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The Municipal Balance of Power: Lessons from Federalist 51

Author: FREDERIC D. HOMER AND ROBERT A. SCHUHMANN
Published in PAM, Vol. 10 No. 3

The need to build constructive relationships between city councils and
managers is as important today as it ever was. However, in a world of
increasingly complex municipal service provision the obstacles to
productive manager-council relationships loom large. This paper
explores the complex relationships between elective officials and meritbased
staff, with a special emphasis on understanding the variability in
the sets of communication patterns that develop among city managers,
merit-based staff, and their elected superiors. In the end, this paper
explores the usefulness of Federalist 51 in designing and navigating the
rough seas of council-manager relationships.

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