1st Edition

Street-Level Public Servants Case Studies for a New Generation of Public Administration

Edited By Sara R. Rinfret Copyright 2024
    220 Pages 4 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    220 Pages 4 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This cutting-edge new casebook challenges the dominant White-centric narrative of public administration, offering a fresh array of perspectives, with the lofty aim of ending the marginalization of communities in public policy implementation. Contributors adopt a liberatory framework to examine street-level public administrators (e.g., teachers, security officers, policy analysts, and human resource experts) most responsible for implementing public policy in the United States, including and amplifying previously unrecognized narratives on the front lines of public administration. Case studies explore real-life public servants, not traditionally heard of, offering counter-narratives. Each chapter concludes with an empowerment exercise and assignment for faculty to adopt in their classroom.

    This edited volume, a first of its kind, is written by experts in public policy and administration, bringing together top and emerging scholars in one volume to amplify underrepresented voices in public administration and policy. Chapters are rooted in qualitative approaches and center the narratives of marginalized communities, including women, People of Color, and LGBTQIA+ public servants. Street-Level Public Servants offers a much-needed casebook for public administration and public policy courses in the twenty-first century.

    Part I: Defining the Lilliberation Framework & Elements of Understanding  


    1. Understanding the Voices of Public Service from the Front Lines  

    Sara R. Rinfret  


    2. Defining Administrative Racism through the Lens of Higher Education Community Engagement  

    Anthony Starke, Jr. and Elliot Zettas  


    3. The Hidden Hero: The Role of HR Offices in Building Inclusive and Empowered Government Workforces  

    Willow S. Jacobson and Jessica E. Sowa  


    4. Administrative Sovereignty: Tribal Governance and Public Administration  

    Kekek Stark and Monte Mills  


    Part II: Front Line Actors and Representative Bureaucracy  


    5.Women and Regulation: The Case Study of Re-imagining Policy Implementation  

    Sara R. Rinfret  


    6. Public Policy Implementation and Workforce Diversity: How Important is the Latter In Enhancing Policy Outcomes?  

    Beverly C. Edmond  


    7.Women on the Frontlines of Democracy: Gender Dynamics that Structure Local Election Administration in the United States  

    Paul Manson  


    Part III: Key Applications of Understanding  


    8. First-Gen to Policy Wonk: The Case of Study of an Educator  

    T. Mark Montoya  


    9. The Case of Social Equity Budgeting and Seattle, Washington  

    Bruce D. McDonald III, Sean M. McCandless and Honey Minkowitz  


    10. There Is a Better Way: The Case Study of Camden City School District’s Approach to School Safety through the Use of District School Security Officers  

    Keith E. Benson  


    11. The Front Lines Revisited: A Lilliberation Framework for the Future  

    Sara R. Rinfret  



    Sara R. Rinfret is Associate Vice Provost, Faculty Affairs, and Professor of Public Administration at Northern Arizona University, USA. She has more than a decade of higher education leadership experience, serving in roles such as Acting Dean, Associate Dean, Chair, and Master of Public Administration Director. Her scholarship is globally recognized in the areas of regulatory policy, environmental policy, women, and government, public administration, and the scholarship of teaching and learning.

    "Administrative power is policy power. This book offers a refreshingly realistic look at frontline public service and the tensions at play. How our stewards of democracy navigate these roiling waters provides insight into how change happens."

    Mary E. GuyCo-Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Social Equity and Public Administration; Distinguished Professor, School of Public Affairs, University of Colorado Denver, USA

    "Public administration scholars, students, and street-level bureaucrats aspiring to become advocates for social justice should read Street-Level Public Servants. This book so effectively examines the dominant and destructive white-centric narrative of public administration that readers will immediately feel empowered to confront scholarship and practices that further undermine marginalized communities. This book is more than an instant classic; it is paradigm-defining."

    Cullen Merritt, School of Public Policy, University of Maryland, USA

    "Street-Level Public Servants dramatically expands our understanding of frontline public sector workers. With its pathbreaking theoretical framework, the authors in this volume center the voices of the women, Blacks, 'first gen,' and LBGTQ+ workers who occupy these essential positions. In turn, the book highlights the experiences of those who have often been overlooked, ignored, or blatantly pushed to the side in mainstream public administration literature. By doing so, they fill a critical gap in the way we understand the experiences of frontline workers."

    Domonic A. BearfieldProfessor of Public Policy & Public Administration, George Washington University, USA

    "I am so excited to see a book that champions the Lilliputians of policy implementation—those front-line public servants who make government work every single day but who are often ignored in evaluating the effectiveness of public policy. This book explores not only the importance of these workers, but more important, presents a new lens for understanding these essential individuals--the Lilliberation framework of inclusion and diversity. In doing so, the book offers a fresh and needed perspective building on the work of previous public policy scholars and should be welcomed by anyone seeking a deeper understanding of how public policy is implemented."

    Denise ScheberleRetired Clinical Teaching Professor, School of Public Affairs, University of Colorado Denver, USA