Effective: Late Fall 8-Week, 2018/2019

MSCJ 535: Budgeting And Planning For Criminal Justice Managers

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  Course Description

Examination of public sector budgeting from the perspective of agency and departmental managers. Analysis of issues that are involved in planning, developing, tracking and implementing an agency or departmental budget.

Prerequisite: Graduate standing

Proctored Exams: None



  • Menifield, Charles E. The Basics of Public Budgeting and Financial Management. 2nd ed. Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 2013.
    • ISBN-978-0-7618-6141-6
  • Swain, John W., and B. J. Reed. Budgeting for Public Managers. Armonk, NY: M. E. Sharpe, Inc., 2010.
    • ISBN-978-0-7656-2050-7

MBS Information

Textbooks for the course may be ordered from MBS Direct. You can order

For additional information about the bookstore, visit http://www.mbsbooks.com.

  Course Overview

We begin with introductions and an overview of the course. Students are asked to introduce themselves online and familiarize themselves with the online environment by reading the course syllabus, exploring some of the references, and understanding general guidelines and expectations of the course. The second week of the course focuses on preparation of the budget proposal. This section focuses on budget cycles, budget calendars, budget actors, and justifying a budget. In week three personnel services and operating budgets will be discussed. More specifically, the standard components of a personnel and operating budget will be introduced. Then, capital budgets and Capital Improvement Plans are the subject of the discussion.  Next will continue with appropriate readings from our text, focusing on funding state and local budgets. During week six we will examine budgeting techniques and analytical models. Items such as forecasting, discounting, cost benefit analysis and productivity analysis will be discussed. Financial management is the subject of week seven’s week’s reading assignment. We will discuss a number of different items. These include: assessing financial condition, procurement, risk management, cutback management and debt management. The last chapter in the book is all about presentation. Therefore, you will learn how to create charts, graphs, and tables for professional settings. The information learned in the chapter will ideally be reflected in your research paper.

  Technology Requirements

Participation in this course will require the basic technology for all online classes at Columbia College:
  • A computer with reliable Internet access
  • A web browser
  • Acrobat Reader
  • Microsoft Office or another word processor such as Open Office

You can find more details about standard technical requirements for our courses on our site.

  Course Learning Outcomes

  1. Describe the processes involved with planning, developing, tracking and implementing an agency or departmental budget.
  2. Describe the financial and economic issues faced by criminal justice managers.
  3. Articulate the major sources of revenue and expenditures for Criminal Justice agencies.
  4. Explain important terms and theories associated with the budget process.
  5. Articulate solutions to real and hypothetical budget problems.
  6. Analyze and evaluate the operational, legal, and ethical problems faced by criminal justice professionals.


Grading Scale

Grade Points Percent
A 360-400 90-100%
B 320-359 80-89%
C 280-319 70-79%
F 0-279 0-69%

Grade Weights

Assignment Category Points Percent
Discussions 100 25%
Homework Assignments 200 50%
Research Paper 100 25%
Total 400 100%

  Schedule of Due Dates

Week 1

Assignment Points Due
Introductions Discussion (non-graded) -- Saturday
Discussion 1 12.5
Homework 1 25

Week 2

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 2 12.5 Saturday
Homework 2 25

Week 3

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 3 12.5 Saturday
Homework 3 25

Week 4

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 4 12.5 Saturday
Homework 4 25
Research Paper topic due --

Week 5

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 5 12.5 Saturday
Homework 5 25

Week 6

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 6 12.5 Saturday
Homework 6 25

Week 7

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 7 12.5 Saturday
Homework 7 25

Week 8

Assignment Points Due
Research Paper due 100 Thursday
Discussion 8 12.5 Saturday
Homework 8 25
Total Points: 400

  Assignment Overview

Discussion Participation

You can accumulate 12.5 discussion points each week. You must log in and participate in the weekly Forums found in the Discussions area of the course. Students who do not participate in the discussion may fail the course due to lack of effort. There will be grade differentiation on your weekly Forum participation. Those who post early in a given week and more often within a given Forum will be scored higher than those who wait until the end of a given week.


All of your homework is due in the Dropbox at noon on the first Saturday following the week of discussion. Each assignment should be dated and labeled (i.e. Homework 1, Homework 2, etc.). Homework assignments are due each week and can be turned in at any time prior to the Saturday due date. Feel free to ask questions about any of the questions up through Thursday evening. Homework turned in after the noon hour is considered late. See Late Assignment Policy below. Knowledge of Excel is necessary for successful completion of the assignments. Hence, make sure that you turn in your assignment in the appropriate format.

