In Local Hands

Village Government Incorporation and Dissolution in New York State

By Lisa K. Parshall

Subjects: State And Local Politics, New York/regional, Public Policy, American History
Hardcover : 9781438492452, 307 pages, March 2023
Paperback : 9781438492469, 307 pages, September 2023

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Table of contents

List of Illustrations
Introduction: In Local Hands

Part I: The Legal and Policy Framework

1. Incorporating Villages

2. Dissolving Villages

3. The Empowerment Act

Part II: The Political and Social Context

4. Fiscal Incentives and Pressures

5. The Political Contexts of Dissolution

6. Narrative Policy Persuasion in the Dissolution Debate

7. Explaining Municipal Reorganization Success and Failure


The first comprehensive study of village government formation and dissolution in New York State.


In Local Hands examines the contemporary (post-2010) village government dissolution movement and renewed state-level effort to encourage local government restructuring against the backdrop of evolving statutory authority, growing fiscal pressures, and state incentives. Drawing on multiple disciplines, Lisa K. Parshall explores the contemporary village dissolution movement in New York State, the impetus behind these reforms, and the impact of the state-level policies and incentives that are driving a growing number of local communities to consider local government reorganization through the elimination of villages as governing entities. Parshall explores the social, political, and narrative contexts in which these community-level debates occur, providing us with a study of local democracy in action and of the power of local control over the creation and dissolution of local governing entities. With its dual within and cross-case study focus on New York State villages, In Local Hands is both timeless and timely, providing valuable contributions to the study of municipal development and reorganization.

Lisa K. Parshall is Professor of Political Science at Daemen University and a public policy fellow at the Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government. Her previous books include Directing the Whirlwind: The Trump Presidency and the Deconstruction of the Administrative State (coauthored with Jim Twombly) and Reforming the Presidential Nominating Process: Front-Loading's Consequences and the National Primary Solution.


"Based on exceptional research, and drawing on the scholarship of several disciplines, In Local Hands effectively debunks common, long held assumptions on what drives change in local government reform. This is a unique contribution to a heretofore neglected field." — Gerald Benjamin, coauthor of Tales from the Sausage Factory: Making Laws in New York State