Week 4 Steven Westfall, writing homework help


The Pocatello Police Department is a police department that serves a
city of about 55,000 people (cite). As a public agency, the police
department has many internal and external constraints on its
orgnazation. In order to run effectively, it is important for the
department to create and follow a financial strategic plan (Moynihan,
2006). Some factors that could impede the police department in
developing a successful financial strategic plan are organizational
culture, management style, and the economy. The first two examples are
internal factors and the second is external.

Organizational culture

Organizational culture is the shared values, beliefs, and norms
within an organization (McLaughlin, n.d.). If the organizational culture
of the police department is such that strategic plans or financial
plans are not seen as important, or their worth is not understood, not a
lot of attention is going to be paid to the documents. In addition to
this, if a department has other organizational issues it is facing,
strategic planning may not be given as much attention as it should. The
recent history of the Pocatello Police Department has shown some
conflict between officers and administration. Officers surveyed stated
that they felt distrustful of their leadership and that morale in the
department is low (Bryce, 2016). These kinds of issues take focus off of
strategic planning, with finances or otherwise, and shift the focus on
repairing relations within an organization. Organizational culture can
be difficult to change, but helping employees get buy-in to the
importance of such planning and helping them feel like an important part
of the process can help change the culture to more be more positive
toward the effort it takes to create and adhere to a financial strategic
plan (Casey & Seay, 2010).

Management style

Management style also has an affect on financial planning. Most of
the upper management of the police department were hired at a time when
education was not as important a consideration for hiring as it is now.
Because of this, only 1 person in the department command staff (the
upper administration) currently has a college degree. They have plenty
of on the job experience, but not as much educational background. They
get by creating strategic planning documents, but could do better
by being trained on elements of planning and how to make them
successful. Finding programs and trainings that can answer questions,
give leaders tools, and educate them on planning processes is a great
way to help leaders know how to implement them in their organizations
(Casey & Seay, 2010). In this department, the major is in charge of
the overall budget for the department. He previously had not had much
formal budgeting training. His first year after taking over the
budgeting for the department, he ended up having to give the city back
$400,000 for the year because he had not used the money. He had been too
conservative in purchasing things the department needed in order to
hold money back for any unforeseen emergencies. No costly emergencies
came up, so the money went unused. While it is good to save for things
that are not planned for, he ended up inadvertently mismanaging the
department’s budget. Many divisions had to cut things out of their
budgets to be able to save that amount back. In a meeting, he talked to
members of the department about this mistake on his part and resolved to
do better and seek more budget and finance training (J. Peterson,
personal communication, 2013). He was able to take some budgeting
classes and was better equipped to wisely budget and allocate funds
in following fiscal years.

The economy

The economy is always a big factor in financial planning. As the
economy fluctuates, so do public organizations’ budgets. Despite
sometimes smaller budgets, organizations still have expenditures, and
they need to find ways to still be able to carry out their operations
(Brittain, 2006). Some ways to deal with this are to develop phased
approaches so that high costs are not accrued in one budget cycle and
being thoughtful about services cut (Brittain, 2006). A few years ago,
the department faced reduced funding to their school resource officer
program. There had been an officer assigned to each school in the school
district. The local school district contributed $250,000 for the
program (S. Marchand, personal communication, 2009). But facing budget
cuts on their end, the school district decided they needed to cut costs
by no longer helping fund the school resource officers (Bloomsburg,
2009). The department did not feel like it was a good idea to end the
program due to the incidents of school shootings and violence across the
country. Instead, they looked into ways they could continue the program
with much reduced funding. They ultimately kept all the high school
resource officers, had one resource officer for every two middle
schools, and had one officer for all the elementary schools. To make up
for the dramatically reduced presence of officers in the elementary
schools, they assigned officers on day shift to patrol the elementary
schools at least once a week. In this way, services were reduced, but
they were not cut out completely. Sometimes creative solutions like this
can help control outside budget cuts for an organization.

The public deserves good government. Creating strategic plans and
strategic financial plans are ways that public organizations can achieve
better government. These plans give stakeholders a good grasp of what
is going on within an organization and if it is meeting its goals and
being a good steward of public funds (Young, 2003).


Bloomsburg, C. (2009). School system plans cuts. Idaho State Journal. Retrieved from http://idahostatejournal.com/news/breaking/school-system-plans-cuts/article_ff0f32a9-19e4-58f7-8bd3-7afdb43b8731.html

Brittain, L. (2006). City of Toronto’s long-term fiscal plan. Government Finance Review, 22(6), 18–24.

Bryce, D. (2016). Chief, mayor respond to Pocatello police department issues. Idaho State Journal. Retrieved from http://idahostatejournal.com/members/chief-mayor-respond-to-pocatello-police-department-issues/article_ae5749ee-9ffe-5c60-92ca-1755ca1660fa.html#comments

Casey, J. P., & Seay, K. T. (2010). The role of the finance officer in strategic planning. Government Finance Review, 26(6), 28–36.

McLaughlin, J. (n.d.). Understanding Organizational Culture. Retrieved from http://study.com/academy/lesson/what-is-organizational-culture-definition-characteristics.html

Moynihan, D. P. (2006). Managing for results in state government: Evaluating a decade of reform. Public Administration Review, 66(1), 77–89.

Young, R. D. (2003). Perspectives on strategic planning in the public sector. Institute for Public Service and Policy Research, University of South Carolina. Retrieved from http://www.ipspr.sc.edu/publication/perspectives%20on%20Strategic%20Planning.pdf

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