REFORMING GOVERNMENT: Winning Strategies Against Waste, Corruption, and Mismanagement by Daniel L. Feldman

REFORMING GOVERNMENT: Winning Strategies Against Waste, Corruption, and Mismanagement

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KIRKUS REVIEW

City government doesn't have to be corrupt, or so says Dan Feldman, crusading New York attorney, whose book recounts--breathlessly--the numerous fraud and corruption cases he has worked on over the last five years. True, his stories of notorious scandals can be instructive. Take the discovery of thousands of rotting sandwiches, paid for by the Federal lunch program, lying undistributed in the midst of poverty--a case Feldman handled for Representative Elizabeth Holtzman. The local black leader in charge of the lunch program responded by picketing Holtzman's office and reading the press a statement accusing her of racism--a statement written for him, it turned out, by his food suppliers, whites who were making a bundle from the ""poverty"" effort (and laughing at the blacks out there protesting). But Feldman's 14 accounts of corruption--from the misawarding of asphalt contracts, to phony student reimbursement, to drug program rip-offs--are presented as a prelude to what he calls his ""system of investigation"" and ""blueprint for reform""; and this ""system"" turns out to be a rather simple set of procedures which devolve upon the need for patience and the value of press coverage (i.e., ""government officials prefer not to be embarrassed""). Never, moreover, does he question the assumptions behind the creation of so many corruption-prone programs; never does he ask why he has spent so much time exposing the failure of programs created by the very politicians he works for. A mawkish text--but its vignettes might provide a useful textural supplement to Charles Morris' rigorously analytic The Cost of Good Intentions.

Pub Date: March 18th, 1981
Publisher: Morrow