Metropolitan Government: Perspectives and Projections
Shiner, Michael R.
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Historically the growth of reform in federal, state, and local governments has been a slow process. Often an extreme position presented itself before the majority of the people would support any alterations in their current government. In the first part of this essay, the historical development of the governmental structure and general community of the city shall be examined. The structure of local government has changed as the community has demanded change. This is clearly presented in the historical account of part I. The second part will follow the development of the metropolitan area and the fragmentation of governments controlling these areas. New ideas of reform have been constantly proposed in a good number of the metropolitan areas across the United States. Some of these options such as 'Authorities' and 'Consolidation' will be examined in greater detail. The problems and drawbacks of reform movements can be successful. Ways in which these obstacles can be dealt with will also be discussed using the history of reform as a guide. The afterward looks at the Kalamazoo County community as it tries to restructure its governments. In light of the successes and failures of the U.S. reform movements, the attempts in the Kalamazoo Area are very promising. Metropolitan communities carry the burden of the majority of the United States population. Some type of solution to the plight of these communities must be found. There is no one solution within these pages, but several different directions to look into. Anyone or a combination of all the methods discussed could help eliminate the increasing problems facing metropolitan areas. The one sure issue however, is that metropolitan government, now more than ever, has to be examined and re-examined until the sickness can be diagnosed and the medicine prescribed.