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FSD1194 Finnish Local Government 2004: Office-Holders and Elected Officials 1995

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Authors

  • Ståhlberg, Krister (Åbo Akademi University. Department of Public Administration)
  • Pikkala, Sari (Åbo Akademi University. Department of Public Administration)

Keywords

administration, councillors, elected officials, local finance, local government, local government services, managers, municipal government, municipalities, office-holders, personnel, political power, public services

Abstract

The survey studied the opinions of municipal elected officials and office-holders. The respondents rated how well or badly certain municipal services functioned in their municipality and evaluated whether the municipality should invest more or less in a particular service. Services covered included social services, health services, education and cultural services and municipal technical services. The respondents evaluated the adequacy, professionalism and user-friendliness of the services in their own sector.

Working relations between different bodies in the municipality were investigated. The respondents assessed various organisational options for municipal government and rated the importance of different actions and decisions in the development of municipal services (e.g. user fees, quality management, increasing citizens' influence, joint service production with other municipalities). The respondents assessed the importance of various sources of information on the financial and economical situation of the municipality. One theme focused on which topics should be included in the negotiations between municipal employees and the municipality.

The respondents evaluated how important certain tasks/goals were in their work as elected or municipal officials: motivating employees, reforming administration, creating strategies, contacts with employees, inhabitants or the media etc. The respondents were asked to what extent they agreed with statements relating to the division of work and distribution of power between office-holders and elected officials. The frequency of interaction with certain operators was surveyed. Elected officials were asked about the time spent on elective office tasks and willingness to be renominated. The survey charted the extent of influence different operators/bodies have on municipal decision-making and how great their impact was. Some questions focused on the respondents' methods of influencing decision-making. Views on municipal management were probed.

Background variables included the municipality, the respondent's status and activity sector in the municipality, year of birth, sex, mother tongue, education, number of under-age children, employer sector, duration of residency in the municipality, duration of employment, elective offices in the municipality and elsewhere, occupation, status in employment, and party membership.

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