Public Administration and the Public

Free «Public Administration and the Public» Essay Sample

The public administration influences considerably the economy and society. Due to its influence on the global aspects of the country’s life, the activities of the public administration have a great impact on the well-being of the common citizens. No wonder that the relations between the public and public administration are complicated. The major reason for this is that the public and public administration depend on one another. Because of it, their relations may have many different forms. In general, these interactions may be divided into the following categories: the ways how the public interact with public administration, how the public evaluate the work of the public administration, and how public administration responds to the public needs and requests. So, in this essay, the ways of interactions between the public and public administration will be observed. In particular, the paper will pay attention to clients and customers, regulated public, participants, litigants, street-level encounters, and contractors.

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The Public’s Interaction with Public Administration

Public administration’s activities affect every individual in the United States almost all the time. In general, citizens of the U.S. are greatly influenced by the actions of the Food and Drug Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s inspection. Moreover, every activity of the individual is closely connected with the public administration. For example, while watching TV or listening the radio, citizens are affected by the Federal Communication Commission (FCC); living in the metropolis or remote village, every individual is under the protection of the Departments of Homeland Security and Defense. Moreover, in some sense, every public administration is responsible for the citizens in particular areas.

The ways of the interaction between the public and public administration are endless. The list of examples how the daily lives and well-being of the individuals are affected by the public administration may be rather long. However, to have a clear-cut understanding of the relations between the public and public administration, they may be divided into the six major categories.

Clients and Customers

The first type of the interaction between public administration and the public is the interaction between the customers and clients. In this context, the range of possibilities is quite vast. According to one study, more than half of the population of the United States, approximately 57.5%, had at least one direct recent relation with the administrative agency in 1970s (Rosenbloom, Kravchuk, & Clerkin, 2014). Among the areas of the contact, there were the following: public assistance, job training, employment, retirement benefits, unemployment compensation, and hospital/medical care. Moreover, the percentage could be considerably increased if it had included the following aspects of the interaction between the public and administrative agencies: postal service, public education and recreation. The nature of the consumer-client relations is that every individual is seeking to obtain a service or benefit from the administrative agency.

The Regulated Public

The public also may interact with public administration playing the role of the regulatees (Rosenbloom et al., 2014). Among the most common examples of such interactions, there are the following: traffic violations, police matters, income taxes, and motor vehicle licenses. Unfortunately, these four categories do not encompass all possible situations when citizens are the regulatees of the administrative agency. Moreover, service and limitations are often combined. Therefore, both the customer and client also may be a regulatee. Among the cases of it, there are the following: public assistance, public housing, and even public education. Furthermore, approximately 6.9 million of the citizens of the United States were under the adult correctional supervision (Rosenbloom et al., 2014). In other words, one in every thirty-four adults in the United States were under the adult correctional supervision at the end of 2011. Furthermore, these individuals were not constrained or regulated. They were restrained or controlled. In addition, in such fields as equal opportunity, labor relations, and regulation of the occupational safety and health, a great number of the citizens of the U.S. are subject to the legal constraints.


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Being a participant is also the form of interaction between the public and public administrators. Many different public administrative programs involve the direct participation of the citizens. These are education and agriculture programs. In addition, among the agencies that often hold public hearings, there are the following: housing agencies, public utility commissions, and some other agencies. Overall, the public use of opportunities to participate in public administration appears to be quite low, but in some cases the groups are extra effective in making the agencies responsive.


Another type of the interaction between the public and public administration takes place in a form of litigants. Some of the United States’ citizens are seeking to litigate their complaints or claims against the public administrations. In this context, the litigation may mean the direct response to the agency’s activities when they are doing something harming individuals. For instance, it may be cutting the benefits of the public assistance. Unfortunately, the litigation cases are often so numerous that they place significant burdens on courts’ and agencies’ ability to hear them. For example, among the commissions that always struggle with the substantial backlog of cases is the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Furthermore, even the Supreme Court’s decisions are requiring the procedural in many administrative actions that make welfare agencies modify their structures extensively or change their processes. In addition, the Court’s equal proportion decision influences significantly public sector of human resources management.

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Street-Level Encounters

Street-level encounters are the other form of the interaction between the public and public administration. Moreover, they are often a characteristic of the individual role of regulatee. However, their role may be divided into the following ones: rendering the assistance and applying the constraints. Unfortunately, it only depends on a street-level bureaucrat. There are various reasons for the street-level interaction with them. For example, there are the following: injuring oneself in an accident, asking them for directions, or engaging in prohibited or suspicious conduct.


Nowadays, the number of citizens that are employed on contracts by the 89.000 governments of the United States is unknown. Nevertheless, it is obvious, that governments contract for the quite broad services and goods, starting from developing the proposed rules, or purchasing paper clips, to handling space shuttle launches. However, the federal government averages approximately three contract workers for each of its military, postal, or civilian employees. In total, the amount of these contract workers is more than 14.6 million (Rosenbloom et al., 2014). Furthermore, there is no doubt that the local governments employ a couple of millions more contractors that involve more than five hundred billion dollars. In addition, the contractors may be involved in voluntary relations with agencies, making them a subject of substantial governmental oversight. Also, the agencies may require them to meet specific working conditions, standards of performance, and transparency.

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Nowadays, the public and public administration interact in different ways, and unfortunately, these ways are often complicated. In general, every citizen of the United States is always a part of the responsibilities of the various agencies and the examples of such responsibilities are endless. On the other hand, every individual can interact with the public administration in the various ways. Among the major ones, there are the following: clients and customers, regulated public, participants, litigants, street-level encounters, and contractors.

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