1. What hinders effective presidential management? Are all presidents focused on effective presidential management? In your opinion, is one factor greater than another? Can you provide some examples of how Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush were effective presidential managers?
2. According to the text, even though most government programs work well most of the time, Americans tend to be disappointed with government due to their high expectations about government on one hand and their revolutionary roots on the other hand. What do you think about the expectations of Americans of their government? Do you think these expectations help or hinder government performance or are inconsequential to government performance?
3. Examine the checklist that was developed by an interagency task force for choosing an organizational structure and select the criteria that you find to be the best in terms of their relevancy and in terms of the way they are able to keep administrative agencies accountable to the public for results and transparency. Which ones do you think are most often in conflict with each other?
– public acceptance
– professional competence
– participation, representativeness, and diversity
– effective database
– cost and timeliness
– promotion of private efficiency
– accountability to the president
– accountability to Congress
– compatibility with state regulation
4. Discuss the 2010 Pew Center on the States and Public Policy survey cited in the text where residents of the five most financially distressed states commented on their distrust of government yet their high expectations of that government. What do you think of these incongruities?
5. Comparing bureaucracies around the world, does it strike you as strange that the U.S. bureaucracy, as measured proportionately as government employment as a share of total employment, falls in the middle range of the world’s industrialized nations? Do you find it strange that the U.S. bureaucracy is far smaller than the government bureaucracies of Ireland, France, Finland, Hungary, and Canada and about the same size of bureaucracies as Australia, Portugal, Poland, and Spain? What do you think accounts for large government bureaucracy and our perceptions of them from country to country?
6. Civil Service employees can be fired for just cause but according to the text, “ . . . the larger problem is removal of the mediocre.” Often people get redistributed because it is so difficult to fire them. What do you think about this?