Evidently, the West Carolina Environmental Protection Agency has been in trouble due to lack of inclusiveness in administration, thus Mrs. Sanger coming on board, as a shrewd Administrator, has been quite a relief. The term public administration is not very easy to define, as it has no generally accepted definition among scholars.
Glenn (2009) imagines that trying to define the two words (‘’Public’’ and ‘’Administration’’) separately and combing them as one does not give a clear holistic picture view of what Public Administration is explicitly about. In basic way, he sees Public Administration as that which exists to execute laws and policies. Moreover, he reckons that public administration touches widely on every aspect of life (Glenn, 2009).
Overall, Public Administration is a field of study as well as an occupation, which is largely concerned with activities and tasks of the government and answerable legislative regulations and acts (Glenn, 2009). Environmental agencies such as the West Carolina should carry out Environmental based research, evaluations and promote civic education amongst the citizenry.
Before Sanger took the mantle, these exploits seemed to have been lagging behind. Beyond this, such agency should closely work with neighboring industries and other governmental sectors to facilitate better understanding, conservation, and appreciation of the environment.
The degree of how the agency has been handled cannot be over-emphasized, while the extent and the length of time of negative consequences cannot be foreseen or predicted; the damage seemed obvious. It is therefore important to note that an organization is just as good as the principles of public administration and the degree to which it stringently obeys these principles.
2. Theoretical discussion
The theoretical discussion here will largely focus on the principles of Public Administration. According to the Uk’s Parliamentary and Healthy Services Ombudsman Report (2009), there are six principles namely: ‘’Getting it right; Being Customer focused; Being open and Accountable; Acting Fairly and Proportionately; Putting Things Right; and Seeking Continuous Participation.’’ However, one would want to ask what these principles entail.
Getting it right entails a number of tenets, which marry with the recommendations outlined in West Carolina Environmental Agency Case Study Report. UK Parliamentary and Health Services Ombudsman (2009) mentions, as a principle, that people in administration must act in accordance with the law and applicably with uttermost concern for the rights of all stakeholders.
This overall principle is clearly captured in Sanger’s assertions such as, ‘’Public Officials should think carefully about everything they say or do, even behind closed doors, minimize political miscalculations, ensure a sense of calm and serious analysis in the organization’’ (UK Parliamentary and Health Services Ombudsman, 2009).
Indeed, this orientation fits predominantly in the second principle, which is acting in accordance with the public body’s policy and guidance, whether published or internal. This entails among others, outstanding contemplation of provision of services effectively and efficiently, and this should be done by competently qualified personnel and people who deliver.
The third principle is on being customer focused. Sanger confirms this when she alludes that people should not confuse the public demands to improve the environment with a want to purport their goals.
It is also preeminent in her focus to the need for civic education, so that, in the end they appreciate what the agency is doing in line with the outlined goals. Moreover, she argues that public disagreement should always be avoided because it creates the organization in bad view and perception of the same public it is designed to serve (UK Parliamentary and Health Services Ombudsman, 2009).
The fourth principle is openness and accountability. UK Parliamentary and Health Services Ombudsman (2009) argues that it is imperative for an establishment and its administrators to be clear on their policies as well as protocol in the process of executing their mandate.
This ensures accuracy and minimizes ambiguity. Sanger, in the case study report, outlines that people should learn to say ‘I don’t know’ and that, when ones makes a mistake, then he/she should report immediately. This is because, according to her, when one delays in reporting a problem, the predicament becomes even more complex and increasingly compounded. Indeed, it resonates with the idea that people should take responsibility for action (UK Parliamentary and Health Services Ombudsman, 2009).
The fifth principle is seeking of continuous improvement. This calls for re-examination of protocols and policy statements as often as possible to promote efficient delivery of services, and subsequently requesting for result feedback from various stakeholders. In the end, the establishment must seek out strategies to ensure that satisfaction to various stakeholders is achieved (UK Parliamentary and Health Services Ombudsman, 2009).
This belief is anchored on Sanger’s ideology of mini minimization division between ‘them’ and ‘us’’. Therefore, the inference here is that in the process of continuously evaluating your mandate, one must be cognizant of the fact of inclusiveness and meaningful participation by incorporating ideas across the board is imperative. Beyond this, she lays emphasis when she says ‘include others!’ (UK Parliamentary and Health Services Ombudsman, 2009).
