AUTHORS

Heather Kerrigan is the author of GOVERNING's Public Workforce newsletter. Prior to joining GOVERNING in 2006, she worked in the Office of Congressman Ron Kind of Wisconsin. Kerrigan graduated from The George Washington University with a degree in journalism and mass communication.

Heather Kerrigan
December 18, 2014

The State of Public Employment in 2014

A look back at how state and local government workers fared this year in terms of pensions, health care and jobs.
November 20, 2014

Good Ideas Get Government Employees Extra Cash

Most states have employee suggestion programs that financially reward workers for improving services and saving money. Here's how one works.
October 23, 2014

How Denver's Attracting Top Private-Sector Talent from Places Like Chipotle

The city's new hiring approach has inspired many to take big pay cuts to work in government.
September 18, 2014

The 'Simple' Solution to High Employee Health Costs

A first-of-its-kind report finds that the most effective way to reduce public workers' health expenses isn't popular cost-cutting moves like wellness programs, which rarely produce significant savings.
August 21, 2014

Washington Works with Unions Before the Bargaining Table

In an unusual approach to boosting employee engagement, the state is bringing in the unions to solve problems earlier.
July 24, 2014

How Pennsylvania Is Helping New Hires Get to Work Faster

Pennsylvania is saving $1 million a year and getting rid of the lag time when people start new jobs.
June 19, 2014

An Effortless Way to Save for Retirement

After years of cutting public workers' retirement benefits, states are slowly adopting common private-sector practices that automatically enroll employees in savings plans and automatically increase how much people put away each month.
May 22, 2014

Detroit, Chicago Stop Covering Retired Workers' Health Care

After much pushback from unions, big cities like Detroit and Chicago are now making their retired employees get health care on the exchanges or through spouses.
April 17, 2014

Are States Keeping Their Promises for Pay Raises?

In several states, public employees anticipated pay raises this year. But in some states, all they're left with is disappointment.
March 20, 2014

What Can Public Employees Expect in 2014?

More job openings, pay raises and better benefits all appear to be on state and local government managers' minds.
February 12, 2014

Can a Book Club Improve Government?

Imagine spending your lunch break at a book club meeting. That’s what some Baltimore city employees do and it’s inspired changes throughout the city.
January 15, 2014

6 Books Public Employees and Managers Should Read

Entering a leadership role? Want a promotion? Need a better work-life balance? These six books (and one guide) might help.
December 11, 2013

How Did 2013 Treat Public Employees?

The four biggest issues facing government employers and employees this year and how they impacted public servants.
November 13, 2013

More Governments Banning the Criminal History Box from Job Apps

A growing number of state and local governments are doing what most federal agencies already do and eliminating the criminal history box from public-sector job applications.
October 9, 2013

Government on Social Media: How Did Brimfield, Ohio (a Town of 10,000) Get 88,000 Facebook Likes?

The only police department with more Facebook "likes" than Brimfield, Ohio's is New York City's. We interviewed Brimfield's police chief to see how his department got 88,000 people from around the world to care about his community.
September 11, 2013

Public Employers Seek to Soften Impact of Obamacare Fees and Taxes

In the next few years, states and localities will face new fees and taxes on the health plans they offer. One of their biggest challenges may be keeping employees informed even though the feds are leaving them in the dark.
August 14, 2013

What's the Latest in Pension Reform?

We examine proposals still brewing in legislatures, how already-enacted reforms are playing out, and the model based on one of the world's strongest pension systems that a Canadian province is using to keep costs under control.
May 15, 2013

How Tennessee Plans to Solve Its IT Problems

In an effort to keep employees and their skills up to date, the Volunteer State is urging 1,600 IT workers to reapply for their jobs.
April 10, 2013

Washington Targets Veterans for State Employment

As troops begin returning home from Afghanistan, states are looking for ways to reduce veterans' high unemployment rate. Washington state wants to hire them.
April 1, 2013

Financial Advice: Paying for Your MPA & MPP Degree

Payment options abound, but read the fine print first.
March 13, 2013

Wisconsin Reignites the Residency Debate

Should public employees be required to live in the jurisdictions they serve? Gov. Scott Walker doesn't think so.
March 13, 2013

Understanding the Value of the MPA and MPP Degree

What are the benefits to a degree that puts you on a government career track?
February 13, 2013

Early Retirement Incentives Making a Comeback

Several municipalities offered early retirement incentives to public workers last year. What impact such incentives have on budgets and services, however, is up for debate.
January 16, 2013

Smokers Need Not Apply: Government Hiring Bans

Governments argue that no longer hiring smokers would free up some much-needed funds.
December 12, 2012

How Did 2012 Treat Public Employees?

