There is debate in the literature on whether or not general management principles are applicable to the study and practice of public administration. This research responds by exploring how local officials manage the performance of public services with private good characteristics, where general management principles could be embraced for service delivery. The relationship between operational and financial indicators is explored within the functional areas of water and sewer, with the hypothesis that operational outcomes impact financial outcomes similar to private enterprises. Because the findings do not support this hypothesis, the authors conclude that general management principles may not be applicable to all forms of administration given that public cannot be removed from the management of public services even with private good characteristics.
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