The ultimate aim of a public administrator is the provision of best facilities to the public and to make decisions in a way that have a positive influence on interest of the public. It is important for a public administrator to identify the problems that are being faced by the local people and then to devise strategies that are helpful in solving that problem. In this paper we will look at some of the basics of public administration for the best interest of the public.
Public administration can rightly be defined as the implementation of the policies made by the government in accordance with the academic discipline of the implementation of government policies as prepared by the civil servants (Random House Unabridged Dictionary).
The main goal of public administration is to enhance the management of the government and supervise the implementation of the policies so that the government can function in a proper way (Bartley, Hildreth & Miller, 1989). There are many other definitions of public administration as suggested by some of the scholars. These include "public program management," "the implementation and practicality of politics for the daily lives of the citizens" and "the study of the government and civil servant decision making progress" (Kernaghan, 2010). Moreover, to become a sound public administrator, it is important for the person to analyze the policies and the inputs that resulted in the implementation of these policies and as well the inputs that are required for the formation and implementation of alternate policies.
The main concern of public administration is the management of the policies made by the government along with the programs and the attitude of the officials, who have not been elected but are responsible for these policies (UN Economic and Social Council, 2006). The public servants, who are not elected by the people, are commonly known as public administrators and include the city heads and heads of federal, state, regional, county and city departments. These departments are the ones like the municipal budget department, human resource management, census management, city management, state directorate and cabinet secretariat. People working on all levels of the government in public agencies and departments are labeled as public administrators.
American civil service reform was promoted by the civil servants and academics (for example Woodrow Wilson) in 1880s, in the United States, which transformed the public administration into academia. Nonetheless, it was not until the first half of the 20th century had passed and the theory of bureaucracy presented by the German sociologist called Max Weber that much interest was taken in public administration (Public administration, 2010).
The field of public administration cannot be contained in only one discipline. The sub-fields of public administration can be based on six pillars that include theory of organization, ethics, statistics and analysis policies, budgeting and human resources (Shafritz & Hyde, 2007).
Now we take a look at some of the definitions of public interest and public "best" interest. Basically, public interest revolves around debates about policies, democracy and the kind of government that is ruling the country. Although almost everyone agrees that the well-being and welfare of the general public is positive thing, there hasn't been much agreement on the concept of public interest in the sense that what factors contribute towards public interest. One of these factors is the identification of problems faced by the general public and then taking decisions that would help them come out of these problems.
According to the definition presented by the Random House Dictionary, Public interest can be defined as the well-being or welfare of the general public (Ho, 2011).
Models of decision making
There is long list of duties that the public administrators are supposed to perform. This is the reason why there is a need for the public administrators to take help from the theoretical framework of public administration. In fact, there are many public as well as private administrative teachers and scholars. They have also come up with many decision making models and have also modified them over the time. Two of the most popular decision making models that are used by many public administrators are discussed below.
Budget maximizing model was proposed by Professor William Nikanen in 1971. He put forth a logical and balanced choice variation. According to him, the bureaucrat who is rational in his decisions will always seek to increase the budget of the departments that he controls so that the state can grow economically and more can be spent on the public thereby ensuring public interest. Nikansen provided his services for the country by working as one of the Economic Advisors in the President Reagan's Council. The model of decision making that was proposed by him has now been reinforced as reduced public spending along with increased privatization.
Nonetheless, his theory did not work well with reality because accounted expenditures and increasing debt were seen during the administration of Reagan. Many authors have criticized the approach of Nikansen, which he called universal. These authors argue that the officials need to modify (and have the potential to) according to the demands of the public, for public interest.
This decision making model is in fact an amendment of Niskanen since it supports the argument that the balanced bureaucrats only increase the part of the budget that is going to be spent on the operations of their own agencies or they spend the money on interest groups and contractors. Then according to this theory, the groups of people who will get the most budgetary attention are the ones who recognize and organize a cascade of benefits for the officials who are working above them.
For example, when a rational officer pays a huge amount of money to the public who does earn that well, he will not get any benefit from this payment and the goal of a bureaucrat will not be served. Likewise, it can be expected that the portion of budget spent on security and defense is increased as per jurisdiction.
If we consider Reagan once again we see that this particular bureau shaping model explains the suspected reduction in the size of the government whereas there was not much decrease in the spending. The amount of budget spent on programming and public interest was moved towards military personnel and research.
Public Administration and Public Interest
Needless to say, it is not an easy task to get an agreement on the exact representation of the public interest and the implementation of the policies by the public administrators in such a way that they ensure hundred percent public interest and "best" public interest. When the nature of government in a particular country is a democratic one, it should be noted that the public expect the government to take care of their needs and devise policies in a way that would be beneficial for them. For the public of country that is ruled by a democratic government, the goal of the public administrator should be to make policies that correspond with the views of the public.
If this is not the case then the effective administration is not likely to happen. On the other hand, it sometimes becomes very difficult to define the word public. There is no restrictive definition that one could apply to the work public. Public can be based on a group of individuals or a group of institutions that hold variant ideals, interests and philosophies. Therefore, there is a need for constant redefinition to achieve a balanced society and to avoid conflicts in public interest.
Many analysts have different takes on the matter of public interest in a particular nature of government and public administration. It should be noted that the only thing that can lead to hundred percent public interest and "best" public interest is the attitude that all men are equal and that the first and most important duty of a public administrator is to cater the needs of the public. Anyone who is elected, or is a bureaucrat, should make sure that he puts his personal interest aside and works for the welfare of the public. The dilemma here is that the officials can easily get bribed by different lobbying groups. Since communication has become so convenient, lobbying is organized at a national level. This lobbying represents the interests of certain groups at the expense of the welfare of the general public. These groups also tend to disguise their selfish aims in fake promises for the welfare of the people (Boudreau, 1950).
This is the main hurdle in the provision of the basic facilities by a public administrator. He or she has to make sure that he does not give in under the pressure of such interest groups and should always seek to help the public.
Strategies of public administrators in specific areas
In this section of the paper, we will see what particular strategies can be employed in different areas of public administration. First of all, we will consider the Local…