The Jack Ford Urban Affairs Center

UAC Reports: 1985-1989

Urban Affairs Center


During his first administration, President Reagan enjoyed considerable success in redeeming his 1980 campaign pledge to reduce the role of government in domestic affairs and alter national-state and national-local governmental relationships. In his fourth State of the Union message, delivered on February 6, 1985, he maintained that "four years ago, we began to change--forever I hope--our assumptions about government and its place in our lives." The results at the federal level of government are reasonably clear. However, our federal system of government is complex and national presidential and congressional actions are not translated automatically into policy and program at the state and local level. Nor should the national impact--to whatever degree it is translated into policy and program at the local level--be expected to affect uniformly various kinds of agencies and programs.

Local government and community officials have commented to us about the need for a systematic study of the local impact of the fiscal and policy changes of the federal government during the Reagan administration. In addition, the importance of an academic study in Northwestern Ohio which analyzes the local impact of a major overhaul at the national level of our federal system was obvious. Last Spring, therefore, the Urban Affairs Center began its Federal Policy Impact Study.

The major source of local data for the Federal Policy Impact Study is a mail questionnaire, administered to heads of government and non-profit agencies in Northwestern Ohio. This report presents a brief overview of the results from a portion of that questionnaire, and is intended primarily for the individuals who kindly gave of their time to respond to our questions and who requested a summary of the results.


The Reagan administration will be considered a watershed administration for its efforts to change assumptions about government's domestic role and about federal-state and federal-local relationships. While his policies have created problems for many agencies, our respondents appear resolute in not wanting to return to a larger federal government role locally. Most respondents feel that their agencies are benefited more by a healthy economy than by more federal dollars--a sentiment often expressed in more general terms by President Reagan. Nevertheless, the administration's vision is far from realized; for example, many agency heads see no reduction in federal reporting requirements, nor do they see federal funding as more predictable.

Agencies have been forced to make adjustments--and many of them would appear to be positive for them. The survey produced claims for increased cooperation in the area, better staff-client relations and a host of other management improvements which were recorded in other parts of the questionnaire. But not all is positive for the agencies. There is a greater struggle for funding; it appears that agencies are devoting more effort to this. The agency heads appear dubious about the increased role of state government in urban affairs which President Reagan envisions.

Finally, we must keep in mind that not one of our statements produced a unanimous response. Obviously, there is disagreement about the local impact of the recent federal fiscal and policy changes. There is also a continuing need to analyze this local impact to that we can improve the response of local government to the issues and problems which we, as a community, consider appropriate for government to address.

The Issues Of Local Government Efficiency: The Impact Of The New Federalism

Ronald Randall and Carter Wilson

March 25, 1985


The issue of efficiency is an important dimension of the Reagan administration's philosophy of New Federalism. According to this philosophy, government in general had grown too large, wasteful, bureaucratic, unaccountable and above all, inefficient. The New Federalism was designed to reduce, or at least retard, the growth of federal domestic spending and to pursue a policy of shifting greater responsibility to state and local governments. A decline in federal resources and a devolution in federal powers and further consolidations in block grants were calculated to eliminate duplication and waste and enhance local government flexibility and responsiveness to local needs and constrain local agencies to become more efficient. As the national government reduces its involvement in domestic programs, state governments would presumably accept greater programmatic, financial and technical-assistance responsiblity.

Although some parts were rejected and others were modified, Reagan wea relatively successful in gaining Congressional approval for his domestic policy package, Federal resources (grants-in-aid) directly allocated to state and local areas declined about 6 billion between 1981 and 1982 and states were assuming increased responsibilities as more federal funds were funneled through the states to local areas according to Nathan, Doolittle et al. (1983). Allowing time for changes in Washington to have some impacts on local areas, the summer of 1984 appeared to be the opportune time to test the assumptions underprinning the Reagan philosophy.


Does our study provide a refutation of cutback management theory? Certainly our findings do not support the expectations of cutback management theory because massive cuts in services, the deterioration in staff/management relations, and the erosion of staff morale did not occur.

Nor do our findings produce much support for assumptions underlying the Reagan administration's New Federalism. Contrary to President Reagan's expectations about state government responses, the State of Ohio has not filled the gap left by the retreat of the federal government in domestic policy areas. Our respondents are not experiencing significant increases in state technical assistance of financial aid. They are devoting more time to state reporting, apparently a function primarily of increased enforcement of existent state requirements rather than newly promulgated ones. Moreover, some of the process efficiency gains that we identified appear to have been in place before Mr. Reagan came to office. For most of the local efficiency gains noted by administrators, causes were rarely attributed to federal fiscal policy changes. Local factors, such as the condition of the local economy, loom much more important than changes occurring in Washington, D.C. to our local administrators.

