Rimmerman, Craig
September 1985
Public Administration Quarterly;Fall85, Vol. 9 Issue 3, p328
Academic Journal
This article evaluates the impact of citizen participation on the implementation of the Columbus, Ohio Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program during the 1983 grant application process. From the vantage point of numerous Columbus Department of Development bureaucrats, citizen participation has impeded successful program implementation in several ways. Bureaucrats cited the lengthy and time-consuming decision-making process that accompanies the formal citizen participation mechanism and delays important decisions regarding the distribution of CDBG grants. Other pointed out that the same citizens continually participated at the citywide hearings year after year and few new citizens have become actively involved in the grant application process. Citizen participation also heightens controversy and conflict over decisions and makes the job of the bureaucrat much more difficult. Finally several bureaucrats argued that citizens should not participate in the decision-making process because they do not have the ability or desire to grasp the complexities of the CDBG program. From this vantage point, bureaucratic experts should have the most input into the grant distribution process because they have the time, staff, and technical expertise needed to implement a complex federal program successfully.


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