This chapter examines the way actor interests interfere with policy decision-making and public servantsâ€™ conception of integrity in Argentine local government. It begins by revealing some of the conditions that commonly structure their practice reality. In essence, a system of dominant relationships directs local governance which includes an embedded practice of corruption in formal and informal arenas. For example, the actions of business lobbyists and increasingly organized social movements along with the media apply pressure on decision-makers. Next, an explanation is offered about different conceptions of integrity held by public servants operating in this practice reality, primarily based on their perceived need for situated judgment and agile action. In particular, understanding context and developing strong relational skills are vital. In safeguarding their own conceptions of integrity, they also develop skills to creatively present data analyses, construct convincing narratives, and apply discretion when using local regulations as powerful tools to influence policy-making. It is clear that at times the practices of public servants lack impartiality and transparency. In this regard, some take actions to perpetuate the predominance of concentrated interests, while others fight to defend the common good (and against the neoliberal equivocations which often weaken the State in the name of transparency). The authors suggest that the growing interest in the issues of transparency and corruption requires a critical view of the pressures of public policy-making and of the ways in which the public interest is defended as well as introducing institutional design improvements and modifying some of the practices adopted by public servants.
|Title of host publication||The Palgrave Handbook of the Public Servant|
|Editors||Helen Sullivan, Helen Dickinson, Hayley Henderson|
|Place of Publication||America|
|Publication status||Published - 2021|