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FSD2265 Finnish Local Government 2004: Office-Holders and Elected Officials 2003

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Authors

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

Keywords

elected officials, internationalism, internet, 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 their influence, municipal decision-making practices, reform of service provision, and alternative organising models.

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, and how they thought different aspects of the relationship between a municipality and the state affect municipalities' chances to perform their duties.

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 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. The municipality's international activity and the importance of different forms of globalisation were also surveyed.

Developmental needs in municipal service provision were charted by asking the respondents how often they interacted with certain operators. The respondents' Internet and e-mail use was canvassed. Those respondents who were elected officials were asked about the time they allocated on elective office tasks, their willingness to be renominated, their party activity, and their opinions on the political parties' actions.

The survey also charted the extent of influence different operators/bodies had on municipal decision-making. Some questions focused on the respondents' methods of influencing decision-making. Views on municipal management were probed.

Finally, the respondents were presented with a set of statements on local/municipal democracy. They also gave their views on how much influence they had on various matters, and evaluated the upper management of their municipality using different scales.

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

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