MPA 310001F20 Clark Administration of Brookton & Its Police Department Case Questions: Political Science Answers 2021
MPA 310001F20 Clark Administration of Brookton & Its Police Department Case Questions
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Case Study Information
Case studies will simulate key components of the course to allow students to understand the course
subject matter and apply the basic concepts in public administration by analyzing an issue and appropriately
The case study should be in American Psychological Association (APA) citation and format style. Please visit
the Purdue OWL if you need information on how to format your paper and if you need to view sample papers.
Students are required to answer the questions specifically presented at the end of each case study but must also
incorporate and consider the following five core questions in their responses:
Identify the most important facts surrounding the case.
Identify the key issue or issues.
Specify alternative courses of action.
Evaluate each course of action.
Recommend the best course of action.
1. Identify the most important facts surrounding the case
Read the case several times to become familiar with the information it contains. Pay attention to the
information in any accompanying discussion, debates, positions, or figures. Many case scenarios, as in real life,
present a great deal of detailed information. Some of these facts are more relevant than others for problem
identification. One can assume the facts and figures in the case are true, but statements, judgments, or
decisions made by individuals should be questioned. Underline and then list the most important facts and
figures that would help you define the central problem or issue. If key facts and numbers are not available, you
can make assumptions, but these assumptions should be reasonable given the situation. The ?correctness? of
your conclusions may depend on the assumptions you make.
2. Identify the key issue or issues
Use the facts provided by the case to identify the key issue or issues facing the company you are studying. Many
cases present multiple issues or problems. Identify the most important and separate them from more trivial
issues. State the major problem or challenge facing the town administration. You should be able to describe the
problem or challenge in one or two sentences. You should be able to explain how this problem affects the
strategy or performance of the organization.
You will need to explain why the problem occurred. Does the problem or challenge that comes from a changing
environment, new opportunities, a declining community involvement, or inefficient internal or external
implementation processes? In the case of public administration related problems, you need to pay special
attention to the role of administrative officials, elected officials, and third party interventions as well as the
behavior that is involved.
Public Admin issues in the public world typically present a combination of management, technology, and
organizational issues. When identifying the key issue or problem, ask what kind of problem it is: Is it a
management problem, a technology problem, an organizational problem, or a combination of these? What
management, organizational, and technology factors contributed to the problem?
To determine if a problem stems from management factors, consider whether managers are exerting
appropriate leadership over the organization and monitoring organizational performance. Consider also
the nature of management decision-making: Do managers have sufficient information for performing
this role, or do they fail to take advantage of the information that is available?
To determine if a problem stems from technology factors, examine any issues arising from the
organization?s information technology infrastructure: its hardware, software, networks and
telecommunications infrastructure, and the management of data in databases or traditional files.
Consider also whether the appropriate management and organizational assets are in place to use this
To determine the role of organizational factors, examine any issues arising from the organization?s
structure, culture, demographics, politics, class, race, wages, rights, divisions among interest groups,
relationships with other organizations, as well as the impact of changes in the organization?s external
environment-changes in government regulations, economic conditions, or the actions of administrators
and elected officials.
You will have to decide which of these factors?or combination of factors?is most important in explaining why
the problem occurred.
3. Specify alternative courses of action
List the courses of action the elected and/or appointed officials can take to solve its problem or meet the
challenge it faces. For public admin related problems, do these alternatives require a new implementation
strategy or the modification of an existing policy? Are new policies and the decision making processes,
organizational structures, or management behavior required? What changes to organizational processes would
be required by each alternative? What public policy would be required to implement each alternative?
Remember, there is a difference between what an organization ?should do? and what that organization actually
?can do?. Some solutions are too expensive or operationally difficult to implement, and you should avoid
solutions that are beyond the organization?s resources. Identify the constraints that will limit the solutions
available. Is each alternative executable given these constraints?
4. Evaluate each course of action
Evaluate each alternative using the facts and issues you identified earlier, given the conditions and information
available. Identify the costs and benefits of each alternative. Ask yourself ?what would be the likely outcome of
this course of action? State the risks as well as the rewards associated with each course of action. Is your
recommendation feasible from a social, technical, operational, and/or financial standpoint? Be sure to state
any assumptions on which you have based your decision.
5. Recommend the best course of action
State your choice for the best course of action and provide a detailed explanation of why you made this
selection. You may also want to provide an explanation of why other alternatives were not selected. Your final
recommendation should flow logically from the rest of your case analysis and should clearly specify what
assumptions were used to shape your conclusion. There is often no single ?right? answer when it comes
to public policy. Each option is likely to have risks as well as rewards such as socially or economically and
how you effective and convincing you can present your solution or argument is critical.
Identifies and demonstrates a
sophisticated and thorough
understanding of the main
issues/problems in the case study.
Applies the right understanding of the
decision making process and presents
an insightful and thorough analysis of
all identified issues and problems.
