AUTHORS

Jonathan Walters -- Senior Editor. Jonathan has covered state and local government for more than 30 years, including for publications ranging from The Washington Post to USA Today. His beats include public sector management and administration, with an emphasis on results-based government. He also covers human services-related topics, and does a monthly e-newsletter on human services. He is author of three books, two on performance measurement in the public sector and one on public sector press relations. He started with GOVERNING in 1989 as a staff correspondent, and now serves as the magazine's executive editor. Walters lives in Columbia County, New York, where he serves as chairman of his local planning board. He is also a Class A interior attack qualified firefighter, and serves as president of his local volunteer fire company. 

December 9, 2014

The Feds Introduce a Program for Disconnected Youth

The federal government is seeking to partner with states and localities to help the more than 5 million young adults out of school and work.
November 11, 2014

Delaware Revamps Family Services

The division avoided a top-down approach and let front-line workers help shape the overhaul.
October 14, 2014

Cuts to Child Welfare Force States to Spend Smarter

Several states are piloting programs to develop cost-effective strategies in helping disconnected youth.
September 9, 2014

A New Direction in the War on Poverty

Wisconsin GOP Rep. Paul Ryan's antipoverty plan may be worth considering.
August 12, 2014

Young and Old Find Common Ground in Oregon Housing Community

At Bridge Meadows, a special housing development in Portland, troubled foster children and elders live side by side.
August 1, 2014

Pushing the Community Reinvestment Act into Uncharted Territory

A handful of communities are putting CRA funds toward more than just housing projects.
July 15, 2014

Affordable Housing Leads to Smarter Kids

A new study finds a link between how much families spend on housing and children's intellectual ability.
July 1, 2014

Governments Struggling to Get Social Media Right

Social media is the ultimate government transparency, which is why public officials need to not only get used to it but also get good at it. Here’s how.
June 10, 2014

Ohio's Bad Idea for Boosting Welfare-to-Work

Without any thought to unintended consequences, Ohio legislators have created a damaging pay-for-performance welfare-to-work program.
May 13, 2014

The Toughest Job in Government

Even when improving the lives of others, the people running departments of children and families can’t escape controversy.
May 1, 2014

How Britain's Getting Public Policy Down to a Science

Britain has a bold yet simple plan to do something few U.S. governments do: test the effectiveness of multiple policies before rolling them out. But are American lawmakers willing to listen to facts more than money or politics?
April 28, 2014

Richard Ravitch: How Budgets Really Work

The former New York lieutenant governor has 50 years of budget experience. Here's how it really works.
April 8, 2014

What's It Like to Work at the Department of Children's Services?

Tennessee asked caseworkers this and more in what is believed to be the nation's first survey of state child protection workers.
April 1, 2014

Renewable Energy Requirements Get a Second Wind

Conservatives were out in force last year trying to roll back requirements for some states to use alternative energy. They failed. Does that mean attitudes on green power are changing?
March 11, 2014

A ‘Wraparound’ System of Care for Schools

Several school systems are implementing so-called wraparound programs in an effort to help troubled kids, families and communities.
February 11, 2014

The Importance of Reinvesting Savings in Preventative Programs

Too often, governments simply take savings from successful human services programs and inject them into the general fund. But that's a dangerous practice.
February 1, 2014

States Reinvest in Once-Abandoned Freight Lines

In the past year, several states have either created or rekindled grant programs dedicated to improving freight service.
January 14, 2014

Pay for Success Programs Will be Front and Center in 2014

Human services departments are looking for new and creative ways to fund programs.
November 13, 2013

Coordinating Foster Care Across the 3 Branches of Government

A new initiative in about a dozen states plans to improve the coordination of child services between the administrative, legislative and judicial branches.
October 8, 2013

Are We Overmedicating Foster Care Children?

