Who is a public manager?
FOR MOST OF THE 30 YEARS I spent in government, I thought the
answer to this question was: any government agency employee. Well, as I
neared retirement from public service in the mid-1990S, it dawned on me
that with all the downsizing and concomitant outsourcing going on,
government agencies had lots of contractors working alongside civil
servants managing tasks no longer considered inherently governmental.
It's also not escaped my notice that over the past 30 years or so,
what with the devolution of responsibility from federal to state and
local government, and the alternative sourcing that has occurred at
these levels, more and more community-based nonprofits have been added
to the mix of at least quasi-public managers. After all, it has become
increasingly more likely that an employee of a nonprofit organization will provide direct, face-to-face services to public program
participants than will an employee of a government agency. Just consider
such ubiquitious programs as Project Head Start, Meals on Wheels,
Runaway Youth Shelters, Community Development Block Grants, Community
Mental Health Services, etc.