Public Administration ETDs

Publication Date



This study is a functional analysis of the Albuquerque Department of Environmental Health (DEH). The first phase of the study was a literature search to determine current concepts of organization and functions of environmental health agencies. The second phase involved interviewing key DEH personnel. Finally, the effectiveness of the DEH was evaluated using the author's five years of experience in directing environmental health programs. The information about the DEH obtained in the interviews was compared to the characteristics of a modern and effective environmental health agency as defined in the literature. There is a nationwide trend to separate environmental quality and pollution control programs from traditional public health departments by creating "environmental health," or "environmental quality" agencies. It is hoped that creation of either type of environmental agency will expand the objectives of pollution control beyond health considerations to include esthetics, recreation, and social and economic interests. The establishment of an independent environmental agency also allows the agency director to act as an "environmental advocate," watching all other government agencies for possible environmental damage or environmental mismanagement. Interviews with key DEH personnel revealed that the agency conducts programs in almost all of the environmental health program areas listed in the literature. However, the DEH seems to stress "health" rather than "environmental quality" programs. Only one of the six DEH divisions is primarily concerned with environmental quality; the remainder are primarily concerned with health protection. This was attributed to the public health background of DEH management since most were sanitarians in the Public Health Department before the DEH was created in 1967. Environmental protection efforts have also suffered because the DEH Director does not act as an environmental advocate. The City Manager does not rely on the Director to examine city government programs for possible environmental damage. Consolidating the present six divisions into three divisions concerned with general sanitation, environmental protection, and consumer protection would give greater emphasis to environmental quality programs. The proposed reorganization would unite environmental quality programs such as water quality and noise abatement with air management in the new environmental protection division. Chronic manpower shortages in the DEH have hampered both health and environmental quality programs. One reason for the shortage is that all DEH personnel are not fully utilized. Many professional sanitarians are assigned to routine inspection duties which could be performed by subprofessional inspectors at a saving to the city. Another solution to the manpower crisis is to eliminate programs that are of marginal value. The quality of DEH management was judged to be high. Each member of the management team has extensive experience. Many innovations were observed in the DEH that increased the value of the Department's services to the public. Communications within the DEH and with other agencies are effective. All members of management seemed to be dedi­cated to achieving the DEH's goals of health and environmental protection.

Degree Name

Public Administration

Level of Degree


Department Name

School of Public Administration

First Committee Member (Chair)

John Mace Hunger

Second Committee Member


Third Committee Member

Frank Xavier Steggert



Document Type