In their book, Miller and Cox ask: “Can managers really act regionally?”, and they explain: “Local governments need to move from regional consumers to regional citizens. A local government is a place where its citizens engage in making decisions about their community. It works best when citizens are working together for the good of the whole. How often do local government officials admonish its citizens when it appears they are showing unbridled self-interest? At the same time, those same officials will enter the regional arena and behave in exactly the same manner they just admonished their own citizens for. If local governments are to be the building blocks of the metropolitan region, they must behave and act like regional citizens. Citizenship is the ability to balance one’s own interests with collective interests. Consumership is the act of transacting in the pursuit of one’s interests while being benignly ambivalent to the impact those transactions may have on others.” (Miller, David Y. Governing the Metropolitan Region: America’s New Frontier: 2014 (pp. 14-15). Taylor and Francis. Kindle Edition.)
Implicit in their question is a basic reality facing all city managers in metropolitan regions: they must balance themselves on a tight rope between serving citizens who want them to act in the interests of the local community while serving the interests of the larger metropolitan area by acting in a way that helps solve regional socio-economic and political issues and problems.
Based upon your reading, of Miller and Cox, your reading of Kemp, as well as your readings of the 4 articles for which you wrote precis, and your reactions to the documentary ‘Chicago: City of the Century’, answer the following questions:
What are the basic tasks and/or functions that any local government must provide its citizens to maintain order and to adequately serve their interests?
What are the various dimensions of governance in metropolitan regions that require local city managers to address metropolitan-wide concerns, problems and interests?
If you were a city manager of a local city, located in a larger metropolitan region, how would you balance your need to serve local citizens with the need to act and work in a way that solves larger metropolitan and regional issues and problems?
Do traditional structures of city government (i.e. Council-Mayor, Commisioner, etc.) really allow city managers to adequately address both local and metropolitan-wide issues? Why or Why not?