How Government Works : A Comment on "When Government Works" by Robert C. Wood.

by Robert A. Levine

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Robert C. Wood, former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, has suggested in The Public Interest, Winter 1970, that (1) cabinet officers be made the instruments of presidential authority rather than the representatives of the bureaucracies they supervise; (2) the outlook of the bureaucracies be changed; (3) programs be put on a multi-agency basis with a single "lead" agency having final authority; and (4) the budget and other schedules of the executive and legislative branches be synchronized. The author, in his comment, states that the first 3 suggestions either run counter to the interest-representing nature of federal bureaucracies or, worse yet, they run with the inclinations of these bureaucracies and against the effective implementation of national policy. Alternatives to Wood's solutions are (1) acceptance of competition and rivalry within public organizations and (2) building around federal bureaucracies, utilizing private business through the market structure, and multiple political interests through devices such as community action. 10 pp. (MT)

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