Public Administration

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“The Blast in Centralia No. 5: A Mine Disaster No One Stopped” by John Bartlow Martin. Reprinted by permission of Harold Ober Associates Incorporated. Copyright 1948 by John Bartlow Martin. Copyright renewed 1975 by John Bartlow Martin.
The title of this case study alone insinuates that perhaps this mine disaster could have been prevented. Martin opens his case study with very descriptive and gruesome details about the events that lead up to the explosion. Martin states: “One hundred and eleven men were killed in that explosion. Killed needlessly, for almost everybody concerned had known for months, even years, that the mine was dangerous. Yet nobody had done anything effective about it” (Stillman 31). Initially, the thought and idea that a community would allow such a horrific event to occur that could have been prevented is terrifying and somewhat startling. Martin uses his case study to explore various questions regarding this mine disaster as well as the background and other potential issues surrounding the explosion.
The overall goal of this case study is to place an emphasis on how dependent modern day society is on public administration to handle chaotic or unexpected situations. In exploring various aspects of this catastrophe, Martin explores the following: (1). A coal company sensitive only to profit incentives. (2). State regulatory agencies inadequately enforcing mine safety legislation. (3). Federal officials and mine unions complacent about a growing problem. (4). The miners incapable of protecting themselves against the impending disaster. Ultimately, “Modern society depends on the proper functioning of unseen administrative arrangements--- for safeguarding our environment; for protecting the purity of our food;…...

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