ASPA is proud to host a robust e-learning program including three series of webinars: BookTalks, KeepingCurrent events and Students and New Professionals topics. This list is refreshed constantly as new events are added to our calendar. Please contact us if you have any questions about our upcoming discussions or would like to join us to host an event.

KeepingCurrent: The Attack on Auditor Independence
Sponsored by ASPA's Center for Accountability and Performance

October 5 | 1:00 p.m. EDT

One of the most potent ways in which cities, counties and states can fight against the sad absence of trust in government is through the audit function and there has never been a time within memory when creating trust in government has been such a challenge. Yet, there is a perennial threat to their independence, which is the bedrock of the auditors’ standing in government and their ability to serve the residents of their entities.

It’s often a battle between political expedience and self-protectiveness and the auditors’ ability to do their jobs well and without interference. What’s the story behind this unfortunate struggle? This panel, including auditors representing all three levels of local government, will bring attendees behind the scenes to get a better understanding of their need for independence and the difficulty some have in preserving it.

Mark Funkhouser, President, Funkhouser & Associates and Former Mayor and Auditor, Kansas City, Missouri
Richard Greene, Moderator, Chair, Center for Accountability and Performance and Principal, Barrett and Greene, Inc.
Jason Hadavi, Deputy City Auditor, Austin, Texas
Jennifer McGuirk, Auditor, Multnomah County, Oregon
Rob Sand, Iowa State Auditor

BookTalk: Democracy Erodes from the Top: Leaders, Citizens and the Challenge of Populism in Europe

October 12 | 1:00 p.m. EDT
This webinar has been rescheduled from its original September 12 date. We hope you can join us on the new date!

Larry Bartels dismantles the pervasive myth of a populist wave sweeping contemporary European public opinion. Using survey data from 23 countries, he shows that Europeans’ attitudes toward immigrants, the EU, politicians and democracy have hardly budged in the 21st century. Where right-wing populist parties have flourished, their success reflects entrepreneurial leadership, the failures of mainstream parties and media hype, not shifting public opinion. Where democratic institutions and norms have eroded—in Hungary and Poland—backsliding has occurred not because voters clamored for authoritarianism but because conventional conservative parties, once elected, seized opportunities to entrench themselves in power. By demonstrating the inadequacy of conventional bottom-up interpretations of Europe’s political crisis, Bartels turns our understanding of democratic politics upside down.

Larry Bartels, Author


BookTalk: Complex Governance Networks: Foundational Concepts and Practical Implications

October 17 | 1:00 p.m. EDT

What are the roles of governments and other actors in solving, or alleviating, collective action problems in today’s world? The traditional conceptual frameworks of public administration and public policy studies have become less relevant in answering this question. This book critically assesses traditional conceptual frameworks and proposes an alternative: a complex governance networks (CGN) framework.

Advocating that complexity theory should be systematically integrated with foundational concepts of public administration and public policy, Göktuğ Morçöl begins by clarifying the component concepts of CGN and then addresses the implications of CGN for key issues in public administration and policy studies: effectiveness, accountability and democracy. He illustrates the applicability of the CGN concepts with examples for the COVID-19 pandemic and metropolitan governance, particularly the roles of business improvement districts in governance processes. Morçöl concludes by discussing the implications of CGN for the convergence of public administration and public policy education and offering suggestions for future studies using the CGN conceptualization.

Complex Governance Networks is essential reading for both scholars and advanced students of public policy, public administration, public affairs and related areas.

Göktuğ Morçöl, Professor of Public Policy and Administration, Penn State University