As a native of Central New York, John Adams '06 (Rochester, N.Y.) has witnessed first-hand the decline in the industrial sector in the upstate area. He saw how difficult it was becoming for towns and cities to make ends meet, as the cost of health care and other services continue to rise. "Municipalities across the state and country are undertaking initiatives to raise the efficiency of service delivery and minimize costs," Adams explains. Adams' interest in government and concern for his local area inspired him to research the costs of local government services; as a Levitt Fellow, he will work on a project titled "Consolidating Local Government Services: A Viable Cost-Cutting Measure for Onondaga County?"
Adams will look specifically at the town of DeWitt, N.Y., a suburb of Syracuse. The town submitted a proposal to the Levitt Center for Public Affairs to do a cost benefit analysis of consolidating a few local services. "I took this project on because the [town's] 'intermunicipal' cooperation that ensues from consolidation is helping citizens get more efficient and cost effective services, thereby also saving tax money," he explains. "With this in mind, the popularity of intermunicipal cooperation is no surprise and ensures that it will likely become more prevalent in the future of government service structures."
Adams will be advised by government Professors Frank Anechiaricho '71 and Gary Wyckoff. He will also be working with DeWitt Town Supervisor James DiStefano.
The research that Adams will conduct over the summer months will be developed into a public contract thesis. As a public policy major at Hamilton, Adams has the option to write a public contract thesis in which he will extensively evaluate a policy or issue chosen by a state or local government in the Hamilton College area.
At the completion of the project, Adams will be holding a public presentation of a report of my findings to the Town of DeWitt.
Every semester since 1993, the Levitt Center has provided Hamilton students with the opportunity to share their experiences and research with high school classes. Faculty members select juniors and seniors with outstanding communication and research skills to participate in the Levitt Scholars Program. These Levitt Scholars generally speak about research they are conducting, major projects or papers, study abroad experiences, or specific skills they have learned. Scholars come from all majors and may speak on any issue. All Levitt Scholars first complete a course in public speaking taught by Professor Susan Mason as they learn to tailor their talks to a high school audience. Their presentations are designed to fit within a normal classroom period, and allow time for questions and answers. Scholars may also present to combined classes or an assembly.
-- by Emily Lemanczyk '05