Unions took a blow in Michigan this week. We review how the entire year impacted unions as well as government hiring, pensions and retirement.
November 30, 2012

Government Unprepared for Boomers’ Mass Exodus

The mass exodus of baby boomers from the workforce has been a crisis in the making for years. Yet in many cases the public sector is still not prepared.
November 14, 2012

Public Employee in Need of a Loan? Ask Virginia.

Virginia is likely the only state to offer its employees short-term, low-interest loans for noneducation-related reasons -- and at virtually no cost to the state.
October 10, 2012

Why Public-Sector Strikes Are So Rare

Public employees don't have the right to strike in 39 states. What other options do they have for getting what they want?
September 12, 2012

Albuquerque Teaches and Promotes Public Service

The city-funded "university" prepares public workers for the jobs they want and aims to reverse the sometimes negative view of government.
August 8, 2012

Teleworking in Texas

The Lone Star State's health and human services agencies are looking to boost their virtual workforce, hoping to increase productivity and save money.
July 11, 2012

Testing Employees to Find the Best

Albuquerque, N.M., was chosen as a pilot city to see if assessing job candidates' career readiness could reduce turnover as well as hiring time and training costs.
June 13, 2012

Civil Service Reform: Lessons from Georgia and Indiana

Several states this year are changing how public employees are hired and fired. They may be able to learn a thing or two from states that already have.
May 8, 2012

Civil Service Reform Comes to Tennessee

Gov. Bill Haslam signed legislation to create a personnel environment more akin to the private sector.
April 11, 2012

St. Louis County, Missouri Tackles the Age Gap in Government

Two employees created the St. Louis County Government Young Professionals Group to prepare tomorrow's leaders for today -- and with no budget.
March 30, 2012

Results-Only Work Environment Goes Public Sector

The Results-Only Work Environment, which allows work to be done at nearly anytime and anywhere, has the potential to cut workforce costs and boost morale.
March 14, 2012

Expanding CHIP to Low-Income State Employees

A provision in the Affordable Care Act is allowing a few states to shift dependent children’s health care into the state-federal program.
February 15, 2012

Employees Looking Out for Their Benefits

Employee benefit committees figure out what benefits are most important to employees and assist with benefit negotiations.
January 11, 2012

Can Public-Sector Job Security Be Quantified?

One study says it can't. What impact does job security have in evaluating public-sector compensation?
December 14, 2011

Moving Toward Integrated Paid Time Off Programs

PTO programs can be one way to provide employees with adequate leave while cutting down on absenteeism and costs.
November 9, 2011

Keeping Morale Up When Collective Bargaining Is At Risk

How does the rhetoric and politics around initiatives like Ohio's Issue 2 affect the morale of public employees?
October 12, 2011

ROWE Rollout Successes and Challenges

Now that Hennepin County, Minn.'s health department is now fully implementing ROWE principles, their manager aiming to be more inclusive and efficient.
September 14, 2011

Expert Interviews Instead of Exit Interviews

A Colorado utilities department is conducting written and video exit interviews with current staffers now so their future replacements know who to work with and how to do the job.
August 10, 2011

Managing Your Future, Your Boss and Your Future Boss

This past July, young public employees and their experienced colleagues congregated to share tips on how to advance their government careers.
July 29, 2011

Fighting to Save the MPA

Some publicly funded universities may eliminate their Master of Public Administration programs, but schools are getting creative to avoid that.
July 13, 2011

Utah's Demise of the Four-Day Workweek

The governor's office and the legislature disagreed on how productive fewer days and longer hours were, ultimately bringing back the five-day workweek.
June 30, 2011

Changing the Way Citizens View Their City

Before Baltimore could help its most at-risk populations, it first had to make them see public services in a positive light.
June 15, 2011

A Cross-Training Rundown

A look at the most prevalent uses of cross training in today's public workforce.
May 11, 2011

Improving Public Employees' Financial Literacy

Concerns about public employee confusion over financial options led North Carolina Treasurer Janet Cowell to rethink how her department shapes and shares personal finance info.
April 29, 2011

Data-Driven Policing

With little or no additional funding, geomapping can help law enforcement fight crime while lowering traffic incidents.
April 13, 2011

Being Proactive on Workers' Compensation Claims

Washington state’s Department of Transportation’s Return to Work Unit focuses on completing claims and getting the employee healed and back to work.
March 31, 2011

Making Performance a Priority in Georgia

Performance measurement isn't a once-a-year event -- it's an ongoing process.
March 9, 2011

Developing Policies for Responsible Social Media Use

Having a social media policy can ensure that government employees utilize social media as a tool and not a distraction.
March 1, 2011

Library Shutdown in Camden, N.J.

