Government and Politics in the Lone Star State
The Texas Bureaucracy and Policy Implementation
7.1 Discuss the essential features of the bureaucratic systems in Texas.
7.2 Assess the dynamics of policy implementation by state bureaucrats in Texas.
7.3 Describe policies utilized by the Texas legislature to control the actions of state agencies and public employees.
7.4 Summarize strategies available to citizens to impact or influence the actions of public employees.
7.5 Differentiate among the personnel systems used by the state and local governments in Texas.
Bureaucratic Systems in Texas (1 of 5)
The Characteristics of the Texas Bureaucracy
Bureaucracies organize large numbers of people to carry out tasks for achieving goals.
Characteristics of bureaucracies include
Size of an organization
Size of the budget
Division of labor and a hierarchy authority structure
Emphasis on specialization and expertise
Elaborate rules and standard operating procedures
Impersonal relationships with functions of positions
Bureaucratic Systems in Texas (2 of 5)
Replacing an Aging Workforce
Turnover rate for state employees in 2015 was over 18 percent with many of those leaving under thirty, the group needed to replace an aging workforce.
Two reasons: Dissatisfaction with wages and working conditions
Bureaucratic Systems in Texas (3 of 5)
An Expanding Government Workforce
Expansion of programs and state spending
$98.1 billion in 2000–2001
$209 billion in 2016–2017
In 2015, the state spent approximately $4,200 per person, ranking among the lowest five states in terms of per capita expenditures.
Bureaucratic Systems in Texas (4 of 5)
An Expanding Government Workforce
The number of full-time state and local employees has grown from 504,000 in 1972 to 1.4 million in 2012.
Local governments have more workers per capita because they are responsible for a wide range of services, including public schools.
85 percent of state government employees work in higher education, public safety and corrections, and social services.
Bureaucratic Systems in Texas (5 of 5)
Privatization of Public Services
State and many local governments contract with private companies to provide some public services like garbage collection and highway construction.
Supporters say it can reduce costs by promoting efficiency.
Critics argue that savings come from paying workers less and not providing benefits.
Are Toll Roads the Solution?
Over the past few decades, public officials, community leaders, the construction industry, and transportation planners enthusiastically pushed for toll roads to address the ever-increasing congestion on Texas highways. By 2015, some 800 miles of toll roads had been constructed. Political reaction to toll roads began to mount when Texans expressed outrage in 2009 with Governor Rick Perry’s Trans Texas Corridor proposals, and it increased as the collection of tolls became problematic and the private company that built SH 130 declared bankruptcy in 2016. Seen here is the Sam Houston Tollway Plaza on Route 8 in Houston.
Table 7-1 Employment by Type of Government, 1972-2012
|Unit of Government||Full-Time Equivalent Employees 1972||Full-Time Equivalent Employees 1982||Full-Time Equivalent Employees 1992||Full-Time Equivalent Employees 2002||Full-Time Equivalent Employees 2012|
|Total for Texas||504,598||732,742||983,299||1,248,838||1,415,305|
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, Census of Governments 1972, vol. 3, no. 2, table 14; Census of Governments, 1982, vol. 3, no. 2, table 13; Census of Governments, 1992, vol. 3, no. 2, table 14; Census of Governments, 2002, vol. 3, table 9; Census of Governments, 2007; Texas Government Employment and Payroll Data, Build-a-Table, http://www.census.gov; Census of Governments, 2012.
Bureaucrats and Public Policy (1 of 3)
Conversion of policy plans into reality
Interpretation of policy
Rules and procedures developed
Bureaucrats and Public Policy (2 of 3)
Obstacles to Policy Implementation
Decisions by policymakers constrain bureaucratic action
Poor legislation and misdirected policies
Implementers may lack know-how or resources.
Policies produce unanticipated results.
Influence of special interests
Bureaucrats and Public Policy (3 of 3)
Appointment to State Agencies
Boards and commissions filled with people from the industries regulated by the agency
Demand for people knowledgeable of the businesses regulated
Seek to protect the industries they represent
Countered by placing more public citizens on boards and commissions
The Governor’s Appointments
Governors historically have appointed a significant number of individuals to state agencies who have contributed to their campaigns or worked in some capacity for their election. John L. Nau, III, who heads a large distributing company in Houston, served as Governor Greg Abbott’s campaign treasurer and made over $500,000 in contributions to Abbott’s numerous campaigns over the years. He has a long-held interest in history, serves on numerous boards and commissions, and was appointed by Governor Perry to chair the Texas Historical Commission (1995–2009). Governor Abbott appointed him to chair the commission a second time in 2015.
