Beyond Labels

A 360° Discussion of Foreign, National and Local Policy Issues

Bureaucrats or Politicians?

In local government, we have the flexibility to define (or redefine) certain positions as requiring elected representatives and others as being available to government employees. What metrics should be used to decide whether to install a politician (elected) or bureaucrat (appointed or employee) for a given position?

This can be relevant, in particular, for positions that (we think) require substantial technical expertise—in the local context, think Road Commissioner or Treasurer.

Here are some resources provided by Becky W., who suggested the overall topic:

Professionals in government

Professional Leadership in Local Government (DeHoog & Whitaker, International Journal of Public Administration)

Education about the workings of democracy

Putting Democracy Back into Public Education (The Century Foundation, a progressive, independent think tank)

Question: How much responsibility do political parties have to educate the public about the democratic process?


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