A new GAO report finds that states don't do a particularly effective job of monitoring kids on psychotropic meds.
September 10, 2013

Welfare's Not a Work Issue, It's a Wage Issue

A new conservative report claims welfare benefits disincentivizes people to work. Federal data, however, suggests that's not the case.
September 1, 2013

New York Offers Volunteer Firefighters a Place to Retire

Since 1895, the Firemen’s Association of the State of New York has operated a home for volunteer firefighters. It’s the only home of its kind in the country.
August 13, 2013

Agencies Taking a Second Look at Kinship Care

In many children and families agencies, placing foster care children with their relatives was previously taboo.
August 1, 2013

Why Critics of State and Federal Workplace Safety Systems Might be Right

The fatal explosion earlier this year at a Texas fertilizer plant that hadn’t been inspected since 1985 brought attention to the nation’s dysfunctional and ineffective system of keeping employees -- both in the public and private sectors -- safe.
July 16, 2013

Is Jailing Deadbeat Dads Effective?

A new trend in the human services field suggests it isn't. Instead of punishing noncustodial parents, officials are trying to help them find and keep jobs.
June 11, 2013

When Child Services and the Media Work Together

The Colorado Department of Human Services and The Denver Post prove that the relationship between government and media doesn't have to be adversarial.
May 14, 2013

Blunting the Politics of Public Assistance

An initiative in six states seeks to stabilize the health and well-being of low-income families.
April 11, 2013

Social Services: How to Get Out from Under Federal Oversight

Children and family services agencies under federal oversight need to focus on what's best for families and kids -- not just on what's mandated.
March 29, 2013

Flood-Prone Cities Try Disaster Planning on Their Own

Some places aren’t waiting for another Sandy. They're taking matters into their own hands. But what’s best for one city may not be best for the region.
February 28, 2013

Management Fads That Make a Difference

New management tools are a dime a dozen and often just old strategies with fancy new names. But a few do make measurable differences.
February 14, 2013

How Health Reform Could Improve Outcomes in Child Welfare

If human services officials want to take advantage of the Affordable Care Act, they need to get involved in its implementation now.
January 29, 2013

New York Gov. Cuomo's Pension Proposal Puzzling

Gov. Andrew Cuomo's proposal to let municipalities short their pension payments for the next quarter century uses fuzzy math, writes Governing's Jonathan Walters.
January 15, 2013

Measuring Developmental Disabilities Services' Success

The National Core Indicators project helps states target human services spending to practices that work.
December 28, 2012

Poverty Among Seniors Getting Harder to Ignore

The gap between what seniors need to live on versus what they have might land squarely on state and local governments.
December 11, 2012

Social Services’ Challenge of Sharing Data

It takes leadership to implement the type of IT systems that would make human services more efficient and effective.
November 13, 2012

Performance-Based Contracting Comes to Human Services

After years of avoiding it, human services professionals are starting to get hard-nosed about where they invest.
October 9, 2012

The Politics of Children and Family Services

A toxic election cycle in Indiana has ended in the resignation of the state's director of children services.
September 28, 2012

Boomers Want Control of Their End-of-Life Care

A state-level movement has evolved to give terminally ill patients more say in what medicine and medical procedures they want during their final days. View our special series on aging in America at governing.com/generations.
September 11, 2012

Social Services in an Emergency

Two New York state social services directors found a way to help clients even in the midst of a natural disaster.
August 31, 2012

Are Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports Useless?

For all their charts and graphs, CAFRs don’t tell public officials -- or the public -- anything about fiscal sustainability or whether a locality’s finances might be trending south.
August 14, 2012

A Team Approach to Child Services

The decision of where to place a child should be made by everyone in that child's support system.
July 31, 2012

4 Health and Human Services Officials Worth Watching

Administering services to vulnerable populations is hard work. But tough public-sector jobs have a way of attracting top talent.
July 10, 2012

Human Services Gets Its Advocacy Group Back

New leadership and energy at the American Public Human Services Association promises to deliver much-need support and expertise.
June 12, 2012

Are States, Cities Ready for a Wave of Veterans?

Human services officials have a lot of work to do to prepare for the return of war vets from Iraq and Afghanistan.
May 9, 2012

Helping Foster Kids Transition to Adulthood

A much-needed study will evaluate the merits of transitional living programs.
April 10, 2012

Cooperative Federalism Meets Human Services

A better relationship between the feds, states and localities equals better outcomes.
March 30, 2012

Are Cities' Pledges to End Homelessness Working?

