This essay identifies two problems that impede the ability of public administration to govern effectively in dark times. First, public administration has failed to adequately acknowledge itself as an arbiter of political conflict and as a discipline responsible for shaping societal affairs. Second, the field is entrenched in a bureaucratic pathology that limits its capacity to address complex policy problems. We argue that these issues show a clear need for the reinvigoration of democratic ethos as the foundation for public administration. Building on the ideas of some Minnowbrook III working groups, we pose questions to help begin discussions about both democratic ethos and the ability of public administration to govern in dark times. Adapted from the source document.
The tension between managerialism and legalism in public administration has been a recurring theme at Minnowbrook conferences. This tension, increasingly evident in the literature, is couched in the often-conflicting values of efficiency and performance, on one hand, and legal and democratic values such as accountability, equality, and transparency, on the other hand. Building on conversations we began at Minnowbrook III, we specify a three-part proposal through which the legal and managerial approaches to US public administration might be better integrated. At a time when public administrative reforms potentially exacerbate the law management tension, our proposal's primary implication is the simultaneous achievement of public service delivery that is efficient, effective, and defendable in the US constitutional democracy. Adapted from the source document.