Bureaucracy doomed consolidation in Charlotte
The inevitably accelerating complexity of bureaucracy doomed consolidation in Charlotte, Fleming believes.
Citing this Excerpt
Oral History Interview with J. Carlton Fleming, [date unknown]. Interview B-0068. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Full Text of the Excerpt
- J. CARLTON FLEMING:
I think there were people who saw it, but they were people who figured
there was just not a whole lot they could do about it because they had
assigned a guy, not a guy but a group of people part of the pie. That
part of the pie just got bigger and bigger and bigger, and those people
thought it was the most important thing in the charter. They'd build it
up and build it up and build it up. It's sort of the way bureaucracy
operates. The first thing you know, you've got people who are so tied in
with what they themselves see as their function . . .Well, on a
governmental level sometimes they add staff and they add projects and
they ask for additional appropriations. As soon as they come in, you add
staff and you add projects. The thing just has the inborr ability to
pyramid. I think that's what happened here. We got over-complicated in
the approach because we had so many people that we assigned jobs to. I
don't know that there was particular lack of communication. I think
there probably was pretty good communication. I don't think anybody
really felt they had the ability to say, "Well, you fellows
over there in Article Four, Section Three who are responsible
for that . . .You've just gone haywire."
I'm afraid that sort of the human result of all this was that the work
of that particular segment was just sort of folded in with everything
else. That not just added to it, it multiplied it, the complexity of the
- BILL MOYE:
That does seem to be a very difficult sort of thing to control. It does
look like it did get out of hand.
- J. CARLTON FLEMING:
Well, our basic mistake was in trying to come up with a perfect charter
in conjunction with consolidation. If we had consolidated first and then
tried to come up with as close to a perfect charter or an improved
charter as we could come up with gradually after we had a consolidated
government, I think the effort would have had a good chance of success.
But, we tried to get all the perfection at the same time we tried to
merge, and the people didn't understand all those anxieties for
perfection, and didn't think the proffered perfection was