Though the number of homeless has increased since numerous pledges were made in the early 2000s to end it, some progress has been made on the nation's understanding of the phenomenon.
March 13, 2012

Should Welfare Recipients Be Drug Tested?

While sensible arguments in favor of it can be made, they ultimately don't hold up to scrutiny.
February 14, 2012

Getting Food Stamps

The lack of research on participation rates make it hard to find best practices.
January 31, 2012

Old Architecture Buildings Pit Preservation vs. Progress

A new generation of old structures is raising fresh questions about the rehabbing of architectural gems.
January 10, 2012

Making Data on Kids Count

What does the data collected by children and family advocates tell us about where to invest in kids?
December 13, 2011

Judicious Reform

Three veteran judges are tacking big reforms at children and family services departments in three states.
November 8, 2011

Human Services by the Batch

Task-based processing systems, instead of traditional case management, could help human services offices process claims faster.
October 11, 2011

Budget Cuts Hit Talented Social Services Team

Crucial staff and money-saving strategies that have helped kids in jeopardy have been -- or are in danger of being -- eliminated.
September 13, 2011

TANF at 15

On its anniversary and coming off another bad jobs report, a review of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program is needed now more than ever.
August 31, 2011

Policing in the Post-9/11 Era

In America’s largest Arab community, police are pioneering a new way to fight terrorism by strengthening neighborhood ties. Plus, more 9/11 coverage.
August 31, 2011

The Price of Medical Illiteracy

Not understanding what doctors say is costly for patients' health and for health care itself.
August 9, 2011

Human Services Meets Capitalism

One state is hoping investors will happily plop down money for social service programs.
July 12, 2011

Underinvesting in Children

Cuts targeting poverty-fighting programs will come back to haunt us.
June 30, 2011

Rewriting State Retirement Plans

States are putting limits on their pension plans and retiree benefits, usually calling for employees to pay more toward their future.
June 14, 2011

'Catalytic' Change

An experiment by Annie E. Casey Foundation staff in children and family services agencies is improving these organization's performance.
May 10, 2011

The Human Services IT Opportunity

The health-care reform bill is full of very scary news -- and great opportunities -- for states and localities.
April 29, 2011

Nonprofits Seek Relief and Support from States

Nonprofits deliver crucial health and human services to the most vulnerable populations, but state budget constraints are endangering their operations.
April 12, 2011

Punishing Social Workers

When a child is hurt, punishment seems to be the go-to response. But pursuing that direction has serious consequences.
March 31, 2011

Implementing Electronic Health Records in Doctors' Offices

For e-health records to work, physicians need to be brought online.
March 8, 2011

Auditing Health and Human Services

As state and local human services departments pinch pennies, they'll also be looking to cinch fraud.
February 28, 2011

Peer Assistance Review Helps Teachers in Toledo

When it comes to easing inept teachers out of the classroom, Toledo has been charting the way.
February 28, 2011

Peer Assistance Review Helps Teachers in Toledo

When it comes to easing inept teachers out of the classroom, Toledo has been charting the way.
February 9, 2011

Establishing a True 'No Wrong Door' Approach to Human Services

To reach all their clients, state human services officials say technology and less rules and regulations are key.
February 1, 2011

Are State Efficiency Commissions Effective?

Why are some state efficiency commissions helpful in streamlining government and others an expensive waste of time?
January 11, 2011

Investing in Families Using Data

The smartest investment a state can make is in its children and families. The best way to do that is through results-based government.
January 10, 2011

Firefighting Through a Performance Management Lens

Executive Editor Jonathan Walters sheds light onto how he approached his January feature on cuts to fire departments as journalist and as a volunteer firefighter.
January 1, 2011

Firefighters Feel the Squeeze of Shrinking Budgets

In small and large cities alike, firefighters have gone from heroes to budget bait.
January 1, 2011

4 Ways to Rethink the Firefighting Game

Former president of the International Association of Fire Chiefs Jeff Johnson shares his thoughts on the firefighting game.
December 14, 2010

