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Comprehensive Exam Essay

1587 words - 7 pages

This paper discusses my understanding of public sector prior to entering CSULA’s Masters of Science in Public Administration program (MSPA), by examining the unique circumstances involved in administering public organizations while studying different techniques of public management. The courses in the program fulfilled my understanding of public sector, and how I perceive the profession of public service now that I have completed the MSPA program.
My Understanding of Public Sector
Upon entering the MSPA program, my assessment of the public sector was limited to the subjects studied while obtaining my Bachelor’s degree in Political Science, my professional experience as an ...view middle of the document...

As a result of my experiences with the public sector during the latest economic recession, I chose to study Public Administration in order to fully understand the circumstances involved in administering the public sector and understanding the issues that the public sector is faced during the recovery stages from the recent economic recession. However, I soon learned that the field of public management was not as simple as I imagined.
The MSPA Program
Intergovernmental Relations
One of my first courses in the MSPA program was Intergovernmental Relations. I began to understand that in United States, specifically California, government was highly fragmented; obscure and overlapping that determines the disposal of power and financial resources that wrestle the public sector. Stephens and Wilkstrom described Intergovernmental relations as the activities and interaction that enable a federal system to function or not function. This class helped me understand there is no person, agency or agenda that dictates the paths or policies of public service: thousands of small to large bureaucratic decisions are made regularly, all under the auspices of government, creating miniscule or substantial waves that affect a multiplicity of interests and motives (Lane, 1999). And likewise, I realized that public problems are complex and slow to fix. Which raises the questions on, how do governments determine which services are deemed unnecessary?
California once had the luxury of money for new schools, new roads, and the new governments that popped up all over the region as suburbs after suburbs incorporated during the 50’s and 60’s (Fulton, 2001). The class and the book, Reluctant Metropolis by William Fulton, clarified many of California’s land and water development choices and budget problems as a product of the 20th century progressive movement. It also looked into California’s economy boom with the introduction of the automobile, and Proposition 13, all which contributed to numerous regional authorities and urban planning choices that attempt to leverage the most political control, profit or sales tax from California’s regions (Fulton, 2001). The class helped me understand the precarious micro-level relationships and iron triangles between developers, politicians and businessmen in California relationships that exploit the state’s dependency on the sales tax through the negotiation of contracts for new infrastructure, often at the expense of maintaining existing infrastructure (Fulton, 2001).
California’s unemployment rate has reached 12.5%, higher than in any recent recession (Matthews & Paul, 2010). Therefore, I realized the many individuals who suffer from California’s dysfunctional budget, and experience consequences such as higher education tuition increases, are the same individuals binding the state into dependent arrangements with the private sector (Matthews & Paul, 2010).
Public Budgeting and Financial Administration
The Public Budgeting and...

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