County Government: A Guide to Efficient and Accountable Government

Front Cover
Greenwood Publishing Group, 2000 - Political Science - 199 pages

Since the early 1900s, the manager form of municipal government has had enthusiastic support. Today, it is one of the most popular forms of municipal government and brought greater efficiency and accountability to municipal operations. However, as Coppa makes clear, this wave of reform has not fully impacted the counties. The commission form, widely criticized for its lack of accountability, remains the most popular form of county government. Coppa suggests greater accountability and efficiency can be achieved if the commission form is replaced with the Union plan and existing county administrators are given greater executive power. The manager plan in Union County can serve as a model for counties without an elected executive, much the same way the Lakewood plan in California symbolizes county and municipal cooperation.

Although Coppa provides a guide to efficient and accountable county government, the book goes beyond its subtitle. It treats neglected topics, such as the legal status of counties, forms of county government, row officers, autonomous bodies, and the central role played by counties in reapportionment litigation. Supreme Court cases involving counties and critical issues such as free speech, elections, tax immunity, and the commerce clause are analyzed. Major issues such as the battle over ratables, revenue limits, and declining population are explored as well. Coppa examines the most critical issues faced by counties today--such as mandated expenditures--and raises the possibility of a constitutional amendment to treat unfunded federal mandates. Coppa recommends creative programs as well as an agenda for achieving efficient and accountable county government. To this end, he examines charter revision and the noncharter route as approaches to achieving economical and responsible county government. This work is an important analysis for students, scholars, researchers, and policy makers involved with local and state government issues.

 

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Contents

Counties in the American Political System
11
Should County Government Which Predates Statehood Be Granted Greater Legal Standing?
21
Corruption in County Government More Past than Present
22
The March Against Intimidation Free Speech and Dollars
24
County Elections Some Require Federal Preclearance
25
The Battle Over Rateables
26
The Chippewa Tax Immunity and County Government
28
Contracting Out Waste Free Speech and Commerce
29
Present Problems and Future Challenges
95
Union Countys Options
101
A Proposed Form of Government for the Future
113
Effectiveness and Economy of the Commissions Recommendations
123
A Plan of Action for an Orderly Transition
129
Administrative Code Recommendations
131
Schedule of Meetings Held by the Union County Charter Study Commission
135
Statistical Tables
139

Issues in County Government Revenue Limitations Rural Counties and County Reform
31
Toward the Next Millennium
73
Works Cited
77
THE UNION COUNTY PLAN ACHIEVING EFFICIENCY AND ACCOUNTABILITY THROUGH CHARTER REVISION
81
Preface
83
Summary of Findings and Recommendations
87
Introduction
91
The Proposed Charter
143
The Right to Vote on Taxes Act Proposition 218
167
An Approach to the Resolution of Public Land Disputes
175
Bibliography
181
Index
189
Copyright

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Page 11 - It is a general and undisputed proposition of law that a municipal corporation possesses and can exercise the following powers and no others: First, those granted in express words; second, those necessarily or fairly implied in or incident to the powers expressly granted; third, those essential to the accomplishment of the declared objects and purposes of the corporation — not simply convenient, but indispensable.
Page 11 - With scarcely an exception, all of the powers and functions of the county organization have a direct and exclusive reference to the general policy of the State, and are, in fact, but a branch of the general administration of that policy.
Page 11 - Municipal corporations proper are called into existence, either at the direct solicitation or by the free consent of the people who compose them. . . . counties are local subdivisions of a state, created by the sovereign power of the state, of its own sovereign will, without the particular solicitation, consent, or concurrent action of the people who inhabit them.

About the author (2000)

FRANK J. COPPA is Associate Professor of History, Director of the Doctoral Program in Modern World History, and Chair of the Vatican Symposium at St. John's University. He has published over a dozen volumes on Papal and Italian History. Among his monographs are biographies of Giovanni Giolitti, Pope Pius IX, Camillo di Cavour and Cardinal Ciacomo Antonelli.

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