If you intend to “recycle” work submitted in previous classes you must ask for my permission. Permission will be granted on the basis of how extensive the new work expounds (depth and breadth) on the previous work.

Research Paper

Each student is responsible for completing an 8-10 research paper for the class. The paper should examine an important budgeting issue for a state or local criminal justice department or any government agency that falls under the Department of Homeland Security. All approved topics, along with an explanatory paragraph, must be turned in by Saturday of Week 4. Therefore, you should be thinking about some topic that is interest to you during the first three weeks of class. Topics turned in after that deadline will affect the grade on your paper. See Late Assignment Policy below. I strongly suggest that we discuss your ideas prior to your turning in your final topic. The final paper is due in the Dropbox on Thursday of Week 8, by 11:59 p.m.

If you intend to “recycle” work submitted in previous classes you must ask for my permission. Permission will be granted on the basis of how extensive the new work expounds (depth and breadth) on the previous work.

Note: Your paper is not an item that you should take for granted. Your paper will be graded on content, grammar, organization and punctuation. You will find a handout on writing a research paper in the Content area of the course.

  Course Outline

Click on each week to view details about the activities scheduled for that week.


  • Menifield, Chapter 1: The Context of Public Sector Budgets
  • Swain and Reed, Chapter 1: Introduction : Public Budgeting for Managers
  • Swain and Reed, Chapter 8: section on “Accounting”

    Introductions Discussion (non-graded)

    Students should introduce themselves in the Introductions forum found in the Discussions area of the course room. An introduction may include your geographic location, your hobbies, your family, or anything else that you would like to share.

    Discussion 1

    Your assignment this week is to read the chapters assigned and add comments on the discussion board relative to the functions of a budget and how these functions are highlighted with each of the three budget formats. That is, after your review of the accountability section in chapter one, describe how accountability, control, and planning can be enhanced in each of the three budget formats. Relate your discussion to the field of criminal justice.

    Homework 1

    Complete the five problems at the end of Chapter 1 (Menifield) by Saturday at 11:59 p.m.

    • Menifield, Chapter 2: Preparation of the Budget Proposal
    • Swain and Reed, Chapter 5: Politics with Public Budgeting
    Discussion 2

    Your assignment this week is to read the two chapters assigned and add comments on the discussion board relative to defending and justifying a budget. More specifically, think about yourself as the manager of a criminal justice institution and how you would go about defending and justifying your budget during a fiscal year when resources are low. Describe the course of action that you would take? Would you use a political budget or a technical budget when making your argument? With either scenario how would you communicate your concerns with the purveyors of your budget? The whole idea of this discussion is to learn other ways to defend and communicate your needs to constituents as well as bureaucrats and politicians.

    Homework 2

    Despite the fact that homework is based on an in class setting, I want you to complete the first stage of the assignment at the end of Chapter 2, pages 52-56 of Menifield and submit your homework like you normally would by 11:59 p.m. on Saturday in the Dropbox. While we will not discuss the assignment in terms of an open dialogue, feel free to ask questions directed to me or in an open forum so that everyone can get the benefit of your question and my response.

    • Menifield, Chapter 3: Preparation of the Budget Proposal
    Discussion 3

    The discussion this week will focus on managing a budget during a time when fiscal resources are low. Specifically, how can you, as a budget manager, cut personnel and operating expenditures without reducing services. For example, one of the main issues with personnel budgets is retirement. That is, departments often find themselves overwhelmed with retirement cost. In sum, contributors to the system have diminished over time despite the fact that costs have risen along with the number of retirees. As a result the amount of funds needed to pay retirees has increased disproportionately to those contributing to the fund. So, describe how or what can be done to repair the system? Opinions are welcomed.

    Homework 3

    Complete the four problems at the end of Chapter 3 pages 75-78 (Menifield) by Saturday at 11:59 p.m.

    • Menifield, Chapter 4: Capital Budgets and Capital Improvement Plans
    Discussion 4

    The discussion this week will focus on question 3 in the homework questions in Chapter four of Menifield. Similar to the previous assignment, agencies are frequently told to cut their budgets. So, I want you to first complete question four early in the week, and then discuss why you chose to fully fund some capital projects while leaving others to be completed at a latter date. There is no wrong answer to this question in terms of what you feel is a critical item. The focus is on justifying your position.

