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Madison's Managers

Public Administration and the Constitution

Anthony M. Bertelli and Laurence E. Lynn Jr.

Publication Year: 2006

Combining insights from traditional thought and practice and from contemporary political analysis, Madison's Managers presents a constitutional theory of public administration in the United States. Anthony Michael Bertelli and Laurence E. Lynn Jr. contend that managerial responsibility in American government depends on official respect for the separation of powers and a commitment to judgment, balance, rationality, and accountability in managerial practice. The authors argue that public management—administration by unelected officials of public agencies and activities based on authority delegated to them by policymakers—derives from the principles of American constitutionalism, articulated most clearly by James Madison. Public management is, they argue, a constitutional institution necessary to successful governance under the separation of powers. To support their argument, Bertelli and Lynn combine two intellectual traditions often regarded as antagonistic: modern political economy, which regards public administration as controlled through bargaining among the separate powers and organized interests, and traditional public administration, which emphasizes the responsible implementation of policies established by legislatures and elected executives while respecting the procedural and substantive rights enforced by the courts. These literatures are mutually reinforcing, the authors argue, because both feature the role of constitutional principles in public management. Madison's Managers challenges public management scholars and professionals to recognize that the legitimacy and future of public administration depend on its constitutional foundations and their specific implications for managerial practice.

Published by: The Johns Hopkins University Press

Series: Johns Hopkins Studies in Governance and Public Management


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p. v

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Series Editors’ Foreword

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pp. vii-viii

The Johns Hopkins Studies in Governance and Public Management seeks to publish the best empirically oriented work at the junction of public policy and public management. The goal is to build knowledge that can make a difference in how we understand public policies and that can make their operation more effective. The Johns Hopkins Studies in Governance...

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pp. ix-xi

The seeds that have grown into Madison’s Managers (the title is Bertelli’s inspiration) were sown several years ago when Lynn agreed to be an expert witness for New York City’s Administration for Children’s Services in a class-action lawsuit alleging that agency mismanagement was causing systematic violations of the statutory and constitutional rights of the children in its...

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1 Separated We Stand

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pp. 1-14

The welfare of all Americans depends upon effective public management. The security of the nation, the assurance of civil and criminal justice, the stability and fairness of the economy, equitable access to the resources necessary for individual and collective growth and well-being, and the achievement of the multifarious public policy goals approved by voters and...

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2 That Old-Time Religion

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pp. 15-43

As the field of public administration has outgrown its youth, generation gaps have opened and widened. The field’s seminal figures and ideas have increasingly been regarded as rustic and naïve, even deluded, rather than insightful and prescient when confronting the enduring challenges of constitutional governance. Though there are exceptions...

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3 Orthodoxy and Its Discontents

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pp. 44-71

The tenets, ideas, and prescriptions of public administration’s most prominent pre–World War II contributors enjoyed a fair measure of prestige by the late 1930s. Following Wallace Sayre (1958), traditional thinking is widely (although incorrectly) held to have reached its apogee of influence with the 1937 report of the President’s Committee on Administrative Management...

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4 Raising the Bar: Law and the Administrative Process

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pp. 72-102

Throughout its history, the field of public administration has been strikingly consistent in one significant respect: its ‘‘anti-legal temper’’ (Waldo 1984, 80). John Gaus (1923–1924, 220) notes that ‘‘the new administration . . . claims wide exemption from judicial review of its findings of fact.’’ Says Leonard White (1926, preface), ‘‘The study of administration should start...

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5 A Theory of Politically Responsive Bureaucrats

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pp. 103-131

The recruitment, selection, and retention of federal bureaucrats—that is, the personnel function of American public administration—has largely been relegated to the status of a mundane specialty within the larger field of public administration. In this chapter, we argue that, properly conceived, the personnel function is intended to address—and is only effective...

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6 Managerial Responsibility: A Precept

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pp. 132-149

Defined by Alexander Hamilton as ‘‘due dependence on the people in a republican sense,’’ the concept of managerial responsibility has been central to public administration’s claim to constitutional legitimacy from the beginning of the Republic. Using formal reasoning, we argue in chapter 5 that managerial commitment to a precept of managerial responsibility comprising judgment, balance, rationality,...

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7 Public Management: The Madisonian Solution

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pp. 150-166

The separation-of-powers orientation of modern administrative law demands a constitutional justification for public management. We offer a theory of public management that draws its validity precisely from the separation of powers. That theory, expressed as a precept of managerial responsibility, operates through the long-neglected personnel function of the administrative state, a...


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pp. 167-193


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pp. 195-216


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pp. 216-224

E-ISBN-13: 9780801888786
E-ISBN-10: 0801888786
Print-ISBN-13: 9780801883194
Print-ISBN-10: 0801883199

Page Count: 240
Illustrations: 1 line drawing
Publication Year: 2006

Series Title: Johns Hopkins Studies in Governance and Public Management
Series Editor Byline: Kenneth J. Meier and Laurence J. O'Toole Jr., Series Editors See more Books in this Series

OCLC Number: 213306061
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Madison's Managers

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Separation of powers -- United States.
  • Constitutional history -- United States.
  • Madison, James, 1751-1836 -- Influence.
  • Public administration -- United States.
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