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MPA 5810: Public Private Partnerships

Book Review Assignment

Using the Halvorsen (2017) book review as a model, you are to write an integrated book/article

review where you review, integrate, relate, and compare the three readings for this week. The

primary focus of your review should be Empowering the Public-Private Partnership: The Future

of America’s Local Government by Senator George Voinovich. You should relate this book to

Vogelsang-Coombs et al.’s article on PPPs in administrations of Mayors Voinovich and Jackson

and Ostrower’s article on the pitfalls of PPPs. Think about how the main argument or thesis for

each article relates to the Voinovich book. What are the main ideas, challenges, and/or lessons on

PPPs for local governments outlined in these respective readings? Your review should be four

(4) pages double-spaced.

Additional helpful hints:

The following tips are taken from Dr. Judy Millesen’s book review assignment in the MPA 6200


Writing a Book Review

A quick search on Google revealed a number of useful “guides” providing information about

how to write a book review. In general, the advice offered clusters around five key themes:

1. Read the book, the whole thing, and think about what it says – good book reviews are

intellectual statements in their own right, take the time necessary to do them well

2. Organize your thoughts and carefully consider what you want to say

3. A book review describes not summarizes – it is a critical, subjective analysis of what the

author wrote (key themes, characters, examples, conclusions, recommendations, etc.)

4. Explore the issues and respond to the content – assess the book’s themes and arguments:

are they significant, clear or obscure, relevant or dated, overdrawn or realistic?

5. Place your review within a broader context, whether that is your personal or professional

experience, current events, or other literature in the field.

Below are the links to a few of these sites:

Purdue University:

Carleton College:

St. Cloud University:

University of Wisconsin-Madison:

Concordia University:

Your book review should take the form of other reviews written for an academic audience. It

should focus on what scholars and practitioners (particularly since public administration is an

applied field) can an

The Social Science Journal 54 (2017) 106–107

Contents lists available at ScienceDirect

The Social Science Journal

j ourna l ho me pa g e: www.elsev ier .com/ locate /sosc i j

Book review

The New Minority: White Working Class Politics in an
Age of Immigrants and Inequality
By Justin Gest; Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2016,
ISBN 9780190632557, 249 pp., Paperback

Strangers in their own Land: Anger and Mourning on
the American Right
By Arlie R. Hochschild; New York, NY: The New Press,
2016, ISBN 9781620972250, 351 pp., Hard cover

Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in
By J.D. Vance, New York, NY: Harpers Collins Publishers,
2016, ISBN 9780062300546, Hard cover

Many scholars are shaken and puzzled by the results
of the 2016 U.S. presidential election. These three books
provide context and explanation for understanding the
contemporary political climate. They all provide a differ-
ent lens on the same phenomena, albeit in different places,
describing both the U.S. and United Kingdom.

Hillbilly Elegy is the most accessible and least academic
of the three. It is a memoir of Vance’s childhood and early
adulthood in the Appalachian region with deep roots in
Kentucky and an area of Ohio with many Appalachian
migrants. He describes a strong working class culture
based on honor and tradition but easily derailed into self-
destruction by the loss of family wage jobs. Short on true
explanation for larger phenomena, this book is a com-
pelling, hard to put down read that might work particularly
well with undergraduates impatient with more academic
texts. It certainly does provide context for understanding
what about the American political climate resonates with
this proud, hair-trigger hillbilly culture as well as what the
American white rural working class shares with members
of the working class around the world.

Both Strangers in their Own Land and The New Minor-
ity are clearly meant to make scholarly contributions.
Hochschild relies on qualitative ethnographic data, while
Gest uses both qualitative ethnographic and quantitative
survey-based data. Both books make explicit mention and

explanation of the political emergence of Donald Trump
and both provide deep explanation for the local and global
rise of the anger and far right political ideals among mem-
bers of the working class.

