City-County Consolidation

cover art
336 pp., 6 x 9
ISBN: 9781589016286 (1589016289)

ISBN: 9781589016224

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July 2010
LC: 2009035777

American Governance and Public Policy series


Table of Contents

City-County Consolidation
Promises Made, Promises Kept?
Suzanne M. Leland and Kurt Thurmaier, Editors
Although a frequently discussed reform, campaigns to merge a major municipality and county to form a unified government fail to win voter approval eighty per cent of the time. One cause for the low success rate may be that little systematic analysis of consolidated governments has been done.

In City-County Consolidation, Suzanne Leland and Kurt Thurmaier compare nine city-county consolidations—incorporating data from 10 years before and after each consolidation—to similar cities and counties that did not consolidate. Their groundbreaking study offers valuable insight into whether consolidation meets those promises made to voters to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of these governments.

The book will appeal to those with an interest in urban affairs, economic development, local government management, general public administration, and scholars of policy, political science, sociology, and geography.
Suzanne M. Leland is an associate professor in the Department of Political Science at University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

Kurt Thurmaier is a professor and director of the Division of Public Administration at Northern Illinois University.
Gerard W. Boychuk, Karen Mossberger, and Mark C. Rom, Series Editors
"Scholars interested in contesting claims about the advantages and costs of city-county consolidation will find this book a very useful text. Leland and Thurmaier developed a careful research design and recruited a group of researchers to study each of nine city-county consolidations that occurred in order to test three broad hypotheses about the consequences. They found mixed evidence which is presented very carefully and provides the foundation for considerable future policy and research applications."—Elinor Ostrom, senior research director, Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis, Indiana University, and founding director, Center for the Study of Institutional Diversity, Arizona State University

"Never before has a book taken a sample of city-county consolidations, attempted to identify control pairs for comparison, delineated the promises made in the preconsolidation campaigns, and used these promises to study the extent to which those promises were met. This book will be of interest to political scientists, experts in public administration, and students of local government."—Beth Walter Honadle, professor of political science and affiliated faculty, School of Planning, University of Cincinnati

"This volume, employing a well designed and executed comparative research design, provides the reader with the effect of city-county consolidation in promoting local governmental efficiency and economic development in nine communities. A much needed volume, it is must reading for all scholars of urban government and politics and is an ideal supplementary text to be utilized in graduate courses focusing on urban affairs."—Nelson Wikstrom, professor of political science, Virginia Commonwealth University

Table of Contents

1. A Research Design for Evaluating Consolidation Performance
Suzanne M. Leland and Kurt Thurmaier

2. An Assessment of the City-County Consolidation of Nashville and Davidson County, Tennessee
Anthony J. Nownes, David J. Houston, and Marc Schwerdt

3. Does Consolidation Make A Difference? A Comparative Analysis of Richmond and Virginia Beach, Virginia
Nicholas J. Swartz

4. What Difference Does City-County Consolidation Make? A Historical Analysis of Jacksonville and Tampa, Florida
Milan J. Dluhy

5. City-County Consolidation: A Case Study of Carson City, Nevada
Anna Lukemeyer

6. "The Urge to Merge": The Consolidation of Lexington and Fayette County, Kentucky
Shawn Gillen

7. From Company Town to Consolidated Government: The Western-Style Consolidation of Butte and Silver Bow County, Montana
Susan Keim and Justin Marlowe

8. The Case of Lynchburg and Moore County, Tennessee, Consolidation
Deborah A. Carroll, Kristin A. Wagers, and Mary Ellen Wiggins

9. Unification Promises and Outcomes: The Case of Athens and Clarke County, Georgia
Dan Durning and Paula Sanford

10. Improving the Efficiency and Effectiveness of Service Delivery in Local Government: The Case of Wyandotte County and Kansas City, Kansas
Suzanne M. Leland and Curtis Wood

11. Promises Made, Promises Kept
Kurt Thurmaier and Suzanne M. Leland



Deborah A. Carroll Milan J. Dluhy Dan Durning Shawn Gillen David J. Houston Susan Keim Suzanne M. Leland Anna Lukemeyer Justin Marlowe Anthony J. Nownes Paula Sanford Marc Schwerdt Nicholas J. Swartz Kurt Thurmaier Kristin A. Wagers Mary Ellen Wiggins Curtis Wood