Times are tough for libraries. To keep the doors open, one city is turning its operations over to the county.
February 9, 2011

Getting Public Employees More Active in Their Health

States and cities create preventative programs in an effort to keep health insurance costs down. Are employees more likely to get involved when enticed or prodded?
February 1, 2011

Chicago's Police Misconduct Cases Go to Court

To cut costs and save face, all of Chicago's police misconduct cases are going to trial instead of settling out of court.
January 12, 2011

Encouraging and Implementing Employees' Ideas

An employee feedback program helps demonstrate that management is paying attention to what employees have to share.
January 1, 2011

A Paradigm Shift on First-Time Drunk Drivers

Illinois is among a handful of states expanding their in-vehicle alcohol-sensor laws to include first-time DUI offenders.
December 15, 2010

Kentucky Employees Learn Spanish for their Jobs

Voluntary Spanish classes are a way for employees to provide better service to a growing Hispanic population.
December 1, 2010

One Florida County Keeps Foreclosure-Stricken Neighborhoods Afloat

Miami-Dade County is keeping its neighborhoods fit despite the default-mortgage mess.
November 10, 2010

Balancing Work and Professional Development

A graduate of Boulder County's intense Leadership Academy shares how she strengthened her leadership skills and network, while juggling work and family.
October 13, 2010

Preparing Boulder County Employees To Lead

The county's selective and intensive leadership academy results in a alumni pool that is ready to tackle challenges if and when leaders decide to retire.
October 1, 2010

Moving Vets Off Medicaid and Onto VA

A nearly two decades-old reporting system designed to prevent benefit fraud is helping cash-strapped states save millions -- but not in the way originally intended.

HR Professionals as Michigan's Allies

One Michigan official wants to gather public and private human resource professionals at least once a year to help strengthen the state's workforce.

Pension Inequalities

New state pension rules affect everyone but they depend on where you work, when you started work and if you were elected.
July 30, 2010

Pension Preparedness

When it comes to retirement systems, levels of funding and liability are all over the map.
July 30, 2010

The Minnesota-Wisconsin Partnership

The 'Minnesconsin' adventure may not always be easy, but the two states have found that collaboration is cost-effective.

Tips for the Next Generation of Government

A recent summit provided early career professionals with ideas and advice on how to work well in government.
June 30, 2010

Work-Share, Save Jobs

Businesses are partnering with states to retain workers.

Lonely at the Conference Table

A young leader in Montana tells about how he advanced so quickly in state government. His keys to success? Time, luck, hard work, risk taking, and being well-dressed.
May 12, 2010

Managing Young Leaders

West Virginia Cabinet Secretary Robert Ferguson tells us how he has sought out, cultivated and kept talented young leaders.

Managing Young Leaders

West Virginia Cabinet Secretary Robert Ferguson tells how he has sought out, cultivated and kept talented young leaders.
May 1, 2010

Nullifying the Feds

Even before President Barack Obama signed health-care reform into law, two states had already taken steps to invalidate it. In Utah, lawmakers proposed a measure...

From Intern to Top Officer

In 2005, Tim Abraham started as an intern in West Virginia government. Five years later, he is now a top-level official.
March 10, 2010

Implementing Performance Measures

MoDOT's Pete Rahn used performance measures to create a more open and honest working environment.

Hennepin County's ROWE Results

Hennepin County, Minnesota's telework manager shares how she worked with employees, managers and unions to implement a results-based work environment.
January 13, 2010

ROWE Against the Tide

One Minnesota department is letting employees create their own work environment, as long as they achieve results.

Facing Furloughs First-Hand

Even executives, like California's CIO, experience the frustrations of working while facing furloughs.

More on Gen Y in Government

Three officials shared a few more comments on how to attract and integrate young leaders into government.

Gen Y in the Workplace

Young leaders and their managers speak about what attracts younger people to government, and what is needed to keep them in government.

How Four-Day Weeks Work

One researcher is conducting nationwide surveys to determine the best ways to implement this type of schedule.

Clogs in the Brain Drain

It seems like only yesterday that states and localities were frantically planning for a mass exodus of experienced workers. But that exodus has slowed, to both positive and negative effects.
July 1, 2007

Officer Eco-Friendly: Wisconsin Will Certify Green Tourist Sites

With its 15,000 lakes, 25,000 miles of waterways and many geological wonders, Wisconsin is working to promote eco-friendly tourism by creating "Travel Green Wisconsin," a business certification program.
November 1, 2006

Up in Smoke

St. Lucie County, Florida, will be making the most of its trash. Geoplasma, an Atlanta-based waste processing company, is set to invest $425 million to build a plant that will vaporize garbage using temperatures hotter than the sun.
November 1, 2006

Smog Hogs: Two Ports Plan to Clear their Bad Air

Two of California's major ports--Long Beach and Los Angeles--are set to embark on a two-year, $1.2 million pilot program to test hybrid yard tractors.
May 1, 2006

"Turn in Your Cell Phone"

Westchester County puts the recycling burden on consumers
April 1, 2006

Building Bridges in China

Local recycling programs are close to turning a profit on scrap metal shipped to Asia.