University of Pittsburgh
August 3, 2008

The University of Pittsburgh's Johnson Institute for Responsible Leadership Announces Best Paper Contest Winners

Contact:  412-624-4147

PITTSBURGH-The Johnson Institute for Responsible Leadership in Pitt's Graduate School for Public and International Affairs has announced the winners of the Best Paper contest. Each year, scholars, students, and professionals from around the world are invited to submit papers written on topics of leadership, public service, and accountability in public life.

Recipients of the 2007-08 Johnson Institute's Best Paper Prize in the categories of published papers, works in progress, and student paper are as follows, respectively.

"To "Re-Hatch" Public Employees or Not? An Ethical Analysis of the Relaxation of Restrictions on Political Activities in Civil Service" by James S. Bowman, a professor at Florida State University's Askew School of Public Administration and Policy, and Jonathan P. West, a professor in the University of Miami's political science department. Published in "Public Administration Review," the paper examines restrictions on political conduct by federal government employees and critically examines 1993 amendments to the Hatch Act, which relaxed some of those restrictions. The paper makes an important contribution to the public debate on how to ensure that public employees are protected from pressure to participate in partisan politics and, conversely, how to ensure that public employees are not penalized for participating in the political process on their personal time.

"Accountability in Governance Networks: Lessons From Hurricane Katrina" by Christopher Koliba, assistant professor of community development and applied economics at the University of Vermont, and Russell Mills, a doctoral student in Kent State University's political science department. In the paper, the authors examine the complex task of holding organizations accountable for public services when, in fact, those services are delivered not by one or several organizations but by many organizations participating in complex "supply chains" of delivery. The case of Hurricane Katrina entailed relief operations that involved a menagerie of public, private, and nonprofit organizations. The paper examines several theoretical and practical models for holding organizations accountable for their performance in these complex delivery networks.

"The Kelo Decision: An Abdication of Judicial Responsibility?" by Amanda M. Olejarski, a public administration and affairs doctoral student at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. Olejarski explores the U.S. Constitution's perspective on personal property rights and the framers' desire to strike a balance between protecting those private property rights and serving the public good through public seizure of land and other private property for public purposes.

For more information, contact the Johnson Institute at or 412-648-1336, or visit