Back to School: Performance Measurement Workshops

There is value in all-day workshops beyond tuning up one's performance measurement game. Worshops offer a rare opportunity for those in the human services business to rub elbows and compare notes.
November 9, 2010

Registering the Homeless

Once a system starts getting to know more about its homeless population, it's much easier to develop targeted, strategic interventions.
November 1, 2010

Maintaining Political Balance Through Redistricting

Bringing truth, light and perhaps even fairness to redistricting.
October 12, 2010

Poverty's New Population

Within the past year, the struggling middle class has given in and applied for everything from food stamps, to energy assistance, to help paying rent.
October 1, 2010

The Politics Behind Not Levying Personal Income Taxes

In the nine states that don’t levy a personal income tax, the politics of staying that course remains powerful.

Human Services and the Media

It may be difficult but human services departments should be doggedly trying to establish relationships with editors, reporters and bloggers.
September 1, 2010

Beating Poverty With Cash Incentives

A new way to help the poor become self-sufficient raises hackles at both ends of the political spectrum -- and questions about effectiveness.
September 1, 2010

Impressive Outcomes from Mexico’s Cash-to-Poor-Families Program

According to the Oportunidades' website, direct cash payments to Mexican families and children had significant and positive affects as shown in these interim outcome measures.
September 1, 2010

The Oakland Project: Paying-the-Poor Program Relies on Self-Sufficiency

One of the newest entrants in the CCT sweepstakes is the Family Independence Initiative (FII), which is currently operating in Oakland, Calif., San Francisco and Hawaii, and is starting a fourth pilot in Boston.

Economy Down, Need Up

When the economy is down and government funds are scarce, the need for assistance often goes up. Rainy day funds and increased efficiencies could help provide more when some have less.
July 30, 2010

FEMA: Making a Comeback

An invigorated FEMA is on the comeback trail. Do the federal agency's local partners see any progress?

Asking for Help in the Wake of Disaster

Down hundreds of staff members post-Katrina, the Louisiana Office of Community Services could have tapped a little known agreement outside emergency management circles for help.
June 30, 2010

Gutting the Clean Water Act

Wetlands can protect cities from floods, but it's no longer clear which wetlands the Act protects.

Minnesota's Two-Way Street

The state's counties are unanimous: If the state simplifies social services rules and regulations, counties will redesign its systems to be more efficient.
June 1, 2010

Computing Performance

More governments are turning to technology to help them budget and manage for results.

Disruptive Innovators

To take on the status quo in social services and education, people must be behind the innovative steps outlined in a new book.
May 1, 2010

Preventing Government PR Disasters

Agencies caught in the eye of a scandal need a pre-plan for defusing the storm of media attention.

When It All Goes Wrong

It's typical for child welfare officials to suddenly change course when tragedy strikes, but quick fixes come with a price.
March 31, 2010

Policing the Police

Though troubling, the recently leaked video of a Springfield, Mass., police officer beating an apparently helpless suspect with a metal flashlight while three other officers...

The Right Way to Fight Fraud

Health care fraud costs Americans $100 billion a year, but fighting it is a tricky proposition.
March 1, 2010

Using Performance to Deliver Promises

Call it the great intergovernmental camera caper. Although it might not have involved millions of dollars in spending, it did illustrate the sometimes absurd consequences...

The Transformative Power of Comparison

Performance measurement shouldn't be used to punish one group and celebrate another, but to improve everyone's performance.

Accountability Comes to Human Services

After years of resistance, evidence-based practices have arrived in the health and human services communities.
December 8, 2009

When Privatization Becomes a Problem

Indiana had to cut its 10-year welfare-privatization contract short, showing that there is no silver-bullet for improving human services.

A New Kind of 'Customer' for Social Services

They will be taking a much more active role and managing their own services, thinks one expert.
October 31, 2009

Performance Auditing: Beyond 'Gotcha!'

It's been about five years since Washington State Auditor Brian Sonntag announced the launch of his ambitious effort to bring a new style of performance...

In Louisiana, Hope for At-Risk Kids

The 49th-ranked state has a long way to go. But there are hopeful signs.
September 30, 2009

Hydrofracking for Natural Gas - Worth the Risk?

