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APWA Book Review

Public Works Administration
535 pp * 2007 * APWA

This book is the first substantially updated version of what has been considered icon publications for public works professionals for more than two decades. The International City/County Management Association (ICMA), over a span of more than 50 years, published a series of instructional books, informally known as the "green book series," which covered a wide array of topics in public administration. This book builds on that series and, particularly, on the 1986 joint ICMA/APWA publication, Managing Local Public Works. While the book may contain, with generous permission of ICMA, some material from those earlier editions, this book can be considered a totally new publication that addresses contemporary public works issues. This publication is a joint venture of nearly 60 public works professionals who answered a call for assistance and volunteered to share their expertise in this very important project.

Much of public works that you will find in this publication hasn't changed in millennia. Sewers still flow downhill and steel and concrete still hold up most of our built world. Much has changed, however, in the technology that allows us to keep our public works systems functioning in our communities. The authors have tried to account for what has changed over the last 20 years so that it is the most up-to-date reference book on public works available. This publication is a useful reference for university classes, as well as for less formal public works education and in-house training programs.

There are 22 chapters in this publication, which cover:

Historical Perspective - provides a general overview of public works and describes the synergistic relationship between the industry and the communities it serves.

Legal Aspects of Public Works - discusses the major areas of concern for managers of all levels in public works: conflict of interests, purchasing and contracts, local government tort liability, personnel law in local government, civil rights laws, workplace safety, and environmental law.

Public Works Organization - focuses on the organization of the public works tasks, how these tasks are grouped, and how the groups interact to achieve organizational goals.

Public Works and Urban Planning - presents an overview of public works and its interaction with urban planning. This chapter describes the work programs for each of the departments, presents scenarios for working together, and discusses sustainability and managing community growth.

Strategic Planning in Public Works - provides the public works manager with the means to manage resources more effectively, set resource management goals, and develop a strategic plan to help manage the resources.

Information Systems - centers on how information systems can assist a public works agency. The purpose is to explain how a tool (IS) can benefit the maintenance and operation of a public works agency.

Public Works Finance - gives an overview of the fiscal administration/public finance function as it relates to public accountability and public funds. The chapter also discusses the financial accounting and reporting framework relative to state and local governments as well as general budgeting processes and formats.

Managing People - looks at the organization of the personnel function, pay classification systems, compensation, recruitment and selection, performance appraisal, coaching and counseling, training, safety, labor relations, and contract negotiation and administration.

Managing Communication - takes a look at formal and informal written communications, communication styles, communication with citizens and elected officials, as well as presentation skills and media relations.

Emergency Management - provides information on public works as a first responder, the emergency planning process, a basic overview of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) reimbursement process, the National Incident Management System (NIMS) and Incident Command System (ICS), the disaster declaration process, the Stafford Act Disaster Assistance Programs, response and recovery processes, traffic and perimeter control, damage assessment, facility security, debris management and contracting, documentation and recordkeeping, public works and the emergency operations center, volunteerism, emergency management communications, and training and exercises.

Regulatory Code Administration and Enforcement - this chapter provides a broad overview of the types of codes and levels of authority as related to public works infrastructure and administration.

Right-of-Way Management - focuses on public right-of-way types, management program objectives, asset inventory, public vs. private use of right-of-way, encroachments, work zone traffic control, funding, enforcement/inspections, and liability-litigation.

Engineering and Capital Improvements - highlights engineering services in public works, the organization of engineering departments, retention and use of consultants, infrastructure asset management, budgeting, programming and funding capital improvements, project/program management, quality assurance/quality control, project planning, project environmental review, project design, project construction management and inspection, and project closeout.

Fleet Management - covers fleet organization structure, business and strategic plans, staffing requirements, finance and budgeting, preventive maintenance, downtime/turnaround time, parts inventory management, equipment management systems, hazardous waste/environmental, fleet asset replacement, fleet asset sales, outsourcing, facility planning and design, use of consultants, emergency preparedness, alternative fuels and alternative vehicles.

Facilities Management for the 21st Century - provides information on the strategic management of facilities, mission, objectives and responsibilities of facilities management, vision, budgeting for facility maintenance and repair, facility asset management, sustainable building strategies, components and implementation of a comprehensive sustainable buildings policy, saving energy in public buildings, lifecycle costing, evolution of facility maintenance management systems, security best practices and benchmarks, Homeland Security Presidential Directive for significant incidents, and NIMS training guidelines.

Parks, Grounds and Urban Forestry - discusses the wide range of elements and issues that are part of a comprehensive park system and several strategies for maintaining them for public use. It also discusses the unique benefits that a well-maintained park system can generate for the community it serves and for the people who use the park.

Street Management - provides a cursory overview of the management of the above-ground infrastructure and items within the public's right-of-way.

Transportation - this chapter is divided into three sections: transportation planning, which provides a comprehensive view of the planning process and how the plans are developed; traffic management, which addresses issues related to travel demand management and congestion management; and transit operations, which looks at the fundamentals of transit service, service planning, operations and accessibility of transit services and performance, and addresses issues related to pedestrian movement and bicycles.

Water Resources - provides an overview of potable water and methods of water treatment, benefits of GIS, attributes of effectively managed utilities, keys to management success, and utility measurements.

Wastewater Collection, Treatment and Disposal - provides the utility manager, public works manager, and city officials a quick and general overview of the key elements of managing wastewater utility, including recent challenges and advances.

Stormwater - this chapter highlights the quantity of stormwater in a municipal system, the minor and major systems, structural improvements for drainage control, quality of stormwater in a municipal system, and financing stormwater projects.

Solid Waste Management - provides an overview of Municipal Solid Waste (MWS), collection services, solid waste management facilities, public or private systems, public participation, program financing, and basic planning guidelines.

Nearly five dozen public works professionals have synthesized their experience to provide the most up-to-date reference book available today on the full scope of public works. The authors have truly brought public works into the 21st Century!

To obtain your copy, please call the APWA Bookstore at (800) 848-APWA, ext. 5254. Or, for more information on purchasing this publication and other American Public Works Association books, please visit the APWA Bookstore online at www.apwa.net/bookstore.