Virtual Museum of Public Service

Timelines of Public Service: A-5

"History does not refer merely, or even principally, to the past. On the contrary, the great force of history comes from the fact that we carry it within us, are unconsciously controlled by it in many ways, and history is literally present in all that we do." 
 
James Baldwin.
 
Public services are usually provided by governments to their constituents and financed with public funds. In cases where nonprofit or private organizations provide such services, they can do this in partnership with governments and under government regulation in order to safeguard the public's interests. Public services guarantee universal access to essential services and amenities, including emergency services such as paramedics and ambulances, fire protection, healthcare, law enforcement and police protection, the military, libraries, schools, and social services. Many utilities are also provided as public services, for example: electricity, gas, telecommunications and water. In some parts of the world public services may also include environment protection, housing, transportation, and waste management.
 
The timeline through which the nature and extent of public services are defined is influenced by a wide range of economic, political and social factors and priorities. The consecutive endeavor and intellectual tensions to provide appropriate public services within limited resources and uncertain clues of each phase of history lead to present and future configurations of public service provisions.  The size of the work force for delivering public goods and services also reflects these kinds of influences. According to the United States Census Bureau's annual survey data (2013), released in December 2014, federal, state and local governments employed 14.2 million full-time public service workers and 4.8 million part-time. Across the nation, local government employees comprise the majority (72.3%) of the state and local government workforce. For the same timeline, local governments employed 76.2% of all full time local employees.