13 Aug Democratic vs. Bureaucratic Control
As we will see in Chapter 6, a City Manager is a professional, or an expert, hired by the city to administer certain government functions for that city. The City Manager is supposed to be non-political, or to be “above politics.” The professionalism of the City Manager is similar to Civil Servants that work in the Federal Bureaucracy at the National level. The introductions of experts into our political community brings about a potential conflict between experts/professionals, who may be highly trained and skilled at running a government, and the people, who are the basis of any free government. This potential conflict brings about the very important question of who, in the end, should have the final say in American politics- the people or professionals/experts?
In other words, professionals like a City Manager may know what is “best” for their city but do the people have a right to overrule them? Another way to consider this problem is if the people want to do something (like build a park) but doing it will be harmful to their city should the city manager have the right to overrule them? You can think about this in terms of Democratic vs Bureaucratic control, which is discussed in your textbook.
Instructions: In a short essay (10-12 sentences) discuss this problem and determine who, in your opinion, should have the final say. You may use the following scenario to help frame your discussion. You do not necessarily need to use the scenario provided but your essay must be 10-12 sentences and must thoroughly consider the topic of Democratic vs. Bureaucratic control. Complete your essay in a separate word document and submit it through eCampus by Friday (4/12) at 11:59PM.
Scenario: The people of a city overwhelmingly support building a new park. The city manager has informed them, however, that building this park will cause extensive damage to their water supply. The damage to the water supply can be fixed through increased taxes in order to find a new water supply. After hearing this the people of the city still want to build the park. Finally, the city manager has determined that permanent damage to the environment will occur because of the construction of the park. In this scenario who should have the final say, the people (who want the park) or the city manager (who does not want the park)?