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The Relationship between Politics and Administration at the Flemish Local Level: Intermunicipal Differences Explained

Journal Contribution - Journal Article

When it comes to political-administrative relations, New Public Management hasaimed for a stronger diff erentiation between political and administrative mattersand for an empowerment of the administration towards the political level.Th is article investigates the perceived degree of administrative discretion atthe municipal level in the Flemish region of Belgium. We use data from a surveywith Flemish municipal CEOs from 2019.Th e results suggest that the degree of administrative discretion in Flemish municipalities is relatively high during policy preparation. Nevertheless, during otherphases of the policy cycle most municipal CEOs perceive a certain political impacton the functioning of their administration, which reaches further than steering onthe main policy lines. Second, a majority identifi es a lack of mutual trust betweenthe executive board and the administrators.Furthermore, administrative discretion increases with the size of the municipality and the assessed capacity of the administration. Also in municipalities wherethe key actors of political-administrative relationships remained unchanged for alonger period, the administration has more leeway to act. Lastly, the results nuancethe impact of the municipal fi nancial situation and the composition of the majorityon the degree of administrative discretion
Journal: The NISPAcee journal of public administration and policy (TlaÄ�ené vydanie)
ISSN: 1337-9038
Issue: 2
Volume: 13
Pages: 141 - 160
Keywords:Local government, political-administrative relations, dichotomy, municipalities, Flanders