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Guiding Regionalism and Reform from the Court: Judge John Feikens

Authors

  • Eric S. Zeemering

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    1. San Francisco State University
      Eric S. Zeemering is an assistant professor in the Department of Public Administration at San Francisco State University. His research on local government management and policy has appeared in Public Administration Review, State and Local Government Review, and Urban Affairs Review. He is currently studying the adoption, abandonment, and oversight of interlocal contracts by California cities.
      E-mail:zeem@sfsu.edu
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Eric S. Zeemering is an assistant professor in the Department of Public Administration at San Francisco State University. His research on local government management and policy has appeared in Public Administration Review, State and Local Government Review, and Urban Affairs Review. He is currently studying the adoption, abandonment, and oversight of interlocal contracts by California cities.
E-mail:zeem@sfsu.edu

Abstract

inline imageFor decades, federal district court judges have been deeply involved in the reform of state and local government agencies. Some scholars describe such a judicial role in institutional reform as “managerial.” This profile examines the managerial role of Judge John Feikens, who, since 1977, has supervised the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department's attempts to comply with federal laws on wastewater treatment and water quality. Through his sustained, effective oversight, Feikens became an influential mediator of metropolitan cooperation. His persistence in resolving metropolitan conflict may be viewed with concern by those who worry about lengthy court involvement in public administration. However, this insightful profile underscores poignant contemporary lessons, even from judicial actions, for enhancing metropolitan problem solving.

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