Hochschild uses the region of Louisiana’s “chemi-
cal corridor” to understand and explain a conservative,
church-bound culture battered by both economic and lit-
eral storms and damaged by the loss of a treasured natural
landscape of water and woods to pollution and geological
subsidence that destroyed a community due to removal of
underground minerals for industrial activities. Hochschild,
experienced in developing deep cultural unders


it. … I don’t need partnership funds. I need $50,000 to
address our needs,” said the director of a performing
arts organization. His organization had partnered with
other performing arts groups because a community
foundation had required collaboration to receive a grant.
“I’m not sure the partnership paradigm works the way
we all individually need,” he continued bluntly. “We
don’t have the same needs. … None of us are really sat-
isfied with the results. Maybe we should go to [the foun-
dation] and say, ‘We know you like partnerships, but

The Reality
the Buzz


The potentials

and pitfalls of












here are our needs and they may be different.’”
When studying partnerships promoted by a group of foun-

dations to broaden, deepen, and diversify cultural participation
in local communities, we repeatedly came across cases in which
the partnerships’ realities did not coincide with their intended
goals. The above example is one of the most dramatic, but it
illustrates a common theme: For foundations that funded these
grantees, partnerships seemed a powerful way to achieve cul-
tural-participation goals. Yet the intended goals often were not
achieved, and some of the partnerships’ most significant ben-
efits were unanticipated. Why? Steven Kerr’s seminal paper, “On
the Folly of Rewarding A, While Hoping for B,” provides an
important clue. Kerr drew attention to a common irony in
organizational life: the tendency for organizations to reward
behaviors unrelated or even antithetical to the goals managers
hope to achieve.1 This sort of goal displacement – where means
become ends – occurs in all organizations, including nonprof-
its and foundations. Grantmakers who promote partnerships
may be particularly prone to “Kerr’s folly.” Unwittingly, the
funders we studied had come to see partnering – which is no
more than a method – as an end in itself. In doing so, they were
hardly unique. There is a tendency in the philanthropic world
to assume that collaboration has intrinsic value and effective-
ness, and to expect partnership to serve as a solution, often to
problems that have not even been well defined.2

Partnering has become increasingly fashionable among
grantmakers. In a recent study of how foundations define and
approach effectiveness, the Urban Institute surveyed 1,192
grantmakers. Sixty-nine percent reported they actively encour-
aged collaboration among grantees. Forty-two percent of these
said they sometimes required partnering as a condition for fund-

At first blush, the way foundations spe

Vogelsang-Coombs, V., Denihan, W. M., & Baur, M. F. (2016). The transformative effect of
public-private partnerships: An inside view of good government under Mayors Voinovich and
Jackson. Journal of Public and Nonprofit Affairs, 2(2), 101-126. doi:10.20899/jpna.2.2.101-126

Governance Symposium

The Transformative Effect of Public-Private
Partnerships: An Inside View of Good Government
Under Mayors Voinovich and Jackson
Vera Vogelsang-Coombs – Cleveland State University
William M. Denihan – Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services Board
Melanie F. Baur – Cleveland State University

This paper focuses on two mayoral-led public-private partnerships designed to renew good
government in Cleveland, Ohio: Mayor George Voinovich’s Operations Improvement Task
Force (OITF) (1979–1982) and Mayor Frank Jackson’s Operations Efficiency Task Force (OETF)
(2006–2009). The Voinovich OITF public-private partnership enabled Cleveland to “come back”
after the city’s 1978 default. The Jackson OETF public-private partnership successfully right-
sized Cleveland in relationship to its much smaller population needs during challenging
economic times without disruptions in service. The authors use three data sources, including
interviews with both mayors and their key partnership managers, to gain a complete inside
picture of each mayoral-led public-private partnership. The paper concludes with the lessons
learned and the governance implications of a mayoral-led public-private partnership in
fostering a long-term (transformative) administrative change. This paper shows how both
mayoral-led public-private partnerships quietly transformed Cleveland’s government to meet
the demands of fewer resources, greater complexity, more transparency, and more timely
decisions in the delivery of public services to citizens.

Keywords: Operations Improvement, Public-Private Partnerships, Urban Change

Editor’s Note: We are saddened to announce that Dr. Vera Vogelsang-Coombs died in
February 2016. In her memory, we are pleased to publish this article posthumously. At the
time of her passing, the article was in the review process. Aside from copy-editing, no revisions
have been made to the article since its initial submission.

To avoid fiscal insolvency while modernizing municipal operations to fit shrinking and changing
population needs, Mayor George Voinovich and Mayor Frank Jackson of Cleveland, Ohio, have
used public-private partnerships to tap into business, nonprofit, and community-based
resources to secure a new and positive future for Clevelanders. Specifically, this paper analyzes
Mayor Voinovich’s Operations Improvement Task Force (OITF) (1979–1982) and Mayor
Jackson’s Operations Efficiency Task Force (OETF) (2006–2009) from the inside out. Based on
this inside-out approach, we show how and why the two mayoral-led public-private partnerships

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