, Louis Brownlow, Herbert Simon, and Charles Lindblom. For a thoughtful reassessment of early theorists, read Laurence F. Lynn, Jr., "The Myth of the Bureaucratic Paradigm: What Traditional Public Administration Really Stood For," Public Administration Review, 61 (March/April 2001), pp. 144­61, and also in the same issue, be sure to read the commentaries on Lynn's essay by David Rosenbloom, J. Patrick Dobel, Norma Riccucci, and James Svara. For an excellent collection of many of those classic writings with insightful commentary, see Frederick C. Mosher, ed., Basic Literature of American Public Administration 1787­1950 (New York: Holmes and Meier, 1981), and for recent selections of key theorists, read Frederick S. Lane, ed., Current Issues in Public Administration, 6th ed. (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1999); Camilla Stivers, ed., Democracy, Bureaucracy and the Study of Administration (Boulder, Co.: Westview, 2001); and Richard Box, ed. Public Administration and Society (New York: Sharpe, 2004). Equally valuable is the four-volume history of public administration prior to 1900 by Leonard D. White: The Federalists (1948); The Jeffersonians (1951); The Jacksonians (1954); and The Republican Era (1958), all published by Macmillan. Michael W. Spicer, The Founders, the Constitution, and Public Administration: A Conflict in World Views (Washington, D.C.: Georgetown Press, 1995), offers a recent study of the constitutional origins of the field. The work of Mary Parker Follett has been of special interest to administrative theorists as reflected by

93010_01_ch01_p001-047.qxd

1/16/09

6:21 PM

Page 46

46

Chapter 1/ The Search for the Scope and Purpose of Public Administration

Joan C. Tonn, Mary Parker Follett: Creating Democracy, Transforming Management (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 2003). Some of the important books that document the rise of public administration in the twentieth century are Jane Dahlberg, The New York Bureau of Municipal Research (New York: New York University Press, 1966); Robert H. Wiebe, The Search for Order, 1877­1920 (New York: Hill & Wang, 1967); Don K. Price, America's Unwritten Constitution (Baton Rouge, La.: Louisiana State University Press, 1983); John A. Rohr, To Run a Constitution: The Legitimacy of the Administrative State (Lawrence: University of Kansas Press, 1986); Barry Karl, Executive Reorganization and Reform in the New Deal (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1963); and Stephen Skowronek, Building a New American State: The Expansion of National Administrative Capacities, 1877­1920 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1982). Any thorough understanding of how American Public Administration since the early 1970s was decidedly shaped by Minnowbrook ideas and Public Choice theory must be based on reading both Frank Marini (ed.), Toward a New Public Administration: The Minnowbrook Perspective (Scranton, Penn.: Chandler Publishing, 1971); and Vincent Ostrom, The Intellectual Crisis in American Public Administration, 2nd ed. (Tuscaloosa: The University ofAlabama Press, 1973, revised ed., 1974). For a fine critique of public choice theory, read Peter Self, Government by the Market? (Boulder, Co.: Westview Press, 1993). Because Frederick Taylor was so critical to the early development of the field, two noteworthy biographies of his life and work are Robert Kanigel, The One Best Way (New York: Penguin, 1999) and Hindy Lauer Schachter, Frederick Taylor and the Public Administration Community: A Reevaluation (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1989). For Taylor's postwar influences, see Stephen P. Waring, Taylorism Transformed: Scientific Management Theory Since 1945 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1991). For a current look at where we are with Taylor's efficiency concept, read, Hindy Schachter, "Does Frederick Taylor's Ghost Still Haunt the Halls of Government? A Look at the Concept of Efficiency in Our Time," Public Administration Review, 67 (September/October 2007), pp. 800­10. For a broader

