Public Administration/Policy Brief

Policy Brief
Choose a policy topic related to your chosen MPA Certificate. You will be required to develop a policy brief related to the topic. Assume as if you are a government administrator in charge of an agency. You should write the policy brief to an elected policymaker in state or local government in Florida with regard to the initiation of a NEW, but politically and policy realistic course of action for the government agency.

For example, a hot topic in public finance and human resources is the future of the traditional defined benefit pension system. Assume you are Florida’s Senior Defined Contribution Programs Officer (Links to an external site.) (yes, this is a real position). You could then write a piece titled “What form of pensions should public agencies adopt?” You could define the problems facing public pensions and give the pros and cons of adopting the form of pension that is typically given.

Another example is from the emergency management realm. A major question for an emergency manager/ resiliency officer/ chief planner in a coastal city in Florida could be: “What should the city do to combat sea level rise?” You might outline the pros and cons of various methods and speculate on how we could do it better. Ideally, you should use some form of weighing between the alternatives (e.g. cost-benefit analysis, SWOT analysis) to arrive at your recommendation. (Yes, you might do well to revisit the materials from the Policy Analysis course.)

Your policy brief should:

lay out the nature of the problem
provide extensive background analysis drawing from real data and actual policy information from relevant agencies
present policy alternatives (more than one) to address the problem being discussed (including those individuals or groups likely to support or oppose each of the policy options)
evaluate the alternatives on certain independent criteria
advocate what appears to you to be the best possible solution to the problem.
The analysis should include the political implications of the course of action that you propose. This paper will have a one or two page executive summary at the beginning. The major focus of this assignment is a complete and comprehensive review of the nature of the problem and evaluation of the policy alternatives.

The paper should be 15-20 pages long (not including bibliography).
You MUST support your arguments with peer reviewed readings and additional library sources (When doing library research, you should use legitimate sources of information: scholarly books and academic journals only.).
Please edit your memo. Your final memo should be done at least 5 days before deadline. In the 5 days leading up to the deadline, you should edit your memo repeatedly. There are absolutely no excuses for submitting poorly edited papers. No excuse whatsoever for typos, grammar, no flow, etc. These are mistakes that you can catch yourself; alternatively, I strongly recommend scheduling an appointment with the FIU Center for Excellence in Writing (Links to an external site.) to go over the memo with them. You could have a brilliant paper and still receive a bad grade for not editing it well.
By the same token, you could have a perfectly edited memo and get a bad grade for poor substance. You must have good arguments, based on good quality peer reviewed materials. All materials that you access through the FIU library website ( are good. They are typically refereed articles, technical reports, Government Accountability Office (GAO) studies.
You need to demonstrate: a) your understanding of the subject you are writing about; b) good writing skills; and c) ability to craft good arguments.

******MY TOPIC IS*******:
“Community Policing Units and Neighborhood Resource Officers work collaboratively to proactively engage with the community, local business owners, faith-based organizations, and at risk youths. Evidence suggests that these units help reduce crime and restore the community’s faith in the police, while improving the relationship between law enforcement officers and the citizens they serve. This proposed policy will continue promoting this mission while ensuring that entities are required to have a minimum number of personnel staffing these units to ensure these functions are occurring regularly.” The professor wants this policy brief focused on how other police agencies organize/structure/utilize their Community Policing/Neighborhood Resource Units/Programs, then suggest a policy to the government as to the best ways to organize this and utilize these officers.

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