The Politics of Reorganizing Connecticut State Government: Altering Administrative Structures in the Land of Steady Habits

Dr. Lesley DeNardis

Abstract


Despite numerous attempts to reorganize state government aimed at streamlining, reducing, and creating greater efficiencies, the size and scope of Connecticut’s administrative apparatus has grown considerably over a fifty year period.  This study will trace the political history of previous reorganization efforts with a particular emphasis on more recent attempts such as the Gengras (1970), Filer (1976), Thomas (1991), and Hull and Harper Commissions (1992).    Observed trends follow national patterns:  1) reorganization commissions are cyclical in nature more likely to be undertaken in the wake of similar efforts at the federal level and 2) they are more likely to be undertaken during periods of state fiscal retrenchment.  A movement away from comprehensive reform efforts to incremental approaches is another cross-national pattern that has been detected in recent reform efforts.  A review of Connecticut’s experience with state reorganization demonstrates that despite the concerted effort by both the executive and legislative branches to alter administrative structures, reorganization recommendations are seldom implemented due to the opposition of the state legislature and interest groups.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5296/jpag.v1i1.816

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