Welborn, David M.
June 1984
Public Administration Quarterly;Summer84, Vol. 8 Issue 2, p142
Academic Journal
This article contemplates on organizational governance at the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), as of summer 1984. Established in 1933 with a broad developmental mandate, TVA was one of the New Deal's most notable initiatives. Its mission, its distinctive organizational and administrative features and the quality of its leadership combined to give TVA a special place in the ken of students of such matters. It evoked a sense of drama and achievement and an appreciation of the benefits that could be attained through the efforts of competent, imaginative, and responsible public enterprise. Or so it seemed from a Texas vantage point two and one-half decades ago. To be sure, there were some slightly tarnished spots on the image. As a boy, this author was intrigued and vaguely unsettled by a somewhat mysterious legal document in his father's strong box which he fuzzily understood to be associated with TVA's acquisition of the farm on which his family lived for several generations in the vicinity of Sand Mountain, Alabama. Later there was the high indignation expressed by this author's constitutional law professor, Caleb Perry Patterson, when discussing Ashwander and other early TVA cases. Patterson's capacity for indignation was impressive under any circumstances and the mere mention of TVA provoked his very best effort.


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