Reading these two articles together this morning it’s clear that state takeovers of local government functions don’t always result in better management for the obvious reason that the state’s grifters, ideologues, and idiots are frequently no more virtuous, intelligent, or non-partisan than the local grifters, ideologues, and idiots whose authority they’re sent in to supplant.
This is why political institutions matter. Assuming grifters, ideologues, and idiots are going to be the default choices for elected office and leadership positions in government, you need to design your political institutions in such a way that flawed people have sufficient incentives (positive and negative) to produce good outcomes for the public anyway.
Budget data transparency, party competition, a public finance floor for political campaigns, pay-for-performance. All imperfect ways to hold public servants accountable, but all substantially better than the alternatives because they tilt the game against the worst grifters, ideologues, and idiots.