3. Case Questions
3.1 The difference between Sanger’s external environments from that of a Business Executive
There are a number of differences, one of which is in terms of accountability. While the business might be accountable to a small section of the population, Sanger is accountable to the public at large. Secondly, while business executives are mostly profit oriented, Sanger is not; she is concerned with environmental conservation, which does not necessarily profit but has long-standing effects on the population and the generations to come. Her external environment therefore subsumes everyone: all the citizen of the North Carolina and its local government.
3.2 The logic behind each of her sixteen rules: Other principles that might be useful to a public executive in a similar situation
Ideally, the sixteen principles are grounded on good administration. Some other principles could include.
“Putting things write” (UK Parliamentary and Health Services Ombudsman, 2009);
Understanding the organization’s weak links and seeking to get away from it;
Getting it right even if it means redoing it;
Including all other stakeholders meaningfully;
Taking constructive criticism positively;
People should deflate their egos in order to perform; and
Employees should sometimes not only think outside the box but even against it.
3.3 When asked to take over the agency, she was a highly paid business executive. Why do you think she took so large a pay cut?
Her reasons could vary; first, it could mean that she was trying to create a perception that would dissuade the public that they are so enjoying public’s money. This way, she would create acceptability for people who have felt let down by the previous regime. The other reason would be that she wants to channel cuts to other environmental issues such as research, public education, and assessment.
3.4 Sanger’s Sources of power
Her source of power is based on parliamentary Act in the USA; she is accountable to the government and the people of North Carolina and the State Governor.
3.5 Some specific actions she might take during her first few months in office
These may include instituting proper monitoring and evaluation policies, including performance contracts, enforcement of pay cuts, relieving off duty to those who are non-performers, and instituting a panel of experts to be carrying out internal evaluation in the organization. Moreover, she should develop a checklist of immediate assignments that the agency must achieve as radar for measuring up to the expected impact by the population.
It is in order to conclude that, what defines effective and efficient public administration is compliance, as well as conformity to carefully reviewed, and crafted principles that become the road map that public institution follow. Moreover, issues of accountability are paramount in such government agencies. The key principles developed by Sanger are purely deliverables focused. Overall, proper public administration of environmental agencies is a sure way of securing a better stable future for the generations to come.
5. Overview of the theory/ Intellectual Assessment/ Critique of the theory (principles)
The principles outlined in the case argument authoritatively capture the idea that administration of public institutions requires a set out guidelines that must be stringently followed. The case seems to point out that a number of things may fall off the radar whenever people ‘lazy’ around such principles and do not factor them in.
It is also worth of notice that the principles are tailored to the issue of inclusiveness, awareness creation, as well as promotion of participation of the public accruing and based on knowledge gained. This cannot be more obvious other than in Sanger’s point 6 which underscores the fact that “Goals in one area of public policy must be evaluated in light of other goals including for example, creation of jobs as well as economic growth’’ (UK Parliamentary and Health Services Ombudsman, 2009).
The point here is that Public Administrative policies of any agency must take into account that it does not operate in a vacuum; rather, it is just an item with a big basket whose performance and policy must be viewed as a tributary contributing to the holistic well-being. The assumption is thus based on interrelatedness of various departments of the agency to respond to other demands of the population.
However, one might be attempted to point out that the principles are simply motivational and are tailored around what self help groups try to do: to change whom we are irrespective of the fact that people are unique and therefore subscribing to such ‘universal’ principles might not be easily attainable.
Moreover, the contention would also be that it seems not to factor in the idea, that different people working in such organizations exhibit different personality traits, and therefore obedience to the laid down principles might be an uphill task to some.
The other issue worth noting here is the fact that the theoretical principles seem to rely on directive approach rather than purely on motivational one. The principles so mentioned seem not to factor in predicament that the employees of the agency may encounter, and the need to inspire them. One would argue that it is selfish to the extent that it is just result-based.
UK Parliamentary and Health Services Ombudsman. (2009). Principles of Good Administration. UKPHSO. (Online). Available from: http://www.ioi-europe.org/goodadministration/England.pdf (Accessed March 16, 2011).
Glenn, W. (2009). What is public Administration? (Online). Available from: http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/2528893/what_is_public_administration.html?cat=7 (Accessed March 16, 2011).