BUREAUCRAT POLITICKING: AN EXAMINATION OF LOCAL HEALTH OFFICIALS AND THEIR LOCAL HEALTH DEPARTMENTS
Elligers, Julia Joh
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Based on a model of bureaucrat politicking, this study investigates how local health officials, as political actors, secure financial resources to ensure their local health departments can meet the needs of their constituents. The model draws from theories of bureaucracies, public administration, and community power and describes administrating, advocating, co-learning, and politicking behaviors bureaucrats employ as leaders of local government agencies. The model of bureaucrat politicking generates a series of hypotheses that describe how bureaucrat behavior can affect elected official budget appropriations. I hypothesize that politicking will result in more resources for bureaucrats than administrating, advocating, or co-learning. Secondarily, I hypothesize that co-learning will result in more resources than advocating or administrating. Co-learning is predicted to have a greater affect than advocating because a bureaucrat will be leveraging electoral pressures via constituent engagement. In addition, administrating behavior will result in the fewest resources of the four behavior types. I examine the behaviors of local health officials to uncover how the model of bureaucrat politicking plays out in practice. Results from in-depth interviews with ten local health officials from around the country illustrate how local bureaucrats demonstrate administrating, advocating, co-learning, and politicking behaviors. Ordinary least square regression analyses using survey data mainly from the National Association of County and City Health Officials' National Profile of Local Health Departments study support my hypotheses.