As you progress in the study of public administration, you will find a continuous friction among different actors in the landscape of governance. Congress has “ outsourced” its lawmaking responsibilities to the administrative agencies, but constantly tries to control the agencies through oversight, budgetary process, etc. Politicians are constantly concerned with their re-election; therefore, they want to make sure that the administrative agencies do not initiate laws that would affect the well-being of their constituencies. The courts continue to make laws in the process of their judicial decisions contrary to the Constitution that reserves that role to Congress. The courts are also ever ready to review the work of the executive branch, especially agencies to make sure that they work within the legislative intent. The other actors that are “bone in the throat” of Congress and the Courts are the public administrators. Public administrators are not elected officials but they make rules and regulations that affect the citizens. As if that is not enough, public administrators continue to demand more and more decision-making discretion or freedom from political influence in the course of their work. This is troubling to Congress, courts and the general public. Should public administrators be contained? As you read through chapters 9 and 10 of Cooper, you will understand why there is concern to prevent misuse of administrative discretion. You will also see the intermingling of law and politics in chapter 10 as Congress tries to exert its oversight influence to tame or check and balance the activities of the executive branch. Answer these questions when you have thoroughly studied the two chapters. Do not just browse through the pages of these chapters. You have to find time to read it if you are to answer the questions properly. Besides, there are important discussions in these chapters that will impact your practice in the future. Read also the supplementary reading. Questions: 1. The relationship between the legislature and the regulatory agencies can be likened to that of chicken and egg. Chicken wants to be free but afraid that its freedom would lead to the breaking of the egg. By the same token, the legislature need regulatory agencies, but is reluctant to give agencies broad decision-making powers, including the power to make laws. Sometime the Agencies just do as they deem necessary, and this bothers the legislature. In any situation, violation of trust can have serious consequences in a relationship. Congress in its regulatory process has developed three mechanisms that regulate its relationship with the regulatory agencies. Identify and discuss these three mechanisms. 2. In spite of the legislative and judicial effort to limit discretionary authority granted to Administrative Agencies and public administrators, we have seen from the reading that the discretionary decision-making and the limits on it are to some extent functions of the sources from which the authority to exercise discretion emanates. Identify and discuss these sources of discretionary authority. I am not asking you to “list” the sources – I am asking you to “identify and discuss” the sources.
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