How do we fit bureaucracy into a democratic political system? No other question has receivedor deservedmore attention from those who study public administration. While this question might receive slightly different responses, there is one common thread, the notion that bureaucrats must be subject to external controls. Who possesses the ability to influence the government from the outside? How do these people use their influence? Is their influence used to promote democratic values? Dennis Riley assesses the effect congressional committees and subcommittees have on government agencies as well as the influence of clientele groups and professional associations. The author also explores the impact the President, the courts, and the critics of bureaucratic agenciessuch as the Sierra Club or Ralph Naderas consumer watch-dog groupshave on bureaucracy.
This book forces us to realize that many of our controlling influences on federal agencies only serve to reinforce the narrowness and isolation that plagues contemporary bureaucracy, where the general public interest and even competency are sacrificed in the belief that existing agency policies are the only sound and workable policies around. Author note: Dennis D. Riley is Professor and Chairman of the Political Science Department at the University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point.