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Imagine you are a state or city government policy adviser. The governor or city mayor has asked your boss to brief them on a critical problem facing your community (and therefore one of your agency’s top policy priorities). You need to develop a comprehensive policy memo that will give your boss:
(1) the critical background information he/she needs on the issue at hand;
(2) analysis of the influence of the state/city legislature, the judicial system, and other state/city government agencies on the formulation and implementation of a specific policy;
(3) an evaluation of the influence that interest groups, political parties and the media have on the policy at hand;
(4) a set of options/solutions for your boss to consider regarding a path forward with all these political players (including pros and cons for each option); and,
(5) a recommended strategy that you want your boss to present to the governor or mayor to win support for your agency’s policy agenda.
To recap, your memo should:
– Clearly and concisely state the problem you are trying to tackle
– Provide a summary of the current policy context / relevant background
– Analyze the influence of the state or city legislature, the judicial system, and other agencies
– Evaluate the influence of interest groups, political parties, and the media
– Present a set of solutions to the problem for your boss to consider, including pro’s and con’s for each
– Make a realistic recommendation of one of those options and provide further justification for why you are saying that option is the best.
– No cover page; put your name, student ID, and the subject line at the top with a date.
– Minimum length of 2000 words, but do not exceed 6 single-spaced pages. (Most senior leaders wouldn’t have time to read anything longer than this.)
– Cite sources for your memo since this is an academic exercise (sources will not count toward the 6 page limit).
– At minimum, your sources should include: one book besides the textbook, two articles from scholarly journals (i.e. Foreign Affairs, Harvard International Review), two news articles from major periodicals (i.e. Washington Post, The New York Times, The Economist), and two primary sources (public opinion polls, legislative records, speeches). The tighter the topic focus, the better the product.
POLICY MEMO ASSIGNMENT TEMPLATE
Begin your memo with a clear problem statement.
Provide key background information, focusing on why this is a crisis and action must be taken now.
Do not shy away from using bullet points, lists or charts in your memo.
What is happening in the legislature pertaining to this topic? What role do other agencies play?
What about the influence of interest groups, the media, other non-governmental agencies?
Present several options for your boss to consider. Analyze the pros and cons of each option.
Select a path forward and provide further justification for why this option is best. Be sure to address concerns that may be raised by stakeholders or political opponents.
Please list all references used as you developed this memo. You can use the format you are most comfortable with (APA, MLA, Turabian, etc). See Assignment section for minimal research requirements.