County Government: A Guide to Efficient and Accountable Government / Edition 1

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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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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780275968298
  • Publisher: Greenwood Publishing Group, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 4/28/2000
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 216
  • Lexile: 1490L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 6.38 (w) x 9.66 (h) x 0.81 (d)

Meet the Author

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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Table of Contents

Figures and Tables
Pt. I County government: An Overview 1
1 Counties in the American Political System 3
App. A Should County Government Which Predates Statehood Be Granted Greater Legal Standing? 25
App. B Corruption in County Government: More Past than Present 26
App. C The March Against Intimidation: Free Speech and Dollars 28
App. D County Elections: Some Require Federal Preclearance 29
App. E The Battle Over Rateables 30
App. F The Chippewa, Tax Immunity, and County Government 32
App. G Contracting Out: Waste, Free Speech, and Commerce 33
2 Issues in County Government: Revenue Limitations, Rural Counties, and County Reform 35
3 Toward the Next Millennium 77
Works Cited 81
Pt. II The Union County Plan: Achieving Efficiency and Accountability through Charter Revision 85
Preface 87
1 Summary of Findings and Recommendations 91
2 Introduction 95
3 Present Problems and Future Challenges 99
4 Union County's Options 105
5 A Proposed Form of Government for the Future 117
6 Effectiveness and Economy of the Commission's Recommendations 127
App. A A Plan of Action for an Orderly Transition 133
App. B Administrative Code Recommendations 135
App. C Schedule of Meetings Held by the Union County Charter Study Commission 139
App. D Statistical Tables 143
App. E The Proposed Charter 147
Supplement A The Right to Vote on Taxes Act: Proposition 218 171
Supplement B An Approach to the Resolution of Public Land Disputes 179
Bibliography 185
Index 193
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 4, 2006

    Perfect eye opener to County Government

    I actually am a student of Professor Coppa's at Union County College in NJ. I read this book because it was part of the class and we had a test and a paper on it. To a person that does not care about County Government, this book to them is a waste of money and time. But after I read this book, I had an amazing understaning of Counties and Government. This book is an eye opener and an awesome guide. I recommend this book to any future lawyers and public administrators.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2001

    Great book for law students looking to understand local government

    As a second year law student I found Professor Coppa's book an extremely useful tool for understanding local government. The clarity and interest with which he conveys the material allows for the reader to fully grasp the reforms that are needed at the county government level.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 22, 2000

    An essential Guide

    This book provides a substantial roadmap to any county seeking to explore the possibilities for reform. For the ordinary citizen, this is a most important guide for examining the possibilities for significant change in that area of government which most directly affects us all.

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