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The Consolidation of Local Government Services: The Incidence and Practice of Service Delivery Consolidation in North Carolina

PAQ, Vol. 36 No. 1, (2012)

Local Governments currently face numerous organizational and fiscal threats including diminishing revenues, unfunded mandates and lower levels of public confidence. The 2008-09 recession has dramatically diminished the ability of counties and cities to fund basic services. Units of local government, like state governments, are making fundamental decisions regarding service delivery. The assessment and redesigning of services is taking place in virtually every unit of government impacted by current global trends.
The consolidation of services by units of local government is a topic of interest for local government managers. Service consolidation occurs surprisingly often and usually goes unnoticed beyond the affected governments and community. Most local governments have consolidated services within their organizations. Moreover, most local government managers would likely acknowledge the potential for additional service mergers within their organizations. The potential for service merger, as a form of positive organizational change is probably significant.
The general purpose of this project is to establish a foundation for further research into the issue of organizational change resulting from the merging of services. In January, 2008, a survey was conducted of the one hundred county managers in North Carolina. The specific research objectives of the survey include providing descriptive information on the frequency of service consolidation in the State of North Carolina and the potential for greater service delivery consolidation for local governments. Additionally, the research project assesses the perceived impediments serving to limit the use of service consolidation as well as the positive outcomes associated with this activity.

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