    Homework 4

    Complete problems 1, 2, and 4b step 2 for all departments at the end of Chapter 4 pages 98-105  (Menifield) by Saturday at 11:59 p.m.

    Research Paper topic due

    Submit your approved Research Paper topic, along with an explanatory paragraph, to the Research Paper Topic Dropbox by Saturday at 11:59 p.m.


  • Menifield, Chapter 5: Funding State and Local Budgets
  • Swain and Reed, Chapter 3:  Sources, Characteristics, and Structures of Public Revenues

    Discussion 5

    The budget director is absolutely disgusted with the high cost of housing prisoners, so she has asked you, the budget manager, to come up with alternative methods of generating revenue for the local police department. The discussion this week will focus on your ideas for new revenue streams for the police department. This can include items such as: the sale of a convicted felon’s assets; forcing prisoners to work; and confiscating accumulated retirement funds. You should also think about whether or not your idea will be palatable to decision makers. In this discussion your classmates are the decision makers, so they can react to your ideas and suggestions.

    Homework 5

    Complete the eight problems at the end of Chapter 5 pages 138-144 (Menifield) by Saturday at 11:59 p.m.

    • Menifield, Chapter 6: Budgeting Techniques and Analytical Models
    • Swain and Reed, Chapter 7:  Analysis in Public Budgeting
    • Swain and Reed, Chapter 8:  sections on “Forecasting” and “Handling Resources”
    Discussion 6

    On page 148 of Menifield, there is a brief discussion of the free rider problem. As a budget manager, describe how can you limit problems with free riders? List examples of services that citizens benefit from without paying for the service? To get the discussion moving, think about the problem associated with hiring illegal aliens and paying them in cash. What can you as a budget manager propose to the city council to solve this dilemma? Remember, the ramifications of this problem are not simply limited to income tax collections. What happens if an illegal alien is arrested? Is he or she afforded the same rights as a citizen (ie. Attorney if you cannot afford one)? As you can see, it can explode into a massive undertaking.

    Homework 6

    Complete the six problems at the end of Chapter 6 pages 178-180 (Menifield) by Saturday at 11:59 p.m.

    Course Evaluation
    Please evaluate the course. You will have an opportunity to evaluate the course near the end of the session. A link sent to your CougarMail will allow you to access the evaluation. Please note that these evaluations are provided so that I can improve the course, find out what students perceive to be its strengths and weaknesses, and in general assess the success of the course. Please do take the time to fill this out.
    • Menifield, Chapter 7: Financial Management
    • Swain and Reed, Chapter 8:  section on “Risk”
    Discussion 7

    Since all of you have completed baccalaureate degrees, I am going to assume that you have worked at least one job over the course of your life. As a result, you have witnessed to some extent financial transactions at your place of employment. After reviewing the section on internal and external cash management, think about your job (s) with a view to discussing areas of financial concern. That is, how would/could you improve financial management practices in order to prevent waste, fraud, etc internally or externally? Yes, let’s hear some stories. I am particularly interested in hearing from police officers who often find themselves with fraudulent proposals from potential criminals and those who operate around cash based operations. If you have never worked, you can react to the posting of your classmates in order to satisfy the participation requirement.

    Homework 7

    Complete the four problems at the end of Chapter 7 pages 208-210 (Menifield) by Saturday at 11:59 p.m.

    • Menifield, Chapter 8: Effectively Communicating Data
    Research Paper due

    Submit your Research Paper to the Research Paper Dropbox by Thursday, 11:59 p.m.

    Discussion 8

    We will use this week to wrap up any outstanding issues and primarily talk about best practices in presenting data and creating Power Point presentations. As you are well aware, presentation style is important. So, in addition to what I espouse as best practices what are your ideas on improving presentations? More specifically, do you have any ideas that your classmates may benefit from in their paper?

    Homework 8

    Complete the five problems at the end of Chapter 8 pages 242-244 (Menifield) by Saturday at 11:59 p.m.

      Course Policies

    Student Conduct

    All Columbia College students, whether enrolled in a land-based or online course, are responsible for behaving in a manner consistent with Columbia College's Student Conduct Code and Acceptable Use Policy. Students violating these policies will be referred to the office of Student Affairs and/or the office of Academic Affairs for possible disciplinary action. The Student Code of Conduct and the Computer Use Policy for students can be found in the Columbia College Student Handbook. The Handbook is available online; you can also obtain a copy by calling the Student Affairs office (Campus Life) at 573-875-7400. The teacher maintains the right to manage a positive learning environment, and all students must adhere to the conventions of online etiquette.


