Policy Memo

Imagine you are a senior state or city government policy adviser. The state governor or city mayor has asked your boss to brief them on 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 for your boss to consider regarding a path forward with all these political players (including pro’s and con’s for each option); and,
(5) a recommended strategy that you want your boss to present to the governor to win support for your agency’s policy agenda.

To recap, your memo should:

– Clearly and concisely state the issue at hand
– 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 options for your boss to consider, include 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.

Formatting Guidelines:

– No cover page; put your name, student ID, and the subject line at the top with a date.
– Do not exceed 6 single-spaced pages! (Most senior leaders don’t have time to read anything longer than a few pages.)
– Include citations / sources as end notes for your memo since this is an academic exercise (end notes will not count toward the 6 page limit). Follow Turabian guidelines for your citations.
– 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 (United Nations Resolutions, Congressional records, speeches).

 

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