Public Administration (PADM) 5200 - 001
Public Agency Budgeting
Spring Semester, 2001
Turlock Campus

Professor: Dr. Susan H. MacDonald
Class meetings: M: 6:00-9:00 p.m.
Room 114, Classroom Building
Office: 132 A Classroom Building
Office hours: 5:00–5:30p Monday and Thursday in Turlock and Wednesday in Stockton
12:30--2:30p Tuesday in Turlock, and by appointment
Office phone: 667-3291 (direct line)
667-3388 (for appointments)

Required texts
Golembieski, Robert T. and Rabin, Jack, editors; Public Budgeting and Finance 4th edition, revised and expanded. (Public Administration and Public Policy Series No. 64.) New York, NY: Marcel Dekker, Inc. 1997.

In addition, there will be assigned readings on California’s budget, which can be downloaded from the web.

Recommended readings

Students who wish to purchase additional materials are encouraged to consider one of the following books.

Meyers, Roy T., editor; Handbook of Government Budgeting (Jossey-Bass Nonprofit and Public Management Series) San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass Publishers. 1999. (available from Also on Reserve.

Mikesell, John L. Fiscal Administration: Analysis and Applications for the Public Sector. 5th edition. Fort Worth, TX: Harcourt, Brace and Janovitch. 1999. (available from 3rd edition (1991) is on Reserve.

Lee, Jr., Robert D. and Johnson, Ronald W. Public Budgeting Systems, 6th edition. Gaithersburg, MD: Aspen Publications. 1998. (available from

Rabin, Jack; Hildreth, W. Bartley; and Miller, Gerald J., editors; Budgeting Formulation and Execution Athens, GA: Carl Vinson Institute of Government, The University of Georgia. 1996. (available from

Course purpose

The University Catalog indicates: "This course covers line-item, performance, and program budgets at various government levels. Capital budgets and fiscal techniques are explored. PADM 5005 recommended."

As presently designed, this course is intended to provide students with an introduction to public sector budgeting at both the theoretical and practical levels. While much of the reading will be theoretical in nature, involving budgeting at the federal and state levels, students will be given several assignments intended to expose them to the practical aspects of public budgeting at the local level of government.

Learning objectives

Students are expected to learn some of the basic principles that have governed budgeting over the years as they pertain to federal, state and local levels of government. Students should also learn how budgeting theory has changed over time and how budgeting fits in to the other aspects of public administration. Finally, students are expected to learn some of the basic principles governing the creation of local government budgets, the factors local officials take into consideration in preparing an annual or biennial budget, and how to read a budget document.

CourseCourse organization

The class will meet every Monday from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. in Room 114 of the Classroom Building. Because this is an introductory course, part of each class will consist of presentations by the professor where students will be encouraged to ask questions. In addition, because the course also has a practical component, a portion of each class will be devoted to student discussion of in-class assignments.

Students will be expected to take an active role in class meetings by staying current with all reading assignments, participating in class discussions, and pursuing independent research in the form of a budget analysis and class presentation. Class attendance is expected. Students who miss class will be expected to prepare written summaries of all class readings for the missed class. These should be submitted by the next class meeting. Students who miss more than one class without permission of the instructor will have their final grade lowered 5 points for each session missed.

Assignments and grading

1. Class participation 10%
2. Midterm examination 20%
3. Budget Memoranda (4) 20%
4. Final Presentation and Paper 30%
5. Final Examination 20%

Students are expected to apprise the professor of their paper topic and preferred date of presentation by March 5, 2001.

Students will be evaluated on the basis of the following:
1. class preparation
2.clarity of thought and writing
3. organization of information
4. conciseness of expression
5. comprehensiveness of coverage
6. presentation of materials (graphics, etc.)

The final presentation is expected to take approximately 30 minutes and the paper should be approximately 10 pages in length.


Intellectual honesty is central to any academic endeavor. However, in graduate work it is especially important—both for the student and the profession in which he or she is engaged. It is important for students to grapple honestly with the material so that they may find their place within the profession. Developing careful habits of independent thinking as well as attribution of ideas is vital to the intellectual endeavor.

Occasionally students will assume that an idea they have encountered in their readings or class is "common knowledge" in the way that we comment on the weather or the latest popular theory about the economy. But it is a mistake to equate graduate study with popular culture—even when the latest trends are making an impact on professional activities. What sense we make of this interaction, how we approach new trends, what analyses we construct—are all products of creativity and scholars’ livelihoods depend on recognition of their contributions to this collective understanding. As such, attribution of ideas is an essential part of the scholarly enterprise.

Intellectual honesty is equally important for the profession, which develops and evolves only through the work of its participants. The classroom, then, provides valuable space for the open exchange of ideas and the nurturing of habits that promote and sustain intellectual honesty. The Golembiewski and Rabin text provides a good example of how academics analyze concepts and positions at the same time that they give others credit for introducing ideas into the collective professional consciousness.

Course Outline
September 12 Introduction: Exchanging expectations
Overview of course readings and organization
Student interests and experience
What is a profession?
What does it mean to practice a profession:
…in a democracy?
…in a political environment?

September 19 Preface to Public Administration
Reading: Stillman (chpts. 1-4)

September 26 Preface to Public Administration (cont.)
Reading: Stillman (chpts. 5-8)

Take-home exam distributed (covers material through Garvey, chapter 1)

October 3 The Discipline of Public Administration
Reading: Garvey (chpt. 1)
Optional: Shafritz & Hyde (chpts. 1, 6, 17, 32, 42, 46)

Public Personnel Administration (Bureaucracy)
Reading: Garvey (chpt. 2)
Optional: Shafritz & Hyde (chpts. 5, 12, 28, 39, 47)

October 10 Organization Theory
Reading Garvey (chpt. 3)
Optional: Shafritz & Hyde (chpts. 3, 7, 9, 11, 16, 18, 23, 26)

Take-home exam due at beginning of class

October 17 Democratic Accountability versus Administrative Discretion
Reading: Garvey (chpt. 4)
Optional: Shafritz & Hyde (chpts. 2, 15, 30)

October 24 The Politics of Administrative Choice: Creating Winners, Compensating Losers
Reading: Garvey (chpt. 5)
Optional: Shafritz & Hyde (chpts. 2, 15, 30)

Second take-home exam distributed (covers Garvey, chapters 2-5)

October 31 What’s Private? What’s Public? What’s the Relationship between the Two?
Reading: Garvey (chpt. 6)
Optional: Shafritz & Hyde (chpts. 10, 19, 33, 34, 38, 45, 52)

November 7 Federalism and Intergovernmental Relations
Reading: Garvey (chpt. 7)
Shafritz & Hyde (chpts. 25, 54)

Second exam due at beginning of class

November 14 Public Service Ethics
Reading: Garvey (chpt. 8)
Shafritz & Hyde (chpts. 8, 35, 43)

November 21 Counting the Consequences: Formal Policy Analysis
Reading: Garvey (chpt. 9)
Optional: Shafritz & Hyde (chpts. 4, 13, 20, 22, 24, 27, 29, 31, 37, 40, 44, 48, 49)

November 28 Making the Human Connection: Motivating the Worker, Serving the Citizen
Reading: Shafritz & Hyde (chpts. 14, 21, 36, 41, 53)

Final Exam distributed

December 5 Modern Decision Theory and Implementation Research
Reading: Garvey (chpts. 11 and 12)
Optional: Shafritz & Hyde: chpts. 33, 50, 51

December 12 Final Exam scheduled (not held)

Final Exam due by 5:00 p.m.
All late papers will have their grade lowered 5 points for every day they are late