Weeks 7 & 8 (15 Points)
Continue Reading Chapters 6 through 10 in your textbook. It is time now to leave the arena of public policy and to learn more about the "bricks and mortar" structure of state and local government. In order to do so I suggest that you download or view the New York State Government Handbook from the internet site of the New York Department of State. Click Here To Download or View. When you log onto the web site look for "Local Government Handbook" and click on it. You will need to have a copy of Acrobat PDF File Reader in order to read this document. If you don't already have it on your computer, don't worry. It is available on the Department of State web site for you to download. Just click on where it says "Acrobat PDF File Download Information" below where it says "Local Government Handbook" and follow the instructions. It is that easy.
Another helpful document will be "New York State Government Structure," which you can access by clicking here.
You will be advised to click on additional readings as you proceed through this assignment. But you should also make use of chapter 11 in your textbook and the New York State Government web site in general to answer the questions assigned for this part of the course. Click here to reach New York State Government web site.
New York State is a wonderful laboratory for the study of states and localities. New York has a long and hardy tradition of big and active state government, as well as the full range of "general purpose" local governments, sometimes called municipalities. To use some of the terms found in your textbook, it would be fair to say that government in the state of New York contains strains of "Dillon's Rule" as well as "Home Rule." Dillon's rule, you will recall, refers to the notion that local governments are empowered to perform only those functions clearly authorized by state law, and that local governments do not possess "implied" powers. As judge Dillon himself ruled in his landmark decision, "just as the state breathes life into the localities, so too it can take life away." Home rule, of course, is simply a provision or series of provisions in a state's constitution that authorizes local governments to design their own unique governmental structure and processes and, sometimes, powers as well.
In New York, the state is joined by the counties, towns, cities, and villages in a system of governmental service delivery. These entities are known as "general purpose" because they possess the "home rule" authority to adopt wide-ranging laws and programs to serve constituents. General purpose governments can provide programs and services in any number of functional categories, including transportation, health care, education, environmental protection, law enforcement, social services and many others. These "general purpose" jurisdictions are joined by "single-purpose" jurisdictions, sometimes called "special-districts," in the state and local system. Single-purpose jurisdictions include schools, fire districts, and lighting districts.
The assignment for the next few weeks will be to use your textbook and other readings as suggested below, along with the Local Government Handbook, to master the structure and operating assumptions behind New York State government. I will ask you a series of questions pertaining to the Handbook which, when answered by you, will demonstrate to me your level of mastery. You may answer the questions in narrative form, that is comprehensively in paragraph form. Or you may answer one question at a time. Let's start with the first three chapters of the Handbook.
Answer the following Questions On Chapters 1, 2, and 3 of the Handbook in no more than three pages
1. What percentage of the New York State population lives in Towns? in Villages? in Cities?
2. What does it mean to say that the states have "residual" powers?
3. What kind of legislature does New York State have?
4. How many New York State Senators are there? How many Assemblypeople?
5. Your textbook talks about state legislatures as being characterized by a "division of labor." How is this division of labor expressed in the New York State Legislature?
6. What is the legislative role of the Lieutenant Governor?
7. What is the title of the person who leads the New York State Assembly?
8. As you know, each state in the United States has two senators representing the state in the U.S. Senate. In this respect, how does the New York State Senate differ from the structure of the United States Senate?
9. How long after the Senate and the Assembly pass a bill does the Governor have either to sign it or veto it before it becomes law?
10. Using both your textbook and the Handbook, describe for me the major sources of power of the Governor?
11. What is probably the Governor of New York State's most powerful managerial tool?
12. The textbook talks about limits on the power of the Governor (chapter 5, I believe). Looking at the Handbook, what would appear to be a major limitation(s) on the power of the Governor in New York State?
13. How many civil departments in the Executive branch of New York State Government are provided for in the state constitution?
14. Who is the State's "Chief Financial Officer?"
15. Who appoints the heads of most of the major departments in New York State? Who appoints the Commissioner of Education?
