CHAPTER 24: THE TEXAS EXECUTIVE BRANCH Current Texas Governor Rick Perry (a Republican), was sworn in as Texas’ 47th governor on December 21, 2000. He was elected to a four-year term on November 5, 2002. Formal/Informal Qualifications for Becoming Governor Formal: – 30 years of age – American citizen and citizen of Texas for five years prior to election Informal: – (White Anglo-Saxon Protestant) – Male (there have only been two female governors in TX) – Middle-aged Successful Businessperson or Attorney – Conservative-to-Moderate candidate Governor’s Tenure, Removal, & Succession 4 year term No limits on number of terms Can be removed from office only by impeachment (requires simple majority of legislative members present; conviction requires 2/3 vote of Senate) Lieutenant Governor is next in the line of succession Governor’s Compensation Salary is set by the legislature Present salary is $115,345 (among highest in the nation) Governor’s Mansion Expense account Professional staff Governor’s Tools of Persuasion Informal or extra-legal powers: Powers that are not stated in rules, laws, or the constitution, but are usually derived from these legal powers. Formal or legal powers: Powers stated in rules, laws, or the constitution. Informal and formal powers are enhanced by other conditions such as the governor having: – a strong personality – political expertise – prestige – knack for public relations and political drama – good press relations – supporters with economic and political strength – a favorable political climate – good luck Legislative Tools of Persuasion The Veto: Executive power to reject a proposed law unless a majority votes to override governor’s opposition. The Item Veto: Executive power to veto sections of a bill, but allowing remainder of bill to become law. Limited to appropriation bills only. Pre-session Bargaining: Negotiation that lets governor and legislative leaders reach necessary compromises prior to start of the session. Legislative Tools of Persuasion (cont.) Message Power: Allows governor to focus the attention of the press, legislators, and citizens on legislative proposals he/she considers important. Also called the “Bully Pulpit”. “Blue Ribbon” Commission: Governor appoints this commission consisting of influential citizens, politicians, and members of concerned special interest groups. Measures public reaction to proposals. Executive Tools of Persuasion Appointive Powers: An effective governor will use the power of appointment to the maximum. – Senatorial Courtesy: Senators have some influence over appointments due to senatorial courtesy, giving them power to reject appointments of a political enemy from their senatorial district. Other senators show courtesy by not approving the appointee. Removal Powers: The governor is very limited in powers of removal. Chief of State: The governor serves as the symbol of TX, performs ceremonial duties, and represents the state at meetings with foreign officials and other governors. The Organization of the Federal Government Executive Tools of Persuasion (cont.) Clemency Powers: Governor is very limited in his power to grant clemency (relief from criminal punishment). Budget Powers: The governor is designated the Chief Budget Officer of the state, however his/her proposals are usually not as influential as the Legislative Budget Board, headed by the Lt. Governor. Law Enforcement/Military Powers: The governor has very little law enforcement powers, however, he/she is the Commander-In-Chief of the Texas National Guard and Texas State Guard. Texas Governor is a Weak Governor When compared to governors in other states, the TX governor is weak. The denial of power to the governor (and legislature) has created a power vacuum in government that is filled willingly by interest groups and administrative agencies. Chief of Party The governor is the most visible leader of her or his party, and usually exercises influence within the party by controlling its executive committee. This party control permits what is considered one of the most powerful tools of the governor’s office: rewarding supporters with political patronage. As party leader, the governor may lead the party’s delegation to the national nominating convention and thus become involved in presidential politics. By stepping into the national political spotlight the governor can enhance his or her image at home by taking stands on issues (e.g., illegal immigration) over which she or he has little or no control but with which people identify. Characteristics of Bureaucracy Bureaucracy – Develop wherever human beings organize themselves to systematically accomplish goals and in the process lose some of their flexibility and efficiency. Size Hierarchy Expertise Neutrality Size The largest number of government employees work for local governments. Attempts are being made to make bureaucracies more efficient. Privatization is one way to reduce bureaucracies by awarding government contracts to private sector. Neutrality Administration of the laws in a neutral fashion The separation of politics and administration Texas attempted to depoliticize the bureaucracy by establishing the independent board and commission system. Hierarchy All bureaucracies are formally characterized as hierarchical structures. An ideal hierarchy looks like the military chain of command or an organizational chart. The governor is elected by the people to be the chief executive, but has little direct authority over most administrators. Expertise Individual bureaucrats should have an understanding of their jobs and the effects of their decisions on others. Individual bureaucrats become experts in specialized area of administration. The Bureaucracy and Public Policy Clientele Groups The Legislature, the Lieutenant Governor, and The Speaker The Governor The Iron Texas Star Public Support Expertise Information Administration of the Law Accountability Clientele Groups The most natural allies for an agency are its clientele (or constituent) interest groups. Interest groups- The groups that benefit directly from agency programs. The agency reciprocates by protecting its clients within the administration. Legislature, Lieutenant Governor, and The Speaker