In general, the more knowledge that is necessary to run a contemporary society, and the more specialization that is a consequence, then the more need of and potential for horizontal rather than vertical cooperative arrangements.
- Dwight Waldo
In the aftermath of the 1996 elections, many political observers provided this capsule analysis: the reason the incumbent president was reelected and the reason the G.O.E maintained control of the Congress was the same - they cooperated. At least, the perception of cooperation was present because in the final months of the 1996 session, they passed the budget and several major pieces of legislation.
The voting public approved. American voters didn't like the bickering or the stalemates that had characterized congressional-presidential relations for years, nor did they appreciate the closing down of the federal government. While as a society we usually praise and admire competitive behavior, voters had had it with the name-calling, posturing, and political wrangling. They wanted our government to be productive and make a difference in their lives. They wanted something done! It's appropriate for candidates to compete for our votes during the campaign season, but once the election is over, most voters want their elected officials to cooperate and work together in the general public interest.
The issue of cooperation in government is not limited to the friction between the president and Congress at the federal level, nor to the legislative-executive battles that occur in nearly every state. It is also a significant factor at the local level among and between units of government. Intergovernmental relationships are becoming increasingly important to the effective and efficient delivery of public services. This is particularly true in burgeoning metropolitan areas, where 79 percent of the population now resides, as compared to 63 percent in 1960.(1)
Further complicating matters is the fact that the number of units of local government in metro areas has significantly increased. We still have just one federal government and fifty state governments, …