Politics and Administration in Council-Manager Government: Differences between Newly Elected and Senior Council Members

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Abstract

This study examines the different attitudes of newly elected officials and senior incumbents on variables that are considered to be the building blocks of the relationship between local elected officials and professional civil service staff: council respect for the city's professional staff; a clear understanding of the roles of council and the staff; and the governing body's commitment towards working as a group and toward consensus. Governing body members who have served for eight or more years show greater respect for staff, have greater role understanding, and value teamwork among their colleagues more than their newly elected counterparts. While there are differences, the attitudes of long-term officials appear to change little while in office. They enter office with the building blocks of their own success. These findings are based on a cross-sectional and modest longitudinal survey research design, supplemented by in-depth interviews.

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