Legislative Control of the Bureaucracy (1 of 5)
Legislative Budgetary Control
Draft the budget for the legislature
Little scrutiny over effectiveness of spending
Line items restrict parts of the budget to specific programs
Legislative Control of the Bureaucracy (2 of 5)
Responsibility transferred from comptroller’s office to the Legislative Budget Board in 2003
Recommend spending cuts and ways to eliminate waste and mismanagement
Legislative Control of the Bureaucracy (3 of 5)
Sunset Advisory Commission conducts agency reviews once every twelve years.
Review purpose and performance of agency
The following recommendations can be made:
Restructure, combine, or transfer agency functions
Table 7-4 Sunset Advisory Commission 1979 to 2015, Sixty-Sixth to Eighty-Fourth Legislative Sessions
|Agencies Reviewed by Commission*||Number of Agencies||Blank|
|Agencies Not Subject to Abolishment**||39||Blank cell|
|Agencies Subject to Abolishment||451||Blank cell|
|Actions Taken by Commission||Number of Agencies||Percentage|
|Agencies Abolished Outright||37||8|
|Agencies Abolished and Functions Transferred||46||10|
|* Approximately 130 agencies are subject to sunset review on a periodic basis. Some agencies have been reviewed at least three times since the process was initiated.|
|**These are agencies that were subject to sunset review but not abolishment, and agencies that were reviewed but then their sunset dates were removed from law.|
SOURCE: Texas Sunset Advisory Commission, Final Results of Sunset Reviews, 2014–2015. https://www.sunset.texas.gov/public/uploads/u64/Final%20Results%20of%20Sunset%20Reviews%202014_2015.pdf.
Legislative Control of the Bureaucracy (4 of 5)
The Revolving Door
Move from government employment to private business
Gain experience of and contacts within the industries regulated
Reforms in 1975 and 1991 restrict employees from moving immediately into jobs within regulated industries.
Move from private business to appointed positions on boards and commissions
Legislative Control of the Bureaucracy (5 of 5)
Laws prevent retaliation against agency employees who report wrongdoing.
Little protection actually offered employees
Many public workers are still intimidated by supervisors.
Lack the financial resources for legal battles with the state
Damages limited to $250,000 in lawsuits against the state.
Texas Citizens and the Bureaucracy
Follow These Rules for “Working the Bureaucracy”:
Remember you are dealing with people.
Find the right agency and the right person(s) authorized to provide solutions.
Know your rights and act on them.
Occasionally, you may have to be adversarial.
Governments across the state are adapting new technologies to expedite the provision of services to Texas citizens. The days of delays and lines to transact business with a government employee are being replaced with e-government and an ever-expanding reliance on computers. The Texas Department of Public Safety introduced a queue management system in its Leon Valley–San Antonio driver’s license center in 2013.
As a citizen, how do you expect to be treated by employees who work for local or state agencies? If you were treated rudely or with indifference, how would you redress your grievance?
Merit Systems and Professional Management (1 of 2)
History of Political Patronage in Texas
Jobs awarded on the basis of friendships and political loyalties.
Wide disparities in wages and salaries
Did not ensure hiring of competent or qualified employees
Factors Pushing for Reforms
Merit employment system
Federal requirements for hiring personnel
Protections against job discrimination
Merit Systems and Professional Management (2 of 2)
Current Texas System
Highly fragmented, decentralized, and not a merit-based system
Legislature sets personnel policies.
Job classifications and salary schedules
Agencies determine specific personnel practices.
Jobs listed with the Texas Workforce Commission
Shared Writing 7.5
Consider the discussion in “Attorney General Appeals $1.2M Whistleblower Verdict.” Advocates of administrative reforms have pushed tough whistle-blower laws to encourage public employees who observe illegal or unethical behavior of other employees to report such activities to agency supervisors. Although such actions frequently produce positive results, in some cases there appear to be blatant efforts at cover-up or retaliation, with dire consequences for the whistle-blower. If there is illegal activity going on in an agency, why do some administrators seem disposed to dismiss such information? How would you protect a whistle-blower from retaliation? Do you think many employees are intimidated by a real or perceived threat of retaliation if they report misconduct?
Page 201: Smiley N. Pool/©Houston Chronicle. Used with permission; 204: Tucker Gibson; 210: Lisa Krantz/San Antonio Express-News/ZUMApress/Newscom; 211: D. Fahleson/©Houston Chronicle. Used with permission; 215: Merissa Ferguson/AP Images; 217: Tucker Gibson; 219: Tucker Gibson; 220: Austin Public Library