biographical treatment of the field's major figures, see Brian R. Fry and Jos Raadschelders, Mastering Public Administration: From Max Weber to Dwight Waldo, 2nd ed. (Washington, DC: Georgetown Press, 2008). In addition, several other impressive retrospectives on key founders of the field have appeared in recent years: James A. Stever, "Marshall Dimock: An Intellectual Portrait," Public Administration Review, 50 (November/ December 1990), pp. 615­22; Lyle C. Fitch, "Luther Gulick," Public Administration Review, 50 (November/ December 1990), pp. 604­38; Max O. Stephenson, Jr., and Jeremy F. Plant, "The Legacy of Frederick C. Mosher," Public Administration Review, 51 (March/ April 1991), pp. 97­113; L. R. Jones, "Aaron Wildavsky: A Man and Scholar for All Seasons," Public Administration Review, 55 (January/February 1995), pp. 3­16, as well as the entire issue of the Public Administration Quarterly (fall 1988) devoted to an appraisal of Herbert Simon's work. For excellent insights into Simon's life and work, read his autobiography: Herbert A. Simon, Models of My Life (New York: Basic Books, 1991). For the most recent book-length analysis of Simon's ideas, read Hunter Crowther-Heych, The Bounds of Reason in Modern America (Baltimore, Md: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2005). Numerous shorter interpretative essays on the development of the field include Herbert Kaufman, "Emerging Conflicts in the Doctrines of Public Administration," American Political Science Review (December 1956), pp. 1057­73; David H. Rosenbloom, "Public Administration Theory and the Separation of Powers," Public Administration Review, 43 (May/June 1983), pp. 213­27; Luther H. Gulick, "Reflections on Public Administration, Past and Present," Public Administration Review, 50 (November/December 1990); and Laurence J. O'Toole, Jr., "Harry F. Byrd, Sr. and the New York Bureau of Municipal Research: Lessons from an Ironic Alliance," Public Administration Review, 46 (March/April 1986), pp. 113­23. A particularly seminal conceptual reinterpretation is Patricia Shields, "Rediscovering the Taproot: Is Classical Pragmatism the Route to Renew Public Administration?" Public Administration Review, 68 (March/April 2008), pp. 205­21 as well as David Hildebrand's thoughtful reply in the same issue, pp. 22­29.

93010_01_ch01_p001-047.qxd

1/16/09

6:21 PM

Page 47

Suggestions for Further Reading

47

The past two decades or more have witnessed an outpouring of new, rich, and diverse perspectives on what public administration is and ought to be. Among the recent, more challenging points of view, which attempt to "reformulate the basics" of the field, are James A. Stever, The End of Public Administration (Ardley-on-the-Hudson, N.Y.: Transnational Publishers, 1988); Lester M. Salamon, ed., Beyond Privatization (Washington, D.C.: The Urban Institute Press, 1989); Gary L. Wamsley et al., Refounding Public Administration (Newbury Park, Calif.: Sage, 1990) as well as Refounding Democratic Public Administration (Sage, 1996); Henry D. Kass and Bayard L. Catron, eds., Images and Identities in Public Administration (Newbury Park, Calif.: Sage, 1990); Richard J. Stillman II, Preface to Public Administration: A Search for Themes and Direction, 2nd ed., (Burke, Va.: Chatelaine Press, 1998), Camilla Stivers, Gender Images in Public Administration: Legitimacy and the Administrative State (Newbury Park, Calif.: Sage, 1993); Charles J. Fox and Hugh T. Miller, Postmodern Public Administration: Toward a Discourse (Newbury Park, Calif.: Sage, 1995); Jong S. Jun, Philosophy of Administration (Seoul, Korea: Daeyoung Moonhwa International, 1994); Jay D. White and Guy B. Adams, eds., Research in Public Administration

(Newbury Park, Calif.: Sage, 1994); and O.C. McSuite, Legitimacy in Public Administration: A Discourse Analysis (Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Sage, 1997); David Farmer, Language of Public Administration (Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2003); Anthony M. Bertelli and Laurence C. Lynn, Jr., Madison's Managers: Public Administration and the Constitution (Baltimore, Md.: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2007); and David Farmer, To Kill the King: Post-Traditional Governance and Bureaucracy (Armonk, N.Y.: M. E. Sharpe, 2005). For the most useful comprehensive guide to public administration literature, see Daniel W. Martin, The Guide to the Foundations of Public Administration (New York: Marcel Dekker, 1989); also for the best analysis of critical theoretical issues facing the field today, see Mark R. Rutgers, ed., Retracing Public Administration (Oxford, U.K.: Elsevier, 2003). For a comparative view of European and American administrative thinking, see Walter J. M. Kickert and Richard Stillman (eds.), The Modern State and Its Study (London: Elgar, 2000). The four outstanding journals that cover administrative theory today are the Public Admininstration Review, Administrative Theory and Praxis, Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, and Administration and Society.

Information

93010_01_ch01_p001-047.qxd

47 pages

Report File (DMCA)

Our content is added by our users. We aim to remove reported files within 1 working day. Please use this link to notify us:

Report this file as copyright or inappropriate

157717


You might also be interested in

BETA
HandbookMarch2003FinalVersion.doc
LRFD Design example for steel girder superstructure bridge - US Customary units
Microsoft Word - Website - Fraud Manual - Employee Embezzlement _2009_.doc