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MPA cheers 25th anniversary
April 13, 1998

It is necessary to design public management to fit the constitution, and not try to circumvent or adjust the constitution to fit the concepts of good public management, said David H. Rosenbloom, former editor-in-chief of Public Administration Review.

Rosenbloom, distinguished professor of public administration at the American University, Washington, D.C., was the keynote speaker at 25th anniversary celebrations for UConn's Master of Public Affairs (MPA) program in the Legislative Office Building in Hartford on April 3.

In his lecture, Outsourcing the Constitution: The Supreme Court and Privatization in the 1990s, Rosenbloom discussed a range of issues related to public management and the Constitution.

He identified four key areas of tension between the reform-oriented New Public Management, often called "reinventing government," and the Constitution - the doctrines of state action, private sector liability for violation of constitutional rights, flexibility in privatization and the separation of powers.

He expressed concern that these tensions may result in public management being re-made in the image of business, without recognizing the constitutional rights of all individuals.

"Public administration is not simply business or management. It is governance, and has to have a wider set of values, representation and participation, and protection of the rights of all individuals," he said.

Rosenbloom is a member of the National Academy of Public Administration; a consultant to numerous federal agencies including the U.S. General Accounting Office, Office of Personnel Management, the Merit System Protection Board, and various foreign governments on personnel management problems; and author, co-author or editor of 24 books, more than 100 articles, research notes, and book chapters in public administration, law and human resources management.

Robert Gilmour, professor of political science and director of the Institute of Public and Urban Affairs, said the greatest challenge for the MPA program is to prove its relevance in an environment that is skeptical of public administration and management.

Gilmour said the program's curriculum provides a balanced emphasis on both theory and analytical processes. "The applicability of this balanced education is evident in our strong placement record for graduates at all levels of the public, non-profit, and private sectors."

Usha R. Palaniswami