Changing Intergovernmental Relations in the Eighties: A View from Local Government

Ronald Randall and Carter Wilson

April 17-20, 1985


Most of the changes in intergovernmental relation, as viewed by local administrators, are incremental. Federal funds allocated to local areas are declining. In most cases, the state in not compensating for the reduction in federal funds. The state has assumed more responsibilities under the New Federalism although most of our local administrators do not believe the stat is prepared to carry out those responsibilities. Administrators reported increases and decreases in federal reporting requirements--a contradiction that was not unexpected. Increases in state reporting requirements and mandates are apparently having a restricting effect on local agencies, according to the views and opinions of our local administrators. Surprisingly local administrators are working closer with state administrators and feel that state officials are more sympathetic to local problems and issues than are federal officials. This in no way implies that in the long run the state legislature would approve policies that satisfactorily address these problems. The anti-urban bias of the state legislature, as perceived by city administrators, apparently has not changed.

With regard to the horizontal federalism side of the ledger, there appears to be a slight incremental increase in functional and allocational rivalry among local agencies particularly in the social service areas. Paradoxically, though, these agencies also see a need for cooperation and coordination to maintain the social safety net.


Ronald Randal, and Carter Wilson

April 19, 1985


This study examines the impact of Reagan administration changes on governmental and non-profit agencies in Northwest Ohio, an industrial area anchored by Toledo. Data for the study come from a mail-out questionnaire sent to administrators of these agencies.

Beyond the consolidation of several categorical grants-in-aid into block grants, many of the intergovernmental changes anticipated by President Reagan have not materialized. Agencies have gone through difficult financial times in Northwest Ohio. With management and other adjustments, they appear, in the short run, to have weathered the crisis reasonably well. In fact, the recession of 1981-82 produced more problems for local administrators than did the Reagan federal budget cuts.

The modest local impact of the dramatic national changes is a reminder of the resiliance of the federal system. Some of that resiliance has manifested itself, however, in local stop-gap measures that may lead to serous problems over the long run.


Dr. Clinton Oliver Longenecker

June 1985


This report has been compiled by Dr. Clinton O. Longenecker, primary management consultant, with the assistance of Ms. Sharon Desmond, a graduate student at The University of Toledo.

The findings in this report are the result of a systematic attempt to accurately assess and describe the current views, perceptions, and attitudes of the EOPA employee who participated in the audit. The report is intended to enhance the ability of the EOPA board and administration to affectively monitor, manage, and improve their agency.

The findings in this report come from two data sources. Phase I of the data collection procedure consisted of fifteen in-depth interviews with the agency's various staff and program directors and coordinators. The information obtained from Phase I was used to construct a survey questionnaire which was designed to describe the EOPA employees' assessments of: 1) the Board of Directors; 2) the administration; 3)leadership within the agency: and, 4) quality of work life. this survey represented Phase II of the data collection process and employed both rating scales and forced choice formats in addition to three open-ended questions.

Surveys were distributed to all 216 EOPA employees in their paycheck envelopes. Also included were a cover letter assuring the respondent of anonymity and a stamped, self-addressed envelope for return of the questionnaire to The University of Toledo Urban Affairs Center. Of the 216 surveys distributed, 117 were returned, for a response rate of 54 percent.

The findings reported below are based on both a statistical and a content analysis of the data generated from Phases I and II.


The findings concerning the EOPA Board of Directors are by no means unusual for a non-profit organization. Directors are, after all, volunteers and their areas of expertise do not necessarily coincide with the activities of the agency on whose board they sit. This mitigating comment is not intended to dilute the findings, but rather to encourage the board to view them realistically, realizing that their situation is not unique.

The apparent lack of administrative leadership at the agency might be viewed as a function or a by-product of the fact that EOPA is a non-profit agency, with multiple areas of service and a somewhat ambiguous mission(s); nonetheless, there is no substitute for effective leadership.

Finally, the quality of work life findings suggest that workers are generally satisfied with what they are doing but that the overall work environment has room for improvement in the human relations area.


