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Agency Discretion Essay

1213 words - 5 pages

When an agency can choose between two or more alternatives that mean the agency has discretion. Arbitrariness can be cause by too much discretion; therefore it is best it is best if it is not too broad. On the other hand inflexible public administration can lead to too little discretion and this is just as bad. As it stands now the agencies are given too much discretion and are not being monitored enough. The framers protected civil rights through the federal constitution, stated constitutions and statutory law because they were concerned about the excessive and unchecked discretion which eventually led to arbitrary decision making. Americans show a cautious distrust if not anxiety of discretion. These rights act as restrictions on the discretion of lawmakers and law enforcers.
Discretion does have its advantages. Philip Howard puts forward as an argument that discretion is an essential and inevitable element of public administration. According to Howard discretion is needed to make certain that benevolence is in the manner of governing. He suggest that in an effort to attain conformity with the rules or fairness, more than is normal limited the discretion of public officials in some principle of action adopted by government areas.
A sentence expressed to illicit information as to whether discretion can successfully determine the behavior of. An example is police departments have been successful in decreasing the amount of deaths that occur from high speed police chases and the use of deadly force by setting up policies to control the chases and the deadly force. In other instances being able to control discretion has been proven burdensome. Sometimes the cure is worse than the symptom: that is the dominance may have not planned and have the opposite of the desired effect. Howard reveals that today there are so many workplace safety rules that inspectors have to decide upon the rules to enforce. The actual intention of generating so many rules was to put a cap on the power of the inspectors. One study predicted that 80 percent of the thousands of rules made known by the Occupational Safety and Health Administrations rules go unenforced. Therefore have not enough rules and also having too many rules leave inspectors with compelling discretion.
This problem would not be happening if an agency had the wherewithal to enforce all its rules. This compromise has its complications also. Firstly it is expensive. We may want to be able to spend money so that our nuclear plants are safe but may not want to have to be strict when it comes to our building codes when we are constructing swimming pools. Howard makes a point that when rules are put into place they cannot see every likelihood. Then naturally the rule making can lead to unfairness. One of the examples is enforcing rules when the purpose of the rule is not fulfilled. The other problem is not acting when required because the drafters of the rules did not anticipate the...

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