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FSD2264 Finnish Local Government 2004: Office-Holders and Elected Officials 1999

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Authors

  • Grönholm, Sam (Åbo Akademi University. Department of Public Administration)
  • Helander, Voitto (Åbo Akademi University. Department of Public Administration)
  • Pikkala, Sari (Åbo Akademi University. Department of Public Administration)
  • Sandberg, Siv (Åbo Akademi University. Department of Public Administration)

Keywords

elected officials, internationalism, joint authorities, leadership, local finance, local government, local government officers, local government organizations, mayors, municipalities, political parties, public services, social influence

Abstract

The survey studied municipal elected officials' and office-holders' opinions on municipal services, the state-municipality relationship, alternative organising models, municipal decision-making practices, the possibilities of influencing for various operators, and the municipality's international activity.

First, the respondents' work history, elected offices, and political party membership were surveyed. They were asked to place themselves on the left-right axis and on the hard-soft scale. They were also asked whether they were actively involved in any organisation or association.

Further questions explored the respondents' views on the state-municipality relationship. They 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 in the future. Services covered included social services, health services, education and cultural services, and municipal technical services. The respondents gave their views on the working relations between different bodies in the municipality and on the various organisational options for municipal government.

Some questions concentrated on the municipalities' international activity. The respondents evaluated the usefulness of different forms of globalisation for their own municipality. Developmental needs in municipal service provision were charted by asking the respondents to evaluate the importance of different factors (e.g. profit centering, outsourcing, regional cooperation), and various tasks of municipal elected officials and office-holders. They were also asked how often they interacted with certain operators (e.g neighbouring municipalities, personnel organisations), and how important they thought various aspects of financial administration were.

Those respondents who were elected officials were asked about the time they allocated on elective office tasks, their willingness to be renominated, absences from various meetings, party activity, and opinions on the political parties' actions. The survey also charted the extent and effectiveness of influence different operators/bodies (e.g. organisations, County Administrative Board) had on municipal decision-making. Some questions focused on the respondents' methods of influencing decision-making. They also evaluated how much influence they had on various matters. Views on the position of the respondents' own party in view of municipal decision-making were probed.

Finally, the respondents were asked about the importance of various aspects connected to citizenship (e.g. paying the taxes, voluntary work). They also evaluated the upper management of their municipality using different scales.

Background variables included municipality, the respondent's status and activity sector in the municipality, year of birth, gender, and education.

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