Dewitt C. Daavison

June 1985


Prior to conducting the research, conferences were held between the evaluators and administrators in the Head Start program to obtain information on the kinds of assessments that were already completed on students who were enrolled. The directors of the program indicated that the Toledo head Start program was presently conducting a pilot study with a battery of assessment instruments, the Head Start Measurements Battery. this instrument is administered individually and measures competencies of children in six developmental areas: social, perceptual, mathematical, reading, language, and knowledge of science and nature. the Head Start educational director indicated that one part of the battery, the perceptual measure, was currently being administered to a sample of 50 children. She also stated that it was anticipated that the remaining portions of the battery would be administered later. Since the data from this battery were not available at the time this study was completed, no information on those assessments could be included here.

Following discussions between the consultants and the educational director, agreement was reached on the nature and scope of the present evaluation study. The study was designed to focus on two broad categories of cognitive and language competencies, analogical thinking processes and referential communicational skills. Let us consider each of these competencies and their importance in children's intellectual growth. Conclusion:

Children in the Toledo Head Start program compare favorably with other children their age in their analogical thinking.

Gardener Building Restoration/Renovation



There are events in each city's history which stand out as dramatic moments that set a new course in that city's urban destiny. The events surrounding the rescue and reuse of the Gardener Building in Toledo, Ohio comprise one of those moments.

In September 1985 the owners of the Gardener Building announced plans to vacate and demolish the landmark 1983 structure. Most people long considered the Gardener to be "safe" from the unchecked demolition activities that had characterized downtown renewal efforts since the late 1950s, leaving the CBD pockmarked with surface parking lots.

The announcement of the proposed destruction of the Gardner brought preservationists, the downtown community, neighborhood groups, the media, government officials, city council, and the citizenry together in a two-year effotr to save the structure.

Why? The Gardner Building represented an important link to Toledo's past and a statement about it was going. The Gardner was the first home of the now world-famous Toledo Museum of Art; it was an elegant, Renaissance-inspired edifice which lent as air of maturity to the heart of downtown Toledo; it was one of the first reinforced-concrete office buildings in the nation; and it stood at a pivotal point on Madison Avenue, connecting the old downtown with recent revitalization areas along Summit Street and the waterfront.

Broad public support for halting the demolition led to the enactment by city council of a six-month demolition moratorium for the entire 80-block CBD while the Plan Commission and the Landmarks Commission completed independent surveys of the downtown, rating the historic and architectural significance of all core-city buildings older than 40 years. The Gardner Building was "safe" for six more months.

Upon completion of the surveys, city council finally approved a long-debated review period which could be put into effect when demolition threatens a significant structure. When Gardner Building owners subsequently applied for a demolition permit in July 1986, the city invoked the review clause and demolition was thus staved off for another six months.

The total year-long holding period provided enough time for local developers to come together in a successful partnership, but only after no less than six other investors, including the Enterprise Corp. and developers from Cleveland and Cincinnati, backed out of the project [During this period, the local paper, The Blade, maintained strong support for the project through numerous articles and a dozen editorials urging reuse of the Gardner (see PERSPECTIVE/Other, Bernard Judy).1] GRC Corp., a unique partnership which includes the architects, real estate agents and contractors who eventually completed the rehabilitation, formed and purchased the Gardner in January 1987, only days before demolition was to begin. Renovation began in February and a year later the court (lower) level and first floor were complete. The Collaborative, Gardner architects and prime movers in the formation of GRC, made the long--awaited move to their new downtown home.

Important trade-offs were made in the renovation process which negated the developers' efforts to have the building placed on the National Register of Historic Places, thereby denying the project a 20 percent federal income tax credit. However, local incentives, including city tax abatement and a facade improvement grant, provided positive inducements. The opening of a popular court level restaurant and adjacent bookstore, and a current occupancy rate of 65 percent, speak to the ongoing success and popularity of the project.

The Gardner Building project fostered recognition of the CBD as a physical place, a place which is both public and private, new and old, a place which preserves the centrality and vitality of an urban region. As a result, downtown becomes everyone's neighborhood, a place which offers hope through the recognition that its past can and should play a vital role in its future.

HELP! A Directory Of Technical Assistance And Training Resources For Community Based Development Organizations

Prepared for the Working Group on Neighborhoods (WGN)

Urban Affairs Center

December, 1989

  • Service Directory
  • Neighborhoods
  • Historic Preservation
  • Housing Technical Assistance/Training Advice
  • Finance
  • Business And Commercial Development Technical Assistance/Training/Advice
  • Finance
  • Grants Information
Last Updated: 6/27/22