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Márton Gellén

Abstract

This paper provides a polemic interpretation of recent Hungarian public-administration reforms compared to the opinions that can be found in international scientific literature. The divergence of the various interpretations stems from the different perspectives on the historic context of the development path of the Hungarian municipal administration during the pre- and post-regime change period. The differences in the interpretation of the achievements of the regime change determine whether one would suggest a minor correction or a total replacement - if given the possibility. After briefly describing the public-administration legacy of the communist past and of the post-communist decades, the article delves into the analysis of the financial unsustainability of the highly decentralized local-government system. The analysis builds on the findings of international financiers that operate as policy- transfer powerhouses, as well. Bursting financial tensions led to Hungary’s loan agreement with the IMF in 1996. Although the loan was paid back by 1998, internal systemic inefficiencies stemming from the uneasy compromises of the regime change still had their corroding effect, although vulnerable finances were veiled by occasional conjunctures in the domestic and international economy. In the year 2008, the country became virtually insolvent and again applied for an IMF loan. The IMF itself formulated certain measures to increase the efficiency of the overdecentralized local-government system. Unlike its predecessor, the government that stepped into power in 2010 had the political power to launch systemic corrections in the local-government system. The reforms contained a trade-off : the majority of local competences in exchange for fiscally consolidating local governments. This is labeled as a trade-off between efficiency and democracy by certain authors. It is a fact that the overdecentralized form of local public administration was inefficient and unsustainable. Now there is an opportunity to test whether an overcentralized public administration would be efficient.

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Beáta Mikušová Meričková, Andrea Bašteková, Jan Stejskal and Bernard Pekár

Abstract

Interdisciplinary definitions of corruption perceive corrupt actions as contrary to legal and ethical standards affecting the public interest, perpetrated by a person in public office. The main goal of the study is to identify the factors of corrupt acts in the public sector stemming from the economic, political, cultural and social environments in the Slovak Republic. Through the Delphi method we verify the relevance of economic, political and cultural-social factors of corrupt acts in the public sector defined in the theoretical framework of this issue. The Delphi method was used under the following conditions: the anonymity of experts, feedback control and statistical determination of a consensus of experts. Expert evaluation of the factors underlying corrupt behaviour in the public sector enabled us not only to detect the overall relevance of the factors, but also to identify areas where corruption in the public sector is most widespread, according to experts. We can state that the most problematic areas include the judiciary and the police.

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Arpie G. Balian and Arman Gasparyan

Abstract

This is a multiple case study that investigates the motivations and ambitions of politicians who run for elections. It uses a mixed research design that applies inductive reasoning in the collection and analysis of data from six communities of rural Armenia. Data-collection instruments include in-depth interviews, focus groups, field observations and community survey. Whereas the study considers various theories of motivation and ambition, the conclusive evidence shows that the attractiveness of office at the local-government level in smaller rural communities is not driven by financial considerations and is rather compelled by the desire to make a difference motivated primarily by personal interest in and dedication to bringing positive change in the quality of life in one’s own community. The study also shows that motivators oft en stem from several other factors, including one’s deep-rooted connection with the community, lineage, length of term in office, record of community satisfaction, resultant personal power built over the years in service and the need to be acclaimed by one’s own community. A derivative closely linked to the priority of building the personal reputation of an incumbent mayor is the resultant power of decision-making. These conclusions can be explained using the model offered by Besley and Ghatak (2005) where politicians view public service as a personal mission. This study connects personal drive to sense of community and ancestral presence. The study also explains why mission accomplishment is more attractive than personal profit-making and how the sense of community and ownership are linked to personal drive.

Open access

Edoardo Ongaro

Abstract

This article examines five ‘challenges’ facing most administrative systems across Europe. The first challenge stems from the increasingly asymmetric nature of European multilevel governance; the second challenge arises from the missed opportunity of reforming in the absence of a dominant administrative paradigm; the third challenge lies in rescuing and transforming the welfare state; the fourth challenge is concerned with making the most of the knowledge generated in the field of strategic management for strategically managing public services; the fifth challenge lies in staff (de)motivation. These challenges are pitched at very different levels: some are related to issues of public governance, some to issues of scholarly and practitioners’ collective understandings of public administration in Europe, and some to trends in the global economy, and notably the financial, economic and fiscal ‘crises’.

Open access

Orla O’Donnell

-entrycohort.pdf [2 February 2018]. Department of Education and Skills. (2017b). STEM education implementation plan 2017-2019. Retrieved from https://www.education.ie/en/The-Education-System/STEM-Education-Policy/stemeducation-implementation-plan-2017-2019-.pdf [2 February 2018]. Donohoe, P. (2017). Budget 2018 statement of the Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform Mr Paschal Donohoe, TD, 10 October 2017. Retrieved from http://www.budget.gov.ie/Budgets/2018/Documents/Budget_2018_Financial_Statement.pdf [2 February 2018

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Stefan Couperus, Harm Kaal, Nico Randeraad and Paul van Trigt

Catholics balanced each other out. The almost proverbial politics of accommodation that had characterized elite behavior for centuries was challenged by priests, pastors, schoolteachers, trade unionists, and other local leaders. Irritations stemming from church bell chiming, processions or public commemorations could easily lead to street rows or other disturbances. Johan C. H. Blom / Jacobus Talsma (ed.): De verzuiling voorbij. Godsdienst, stand en natie in de lange negentiende eeuw, Amsterdam 2000. The geography of religion determined the degree of administrative

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Frits van der Meer, Gerrit Dijkstra and Toon Kerkhoff

unitary state is composed of primarily general-purpose governments such as the central government, provincial governments, and municipalities, and (to a lesser extent) of functional bodies such as water boards. The preference for general-purpose governments stems from the emphasis on integral public service delivery and citizen involvement. The sovereignty of the state is invested in each government according to the responsibilities assigned in the Constitution and institutional laws. For instance municipalities are not considered to be solely derived from central

Open access

Thomas Rohringer

-threshold communication; with them, disabled veterans could talk in their »vernacular«, their »natural way of speech«. ÖStA, KA, KM, Abt. 9/IF, Kt. 1417434/1917, Organisation der Kriegsbeschädigtenfürsorge, unnumbered. Eger evoked a community initially built on the difference between a socially distanced and abstracting bureaucracy and locally embedded actors, but displaying, as shown in detail later, a national dimension as well. For Eger, the disabled veterans’ trust did not stem from expert knowledge, but from socially framing this expertise. Socially embedded members of local

Open access

André Ourednik, Guido Koller, Peter Fleer and Stefan Nellen

same time span. The line width is proportional to the number of tokens per document, divided by the line's length. As Figure 4 shows, the most densely covered period across all cities, on which we therefore focus, lies between 1920 and 1960. Reports from cities such as Antwerp are few and dated to a single, wide time span (1857–1936) excluding analysis of a historical evolution. Documents from Mexico are more numerous and stem from five different time spans, but the dating precision is still insufficient. On the contrary, cities such as Paris, Washington