    Your grade will be based in large part on the originality of your ideas and your written presentation of these ideas. Presenting the words, ideas, or expression of another in any form as your own is plagiarism. Students who fail to properly give credit for information contained in their written work (papers, journals, exams, etc.) are violating the intellectual property rights of the original author. For proper citation of the original authors, you should reference the appropriate publication manual for your degree program or course (APA, MLA, etc.). Violations are taken seriously in higher education and may result in a failing grade on the assignment, a grade of "F" for the course, or dismissal from the College.

    Collaboration conducted between students without prior permission from the instructor is considered plagiarism and will be treated as such. Spouses and roommates taking the same course should be particularly careful.

    All required papers may be submitted for textual similarity review to Turnitin.com for the detection of plagiarism. All submitted papers may be included in the Turnitin.com reference database for the purpose of detecting plagiarism. This service is subject to the Terms and Conditions of Use posted on the Turnitin.com site.


    There will be no discrimination on the basis of sex, race, color, national origin, sexual orientation, religion, ideology, political affiliation, veteran status, age, physical handicap, or marital status.

    Student Accessibility Resources

    Students with documented disabilities who may need academic services for this course are required to register with the office of Student Accessibility Resources. Until the student has been cleared through this office, accommodations do not have to be granted. If you are a student who has a documented disability, it is important for you to read the entire syllabus as soon as possible. The structure or the content of the course may make an accommodation not feasible. Student Accessibility Resources is located in Student Affairs in AHSC 215 and can be reached by phone at (573) 875-7626 or email at sar@ccis.edu.

    Online Participation

    You are expected to read the assigned texts and participate in the discussions and other course activities each week. Assignments should be posted by the due dates stated on the grading schedule in your syllabus. If an emergency arises that prevents you from participating in class, please let your instructor know as soon as possible.

    Attendance Policy

    Attendance for a week will be counted as having submitted any assigned activity for which points are earned. Attendance for the week is based upon the date work is submitted. A class week is defined as the period of time between Monday and Sunday (except for week 8, when the work and the course will end on Saturday at midnight.) The course and system deadlines are based on the Central Time Zone.

    Cougar Email

    All students are provided a CougarMail account when they enroll in classes at Columbia College. You are responsible for monitoring email from that account for important messages from the College and from your instructor. You may forward your Cougar email account to another account; however, the College cannot be held responsible for breaches in security or service interruptions with other email providers.

    Students should use email for private messages to the instructor and other students. The class discussions are for public messages so the class members can each see what others have to say about any given topic and respond.

    Late Assignment Policy

    An online class requires regular participation and a commitment to your instructor and your classmates to regularly engage in the reading, discussion and writing assignments. Although most of the online communication for this course is asynchronous, you must be able to commit to the schedule of work for the class for the next eight weeks. You must keep up with the schedule of reading and writing to successfully complete the class.

    No late discussion posts will be accepted.

    No other late assignments will be accepted without extenuating circumstances beyond the control of the student and with instructor notification prior to the due date (Columbia College Catalog).

    Course Evaluation

    You will have an opportunity to evaluate the course near the end of the session. A link will be sent to your CougarMail that will allow you to access the evaluation. Be assured that the evaluations are anonymous and that your instructor will not be able to see them until after final grades are submitted.

      Additional Resources

    Orientation for New Students

    This course is offered online, using course management software provided by Desire2Learn and Columbia College. The course user guide provides details about taking an online course at Columbia College. You may also want to visit the course demonstration to view a sample course before this one opens.

    Technical Support

    If you have problems accessing the course or posting your assignments, contact your instructor, the Columbia College Helpdesk, or the D2L Helpdesk for assistance. Contact information is also available within the online course environment.

    Online Tutoring

    Smarthinking is a free online tutoring service available to all Columbia College students. Smarthinking provides real-time online tutoring and homework help for Math, English, and Writing. Smarthinking also provides access to live tutorials in writing and math, as well as a full range of study resources, including writing manuals, sample problems, and study skills manuals. You can access the service from wherever you have a connection to the Internet. I encourage you to take advantage of this free service provided by the college.

    Access Smarthinking through CougarTrack under Students -> Academics -> Academic Resources.