Metropolitan organization - UNT Libraries

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Current Members of the Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations (August 1988)

Private Citizens James S. Dwight, Jr., Arlington, Virginia Daniel J. Elazar, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Robert B. Hawkins, Jr., Chairman, San Francisco, California

Members of the U.S. Senate David Durenberger, Minnesota Carl Levin, Michigan James R. Sasser, Tennessee

Members of the U.S. House of Representatives Sander Levin, Michigan Jim Ross Lightfoot, Iowa Ted Weiss, New York

Officers of the Executive Branch, U.S. Government Andrew H. Card, Deputy Assistant to the President for Intergovernmental Affairs Ann McLaughlin, Secretary of Labor Vacancy

Governors John Ashcroft, Missouri John H. Sununu, Vice Chairmun, New Hampshire Vacancy Vacancy

Mayors Donald M. Fraser, Minneapolis, Minnesota William H. Hudnut, 111, Indianapolis, Indiana Robert M. Isaac, Colorado Springs, Colorado Vacancy

Members of State Legislatures John T. Bragg, Deputy Speaker, Tennessee House of Representatives Ross 0.Doyen, Kansas Senate David E. Nething, North Dakota Senate

Elected County Officials Philip B. Elfstrom, Kane County, Illinois, County Commission Harvey Ruvin, Metropolitan Dade County, Florida, County Commission Sandra Smoley, Sacramento County, California, Board of Supervisors



A Commission Report

Metropolitan Organization: Louis Case .II


Preface This report marks the first publication in a series of case studies being undertaken by ACIR in an effort to learn more about how complex metropolitan areas are organized and governed in our federal system. This study focuses on the metropolitan area of St. Louis, Missouri, and, therein on St. Louis County. This area and county were selected for study precisely because of a governmental structure that is among the most complex in metropolitan America. St. Louis County, organized separately from the City of St. Louis, now contains 91 municipalities, 23 school districts, and 25 fire protection districts, and continues to grow and develop. The research presented here follows a different approach from typical metropolitan area studies. Instead of adopting a reform perspective, the approach in this study explicitly seeks to describe and understand the organizational dynamics of a complex set of local jurisdictions in a metropolitan county. No effort is made to measure St. Louis County against the standard of a single metropolitan government. Instead, a multiplicity of local governments is viewed as a potentially productive "local public economy," in the terms of ACIR's recent report The organization of Local Public Economies (A-109), and is judged according to functional criteria. No such system is perfect, and this report has some criticisms to offer and improvements to suggest. The focus of the report, however, is on the lessons to be learned from the creative energies of a productive metropolitan community of communities. Among these lessons are some of the positive aspects of a jurisdictional pattern long characterized as "fragmented. " These positive aspects include both the potential for and realization of more accessible representation of local citizens, more economical patterns of accountability, and greater local responsibility for community problems. The report also notes that jurisdictional fragmentation need not lead to functional fragmentation. A variety of organ-

izational "overlays" can knit jurisdictions together at key points. Economies of large scale can be captured without sacrificing the economies of small scale. None of these good things, of course, come about without paying a price-in this case, the costs consist of the time and effort needed to bring about multijurisdictional coordination and development. The best evidence that these activities are worth the price, however, is that citizens and officials vo