Includes all necessary theoretical
concepts in the case study.
Supports diagnosis and opinions with
strong arguments and well
Presents a balanced and critical view;
interpretation is both reasonable and
Links to course
Makes appropriate and powerful
connections between identified
issues/ problems and the strategic
concepts studied in the course
readings and lectures.
Supplements case study with relevant
and thoughtful research and
documents all sources of information.
Presentation of case
Demonstrates clarity, conciseness and
correctness; formatting is appropriate
and writing is free of grammar and
Identifies and demonstrates an
accomplished understanding of most
of the issues/problems.
Does not identify and demonstrate an
accomplished understanding of most
of the issues/problems in the case
Presents a thorough analysis of the
decision making process most of the
Presents a superficial or incomplete
analysis of some of the identified
issues; omits necessary calculations.
Has minimal or missing some
necessary theoretical concepts in the
Missing application of theoretical
concepts in the case study.
Supports diagnosis and opinions with
limited reasoning and evidence.
Little or no action suggested and/or
inappropriate solutions proposed to
the issues in the case study.
Presents a somewhat one-sided
Presents no arguments.
Demonstrates and presents minimal
engagement with subjective ideas
rather than objectives ideas.
Presents no engagements or ideas in
the case study.
Makes appropriate but somewhat
vague connections between identified
issues/problems and concepts studied
in readings and lectures.
Makes inappropriate or little
connection between issues identified
and the concepts studied in the
Demonstrates limited command of
the analytical tools studied and
supplements case study with limited
Supplements case study if at all, with
incomplete research and
Occasional grammar or spelling errors,
but still a clear presentation of ideas;
Writing is unfocused, rambling, or
contains serious errors; poorly
organized and does not follow
Case Study 1: Chief Vs. Council Member
The Case in the Town of Brookton
A community of 19,500 residents, Brookton is a short commute from a small Northeastern city and a reasonable
commute from several other large urban centers. Its residents are primarily professionals, many of whom have
moved to town for the excellent schools, the beauty of the place, and its high quality of life. Crime is low, trees
and parks are plentiful, water sports and golf abound, and the small retail district meets the residents? daily
needs. As in many similar upscale communities, the populace leans to the Republican Party, although its
location in New England adds social liberalism to Brookton?s political climate. Town government is lean, with
most local tax dollars going to the schools. The council-manager form of government generally serves the
community well: despite partisan elections, residents expect high-quality services in a minimally political
environment. In recent years, there has been a strong anti-tax movement in town that manifests itself at summer
town meetings on finances.
The town manager, Paul Hathaway, has been on the job for just six months. Prior to his appointment by the
town council, he had served as director of Brookton?s department of public works for twenty years. A native of
the town, he was popular with the residents and familiar to the council. He was appointed after the council
summarily dismissed his predecessor, Harry Franks, whose dozen years of service were marked by an
increasing hostility to the town council. The episode that led to Franks?s dismissal involved his loyalty to an
unpopular and ineffective fire chief. Council members frequently bore the brunt of citizens? complaints about
the chief. In turn, Franks resented council comments about his department managers?in fact, he was openly
disdainful of their public comments about the fire service. At the council meeting immediately preceding his
dismissal, Franks had rolled his eyes, laughed out loud, and refused to answer a variety of questions from the
council. Hathaway, the new manager, had observed this dynamic both from his perch at the department of
public works and from his seat in the audience at council meetings. Also attending these meetings was
Brookton?s new police chief, Jack Forester, who had been hired by Franks six months prior to Franks?s
departure. Forester was a consummate professional and had recently retired from a stellar career with the state
police. During his hiring interviews, Franks had made clear to Forester his disrespect for the ?politicians? on the
council and had given him tips on how to minimize their ?meddling? in department affairs.
Hathaway was an unknown quantity to Police Chief Forester, but Forester did know that he could be summarily
dismissed by the manager and that the manager in turn could be summarily dismissed by the council.
Brookton?s five-member town council consisted of four Republicans and one Democrat. Two of these members
had been elected six months earlier?one was the lone Democrat and the other was the former police chief. The
former chief, Nate Donardo, had run the police department for a dozen years, using a management style that
was relaxed and casual. He had a close relationship with his officers, many of whom he still saw at the local
coffee shop. The Democrat, Alicia Simmons, was a college professor in political science and card-carrying
member of the American Civil Liberties Union. She had run for office at the request of the local Democratic
Party and frequently acted in a manner that indicated that she was driven more by ideology than by a desire to
The Case Upon arriving in Brookton, Chief Forester found a department in a brand new, state-of-the-art facility.
However, he discovered that it operated under half-century-old personnel policies and an unwritten but
uncontested code of conduct. As he understood it, this code was unprofessional and potentially dangerous.
