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Thread: Presenting a general overview of policy formulation

  1. #1
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
    Jun 2003
    at the neighboring pub

    Presenting a general overview of policy formulation

    I've been asked by the public administration department at the local university to play professor for an afternoon. Itís a graduate level course that introduces public policy and administration to the students. I should try to include different issues I deal with as a public administrator and the dynamics of decision-making in my organization as it relates to planning/housing policy. Students will ask questions about my presentation and my role as a public administrator. The presentation should be about 45 minutes.

    This is such a broad topic that I don't really know where to start. The creation and implementation of a comprehensive plan, and all that entails, is a pretty obvious starting point.

    What would you include in such a presentation? Daily pressures? Rule-making based on goals of elected officials? Administrative discretion--how much decision-making can we do on our own?

    I'm supposed to do this on the 16th, so any thoughts from the Throbbing Brain of Cyburbia are appreciated.

    "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

    - Herman GŲring at the Nuremburg trials (thoughts on democracy)

  2. #2
    in the classes I teach, Ive found that students tend to underestimate the complexity and limitations of public policy. For example, in a discussion of housing programs, one student suggested we simply jail anyone who owns a building with lead paint.

    Are there any local development controversies or problem that the students may have heard about? Those are always good for starting discussions.

  3. #3
    Dan Staley's avatar
    Dec 2007
    Front Range, CO
    Policymaking should start with the comp plan and your projections of what demographiss are here now (policy formation) and in the future (policy implementation). Including economic and ecosystem analyses.

    In my view, scale is undervalued as an explicit factor in decision-making; that is: short-term gain vs long-term...what? Small-scale project but large scale...what? Sure, it is part of the decision tree, but how often does scale sell or kill a project (says the ecosystem guy).

    Next, decision-making for grads should start with politics - who gets, who pays - and how decisionmaking is made at the staff level and then at Council level - through framing, planning process (what we choose to say to get buy-in or kill a plan, who and when we present it to and that framing, etc). That is: how we frame things (or how we think we should frame things) sells or kills the project/plan/idea. Or how the public changes framing.

    Just a thought on how I'd do it.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian hilldweller's avatar
    Jan 2005
    Land of Confusion
    It might be a good idea to sketch a diagram of the power structure in your organization, which might better clarify your role as professional staff advisor/administrator to either your Boards, Council, or Mayor (depending on your form of government).

  5. #5
    Jan 2004
    So how'd it go? I've got a similar request for November... just curious what you talked about.

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