How are trends in public administration affecting your city?


A recent article in NLC’s Nation’s Cities Weekly summarized the “top ten trends in public administration.” From new leadership styles to e-democracy to generational change, these trends are affecting city governments, elected officials, and communities.

Antoinette (“Toni”) Samuel, Executive Director of the American Society for Public Administration, presented the analysis to the NLC staff at the most recent Staff Seminar speaker series. Her presentation was based on suggestions from James Svara of Arizona State University.

Here are three examples of the “top ten trends.”

New Leadership Styles. Facilitation and visioning approaches have emerged as effective styles of leadership across forms of government. These are seen as well-suited to situations where no one is in charge, as in cross-sector or multi-jurisdiction efforts. Top administrators rely less on formal authority and more on negotiating skills.

Generational Change and Succession Planning. The profession is preparing for waves of retirements that will accelerate over the next decade, producing a “brain-drain” and the challenge of finding the cash to pay for pensions. Concerns include attracting and retaining young professionals and anticipating and preparing for retirements. Though some retirement-eligible employees are postponing their retirements, governments will be re-focusing attention to succession and workforce planning. . The upside—young professionals bring great IT skills and strong public service values.

E-Government and E-Democracy. For many years, administrators have worked at incorporating information technology into internal and external processes. On-line forms of providing information and obtaining input have developed. More recently, there is experimentation with social media. Concerns arise about security and privacy/identity. In some places, there has been a rise in the stature of the Chief Information Officer (CIO.)

The other seven trends are labeled new governance, strategic management, citizen focus, reorganizing work structure and process, new thinking about service delivery, innovation, and ethics and transparency.

For the entire article, click here.

NOTE TO READERS: Do you see these ten trends happening in your municipality? Do you see other trends that seem just as important as these? Put your thoughts on the “Comment.”

3 comments on “How are trends in public administration affecting your city?”

  1. I agree that the generational change and succession planning is a big issue for cities. With the cost of retirement of the baby boomers, it will be hard to offer competitive packages to attract and retain the best and the brightest. I also wonder if we will ever have long term employees like the wave of boomers retiring now.

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