Forester saw the relaxed dress, casual demeanor, and flexible work rules of the department as problematic from
the perspectives of both esprit de corps and law enforcement. His career as a state trooper had imbued him with
the belief that officers, by both appearance and demeanor, must command respect and convey authority. The
officers, however, had a different perspective: one cultivated by their former boss, now-Councilman Donardo.
Like many of them, he was born and raised in Brookton. He practiced a community policing philosophy before
it was called that.
Officers should, in his view, spend time at the local coffee shop, learn the names and problems of the local
teenagers, and be familiar with particular difficult family situations. Decorum, procedures, and sharp dress were
less important, and there was little emphasis on familiarity with current investigatory techniques and data
analysis. Once on the job, Chief Forester discovered that he had inherited a loose assortment of practices,
policies, and rules that seemed anything but definitive. Therefore, consistent with his plan to modernize and
professionalize the department, one of his first acts was to draft a forty-page ?Manual of Police Policies and
Its contents were inspired and informed both by the chief?s experience in the state police and by his study of
similar codes in numerous other local police departments. Forester organized the manual to factor in the
existing guidelines (such as he could find them) while adding more definitive sections on leadership,
professional conduct and courtesy, personal appearance, use of alcohol off duty, gambling, meal breaks,
saluting, telephone usage, use of tobacco and chewing gum, and outside associations. The part about outside
associations had two features: it prohibited officers from associating with individuals with a criminal past, and it
required them to obtain the chief?s approval before joining any outside club or organization. The chief believed
these new rules would bring his department into the twenty-first century and protect the town against liability.
Implementation of these rules?as now presented in the manual?was contingent on approval by the town
council, which typically looked to the town manager and town solicitor for advice on such matters. The chief
had submitted the draft manual to the former town manager, Harry Franks, and had it reviewed by the town?s
lawyer, but had not yet submitted it to the town council when Hathaway came on board. Four months into
Hathaway?s tenure, Forester presented his manual to Hathaway.
Hathaway faced a dilemma. He doubted the feasibility of Forester?s proposed manual and considered sharing
his misgivings with the town council. He knew all the police officers, having attended high school with several
of them, and during his tenure at the department of public works, he had worked well with them on a number of
projects. Given his understanding of the culture of the town?s police department, he knew that the newest
policies and procedures that Forester developed for the manual would be unwelcome. In addition, having
witnessed the town council?s public, rancorous confrontation with his predecessor, Hathaway understood the
council?s frame of mind. The two behaviors of Franks that had most frustrated the council were his steadfast
support of his department heads in the face of council criticism and his tendency to withhold information.
Hathaway did not want to give the council the impression that its concerns about any of his department heads
were irrelevant or inappropriate?nor did he want the council to lose trust in him. During his job interview with
the council for the town manager position, two of his selling points were his commitment to open government
and his acknowledgment that he served at the pleasure of the council.
To keep his job, Hathaway had to keep the council?s trust and assure its members that he took their concerns
seriously. Privately, Town Manager Hathaway knew that he was not an expert in police procedures. Regardless,
he was loath to provoke a confrontation with Chief Forester. In his former position heading the department of
public works, Hathaway had sat next to Forester at the weekly manager?s meetings. There, they heard Franks
(then town manager) repeatedly denigrate the town council, and Franks also was widely known to prompt the
department heads to disregard council members? meddling in administrative affairs.
Hathaway was unsure if Forester shared Franks?s attitudes; however, he could see that Forester was clearly
having difficulty transitioning from the very professional, almost paramilitary state police organization to this
small-town police department. Hathaway?s first act as town manager had been to fire the fire chief, who had
been the primary bone of contention between Franks and the council. Now fire department morale was at rock
bottom, and contract negotiations were looming. The last thing Hathaway needed was an unhappy police chief
managing an unhappy police department.
Keeping his reservations to himself for the time being, Town Manager Hathaway put the proposed manual on
the July council agenda. If the council approved the proposed rules and regulations, he reasoned, problem
solved. The chief gets what he wants, Hathaway has no conflicts to mediate, and the council goes on to the next
issue. However, that was not going to happen, at least not right away. The five council members first learned of
the proposed rule changes when they received their packets on the Wednesday prior to the Monday meeting.
Attached to the forty-page ?Manual of Police Policies and Procedures? was Hathaway?s one-sentence
recommendation that the manual be adopted as presented.
In the remaining few days prior to the council meeting, council members began getting calls and visits from two
sources: rank-and-file police officers and the ACLU. The first, who insisted on anonymity during their calls and
meetings, complained about the chief?s proposed rules, asking ?Why is he fixing what isn?t broken?? and
?Doesn?t he know this isn?t the state police?? Some of the officers said, ?He doesn?t understand how to run a
small-town department,? and ?We won?t be able to get our job done under these rules.?
The ACLU had a different set of concerns, and the Friday before the meeting it articulated them in long letter
to each of the council members. According to the ACLU, several provisi?
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