Agency depends on legislative allies for laws expanding power, increase scope of duties, protection, and appropriations of funds. Because of short session and the power of presiding officers, agencies seek support of the Lieutenant governor and the Speaker of the House. Revolving door is the sleaze practice of corporations employing ex-administrators and ex-legislators as executives, lobbyists, or consultants. The Governor The need of administrative agencies for the governor’s support depends on the extent of the governor’s formal and informal powers In Texas, the executive is decentralized and the governor has few direct administrative powers. The administrative autonomy is enhanced. The governor can influence agency programs by use of veto power and appointment to policymaking boards and commissions. The Iron Texas Star The coalition and mutual support that exists between legislative committees, administrative agencies, and economic special interest groups. Economic interest groups provide the mortar that builds and holds together the five cornered coalition between administrators, legislators, the presiding officers, the governor, and the clientele interests. Public Support Good public relations are beneficial for any agency. Favorable propaganda combined with myth and literature have created broadly based public support for the Texas Rangers and Texas Department of Criminal Justice. Expertise Administrators are experts in a field A bureaucrat’s knowledge often exceeds the expertise of a legislator or governor. Lifetime government employees advise policymaking officials. Bureaucrats are important players in the political system. Information Administrative agencies gather information used by constituent interest groups and/or the general public. Administrators may dispense or interpret information in a way that benefits their agency or constituency interest, thus affecting the formation of public policy. Administration of the Law Administrative Law – The rules and regulations that bureaucrats write to interpret and define the meaning of the law and enforcement. Bureaucratic Review – The rules and regulations that define the substance of law and determine its effect on the public. Accountability Elective Accountability – The theory to make the bureaucracy directly accountable to the people through to democratic process. Legislative Accountability – Texas Legislator attempts to regulate the bureaucrat Administration. – Sunset Advisory Commission – Periodically reviews state boards, commissions and agencies to determine if they need alteration, termination or continuation. Accountability to the Chief Executive – In a cabinet system, the governor would appoint the administrators of the agency. – In Texas, the executive branch is decentralized. Bureaucratic Accountability Texas administrator are really accountable to interest group that benefit from the programs she or he administers. Open-meetings laws – Governments bodies must have meeting open to general public except for personal, land acquisition, and litigation matters. Open-records law – records of government proceedings be available to public. Whistleblowers – Government employees who expose bureaucratic excesses, blunders, corruption, or favoritism. The Texas Administration There is no single official who bears the ultimate responsibility for the actions of the Texas Bureaucracy. – Elected Executives – Appointed Executives – Boards and Commissions Elected Executives: Attorney General Attorney General – Four-year term with no limits – The lawyer for the state and all officials, boards, and agencies in Texas state government. – Attorney General’s Opinion – The power to interpret law or to give an opinion that a law or practice does or does not violate other laws or Constitutions. Elected Executives: Comptroller Comptroller of Public Accounts – Four-year term with no limits. – Functions encompass either directly or indirectly almost all financial activities of state government. – Chief tax collect and Chief pre-audit accounting officer. – Certifies the approximate biennial income for the state and the financial condition of the state at the close of each year. Commissioners of General Land Office & Agriculture Commissioner of the General Land office – Elected for four-year term. – Managing and collecting rentals and leases for state-owned lands. – Awarding oil, gas, sulfur, and other hard-mineral leases for exploration and production on state lands. – Leasing mineral interests in the state’s riverbeds and tidelands. – Serves on the School Land Board that gives money to Permanent School Fund. Commissioner of Agriculture – Four years to oversee the Texas Department of Agriculture. Appointed Executives Secretary of State – Appointed for four-year term to enforce uniform interpretation and application of the election laws. Adjutant General – Appointed two-year term to be the top military officer and exercises administrative jurisdiction over the Texas National Guard and the Texas State Guard. Commissioner, Health and Human Services – Two- year term to manage health and welfare agencies. Appointed Executives (cont.) Insurance Commissioner – A three-member State Board of Insurance appointed for a two- year terms that monitors and regulates the Texas insurance industry. Boards and Commissions Elective Boards – Railroad Commission of Texas – Three members serve for overlapping six-year terms that oversee regulation of gas utilities, oil and gas pipelines, oil and gas drilling and pumping activities and intrastate railroad transportation. – Texas Education Agency- Fifteen members serving four- year staggered terms which comprises the State Board of Education and oversees and regulates the Texas public school system below the college level and administers national and state education laws. Boards & Commissions Ex Officio Boards – Boards whose members are automatically assigned due to their holding some other position. Appointed Boards – These boards are usually appointed by the governor with the consent of the senate that, normally serve staggered terms, that makes policies for their agencies and appoint their own chief administrators.
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