The Oakdale Reform Case Study

The Oakdale  Reform Case study summary

The City of Oakdale, a small city with a population of approximately 5,000 citizens, is considered a lower-middle class area with a worn-out central business district and drab-looking neighborhoods and is left in the shadows of surrounding municipalities that seemed to be consistently striving compared to the economic decline in Oakdale. Fearing that both revenues and expenditures would continue to decline further Ernie Hoffnagel, a recently elected mayor aimed to revitalize the city by attracting new businesses and residents. To achieve such goal, Hoffnagel proposed that the city has better code enforcement, rigorous housing inspections, and remodeled retail centers (Cropf, Giancola & Lewis, 2012, p. 80). Hoffnagel wanted a new city center project to go into full effect as soon as it could, and he supported his approach with the notion that it would benefit the struggling city. The case study attempts to evaluate major topics such as ethics, decision-making and financial planning that are heavily utilized in the day to day running of the town.  Considering that this is a politically active region, this assignment will attempt to provide the background information about the case study, the primary character in it as well as giving my point of view concerning the decision made in the case.

Facts of the case

The municipal town of Oakdale has a population of around 5000 individuals who largely come from the middle and lower class.  The surrounding buildings and cities are worn out owing to the unfavorable economic conditions in the region. Therefore, most of the town residents are forced to live a substandard life all in the name of worn out central business in the area.

After the 2003 elections in the city, Ernie Hoffnagel was legally elected as the new mayor of the city. During his campaigns, Hoffnagel largely focused on revitalizing the whole town with an outcome objective of attracting new investors into the town and motivating the local people to participate in the growth and expansion of the town. As a result, the ordinary citizens were interested in working hand in hand with the new mayor to improve the face and the standard of living in the city (Cropf, Giancola & Lewis, 2012, p. 80).).

Related: Human side of enterprise

Immediately after assuming powers and office, Hoffnagel immediately started implementing his plans by sending all the previous administrators home and hired new ones who shared the same vision and mission as he. As a result, Hoffanagel, terminated all of the previous administration staff. I do not believe that this decision was appropriate. Just because the previous mayor, Carl Bean, had been accused of failing to bring in new business and had not done enough as mayor to raise the city’ reputation does not mean that the rest of the administrative staff was in the wrong. It is quite possible that the administrative staff had all of the abilities needed in making the city better, but their leader, the previous mayor, was not as good of a leader as he should have been. An alternative solution to this decision would be for the new mayor, Hoffanagel, to keep the administrative staff and act as an effective leader to work towards achieving the goals. Amongst the new administrators were Angela Donny, who was appointed as the town administrator regardless of her holding a public office at the time back (Cropf, Giancola & Lewis, 2012, p. 80). As a result of her past activities, she was not popular among the residents. However,  The newly elected town mayor had a lot trust in her, and he was sure she would be vital in his management because of her experience. He assured the town residents that she was going to work well.


After aggressive investigations, Donny was suspended after he was found to have engaged in gross misconduct which led to the mayor resign.  Ethically and morally, this was the right step and decision of the mayor considering that Donny’s misconducted had already tainted Hoffnagel administration. Hoffnagel did not take it upon himself to look into matters further when there was questioning, as he should have; instead, he provided excuses and claimed that it would all work out. Since Donny was suspended and Hoffnagel resigned, there had to be an interim mayor and city administrator appointed. Marie Clarkson(Cropf, Giancola & Lewis, 2012, p. 80). Was selected for mayor and Paul Asher was selected for city administrator.


Although there was a serious financial problem for the City of Oakdale, there was a much more severe problem when looking at the big picture. The administration of the City of Oakdale needed serious change. For the changes to be effective the town administration needed to work together as a unit. The only real solution was for there to be a new administration put in place that could hopefully analyze the situation and fix the problem. Asher analyzed all aspects of the situation and considered everything. Not only did he look at the facts, but he also considered the opinions of others, and considered the possible outcomes of his decision about continuing the project.


The newly elected mayor lacked the qualities of effective leadership. I can give him credit for bringing some light to the city that was in the shadows for many years,  though he was unable to perfect it in the best way and let the citizens enjoy the light shine. His decisions were against the will of the community. Letting Donny in office again was a total failure because the residents had no trust in him.  She continued to bring down the city in the project proposal when she makes a quick decision of assigning him a contract without even giving a chance to the other bidders and also failing to consult the other colleagues.


Cropf, R., Giancola, J. & Loutzenhiser, K. (2012) The public administration casebook (1st ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.


H-E-B Center-Economic Development Project Review