16. Which courts are not constituted within New York State's "unified court system?"
17. What is the court of highest jurisdiction in New York State?
18. If you are indicted for murder in New York State in which court(s) could you be tried?
19. If you are seeking custody of your children after a nasty divorce, to which court would you take your case?
20. If you died and had no family or kin to take possession of your assets, which court would distribute your assets?
21. Your plumber charges you $2,000 to fix your pipes. The pipes burst the day after he finishes the job. He refuses to give you your money back. Where would you go to reclaim your $2,000?
22. A landlord is in violation of the Village building code. Which court will issue a fine?
23. If you are in New York City and commit a murder, in which court will you be tried?
24. You are in the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles where you are hit by a piece of tile that falls through the ceiling and breaks your arm. You make a claim against New York State (i.e. sue New York State) in which court?
Please Answer the Following Questions Pertaining to Chapters 4, 5, and 6 of the Local Government Handbook in no more than three pages
1. Article 9 section 1 of the New York State Constitution is also know as?
2. What are the rights included in the "Bill of Rights for Local Governments?"
3. What is the body of state law from which local governments in New York derive most of their substantive and procedural authority?
4. What is "home rule?" Describe how it has been interpreted in New York State?
5. What are the three types of local legislation? What is the "highest form" of local legislation?
6. Briefly describe the restrictions on local home rule powers.
7. The state of California regularly passes referenda, or laws that are voted on directly by the citizens of a jurisdiction. In the year 2000, for example, California passed a referendum recognizing only marriages between a man and woman as valid. Does New York State utilize statewide referenda? (It will help you to look at chapter 10 of the Handbook to answer this question).
8. How many counties are there in New York State?
9. Name the five boroughs, or counties, of New York City. What is the difference between a typical suburban county and the boroughs of New York City?
10. How did the "one-man-one-vote" rulings of the federal and state courts affect the structure of county governments?
11. What is the predominant form of legislative body at the county level in New York State?
12. What are the two primary forms of county government in New York and what is the main difference between these two forms?
13. What are the four major functional categories of county government?
14. What are the three administrative structures of county government in New York State?
15. How many cities are there in New York State?
16. Describe the four major types of city government? Which one is the most common in New York State? Which one has the strongest chief executive?
17. The Council-Manager form of city government occurs most often in what kind of cities?
18. What percentage of the state's population lives in New York City?
19. Identify the three city-wide elected officials in New York City?
20. What is the role of the Public Advocate in New York City? What official at the state level does the Public Advocate most resemble?
21. Describe the role of the Borough Presidents in New York City? Do they have as much authority as a typical county executive outside of New York City?
22. Is Greenwich Village in New York City really a village? Explain.
Please Answer the Following Questions Pertaining to Chapters, 7, 8, and 9 in the Local Government Handbook in no more than three pages
1. Click here to read "Something 2nd Class Afflicts Southampton." In conjunction with the information in the Handbook, describe the two major classifications of towns in New York State? What is the primary distinction between them?
2. Describe Executive leadership at the town level. How is it different than at the county or state level?
3. Describe the major functions of town government in New York State? How are they different than the most important county and state functions?
4. Explain the distinction between "part-town" and "town-wide" functions?
5. What is a town improvement district? How is it different from a "town improvement?"
6. Explain the relationship between villages and town improvement districts and town improvements.
7. Explain what a village is and how it is formed.
8. Describe the executive and legislative branches of a village.
9. What are the primary functions of a village and what is the primary reason they come into existence?
10. What are the primary types of school districts in New York State? Which type is the most common?
11. Name the cities in New York State with over 125,000 population?
12. How are school systems in big cities different from other school districts?
13. Do school districts have an executive leader?
14. What is the difference between a fire district and a fire protection district?
15. What is the legislative body of a fire district and what are its powers.
16. What is a public benefit corporation or an "authority?"
17. Why are public benefit corporations formed?
18. What are the advantages and disadvantages of public benefit corporations?
19. What is the main financial difference between public benefit corporations and municipal governments?
20. Name two public benefit corporations in the state of New York.
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