Public Administration ETDs

Publication Date



The problem of governmental fragmentation in metropolitan areas has been a subject of study for urban scholars. since the 1920's. Solutions proposed to ameliorate this problem have invariably revolved around some form of structural reorganization of local government. Foremost among the proposals for government reorganization has been the consolidation of city and county governments into a single government for the entire metropolitan area. Metropolitan government is generally implemented by a vote of the affected electorate. Historically, limited success has been enjoyed by the proponents of city-county consolidation. Among the numerous theories postulated to explain the acceptance or rejection of consolidation proposals is an analysis of citizen attitudes toward the issues inherent in government reorganization. The problem identified for study in this thesis is an analysis and evaluation of the attitudes of Albuquerque citizens and the relationship of these attitudes toward determining the probable outcome of a referendum on city-county consolidation. The methodology employed in this thesis used analytical models to evaluate the attitudes of individual citizens and influential community leadership groups toward city-county consolidation in Albuquerque. Empirical data collected on voting behavior and corresponding citizen attitudes in Nashville, Tennessee (where a vote on consolidation was successful) were extrapolated to surrogate attitudes of individuals in Albuquerque. Attitude data for Albuquerque had previously been collected by the Albuquerque Urban Observatory in 1970. Based upon three proven hypotheses concerning municipal services, taxation and voter knowledge in Nashville, predictions of voter response to a consolidation proposal in Albuquerque were developed. Using this methodology, it was predicted that between 56 and 60 percent of the voting age population in the City of Albuquerque favors city-county consolidation. A second model employed was an evaluation of the attitudes expressed by influential community leadership groups in Albuquerque. This model used as its theoretical base a study conducted in 18 metropolitan areas by the Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations, which identified the types of groups found to be influential in reorganization proposals. Data collected on the attitudes of these groups in Albuquerque supplemented and confirmed the prediction based on individual citizen attitudes. Much of the data utilized in this thesis limited the analyses and resulting conclusions to the jurisdictional limits of the City of Albuquerque. However, New Mexico State law requires a majority of voters in both the city and county areas before consolidation can be implemented. Data collected on county residents were not representative enough to draw a definite conclusion as to their attitudes toward consolidation. Indications are, however, that proponents of consolidation can expect to find the strongest resistance to such a proposal from those persons living in the county.

Degree Name

Public Administration

Level of Degree


Department Name

School of Public Administration

First Committee Member (Chair)

John Mace Hunger

Second Committee Member

David Richard Jones

Third Committee Member

Frank Xavier Steggert


The author owes a debt of gratitude to many persons who participated in the preparation of this thesis. The Thesis Committee of Dr. John M. Hunger, Chairman, Dr. Frank X. Steggert and Col. David R. Jones provided constant encouragement and constructive comment throughout its preparation. A special thank you is extended to the Albuquerque Urban Observatory for providing financial assistance and basic data upon which much of the analysis was founded. Typing of the initial draft was gratuitously provided by Mrs. Carol Aldinger, who labored diligently in interpreting the handwriting of the author. The greatest debt owed is to my wife, Clara, who, in addition to typing the final copy of the manuscript, provided the love and encouragement needed to complete such an endeavor.



Document Type