Learn why hydrofracking is important to Russia and the Middle East for accessing reserves of natural gas a mile-deep.
September 30, 2009

For Unions, Tough Bargaining Times

This summer, St. Petersburg, Florida, Mayor Rick Baker declared a fiscal emergency. He wanted to reopen a union contract and put the brakes on scheduled 2010...

Welfare: Accountability vs. Flexibility

As Congress fashions a new law, will it address a badly skewed federal-state relationship?
August 31, 2009

Lean Legacy

The deal seemed too good to pass up or to ever undo: Iowa would create "charter agencies" and give them unprecedented freedom and flexibility to...

Reforming in a Whirlwind

A new book on how a troubled agency was turned around is a testimony to perseverance and determination.
July 31, 2009

Iowa's Lean Initiatives

While charter agencies may have disappeared in Iowa, the spirit of charters lives on in the state's "lean" initiative. According to John Baldwin, head of...
May 31, 2009

Investing in Outcomes

While pondering how to help people recovering from a mental illness, Elise Sanford, a photographer and mental health advocate in Athens, Ohio, had a hunch:...
May 31, 2009

'Creaming' Clients

There is a consistent concern with performance-based contracting in education, physical and mental health, and social services: Providers will want to sign up only those...
April 30, 2009

Risky Business

In 2006, Georgia's information technology systems were a borderline mess. No one was a harsher critic than the man in charge of them. "Our business model...
March 31, 2009

O Citizen, Where Art Thou?

Bev Stein remembers with dismay the public budget hearing that marked her debut as the chief elected executive in Multnomah County, Oregon. Although it happened...
January 31, 2009

The Millennial in the Cubicle

It takes a single-minded sense of purpose for a government worker to rack up 349,170 Web-site visits during work hours over five months. That sense of...
November 30, 2008

Novices with the Numbers

In his first job out of graduate school, Will Barnow practices performance measurement every day. Barnow works in the Maricopa County Office of Justice Systems...

Responding to Child Abuse

In 2002, North Carolina's Department of Health and Human Services overhauled its policies and practices to find new ways of responding to child-neglect reports, and five years later, those changes appear to be paying off in Durham County.

FEMA Falls into Array

We haven't heard a lot about botched disaster response this year. There's a reason for that.
September 30, 2008

Stat Governor

Martin O'Malley, the governor of Maryland, thought his question was reasonably straightforward. He was meeting with state parole and probation managers, and O'Malley wanted to...

Water Wars and Peace

The Great Lakes states and provinces sign on to protect their greatest resource -- and need only a rubber stamp from the feds.
August 31, 2008

Turning the Lottery Loose

With Virginia struggling to pay for such pressing priorities as transportation and education and the legislature exhibiting its traditional lack of appetite for raising taxes,...

Real ID and Reality

States can fume about the federal identification law -- or they can find ways to cope with it.
May 31, 2008

Focusing on Accountability

By the time Atlanta Mayor Bill Campbell left office in 2000 -- riding a bribery and tax-evasion scandal out the door and into federal prison --...

Transportation Tug-of-War

The nation's roads and bridges urgently need attention. The question is who can best provide it.
April 30, 2008

A Tower of Tiers

Starting next July, public employees hired in the state of Kansas will be second-class citizens, in a way. They will have to pay more into...
March 31, 2008

Benchmarking Livability

When Oregon launched its statewide performance measurement initiative called "Oregon Benchmarks" back in 1989, the whole effort took a considerable amount of explaining. At the time,...

Energy Land Grab

The feds want to run utility corridors right through state and local turf -- without asking permission.
January 31, 2008

Is Welfare Working?

Twelve years ago, Bill Clinton and the U.S. Congress ended "welfare as we know it." Gone was the idea of an open-ended entitlement for...

Subprime Performance

It's not that someone was asleep at the switch on mortgage lending. It's that everyone was.
November 1, 2007

Negotiator-In-Chief

To say that Christine Gregoire's start as governor of Washington was inauspicious would be an understatement. After an apparent 130-vote win in November 2004, the election was marred by multiple recounts and a lawsuit. When the Democratic majority in the legislature moved to certify her election, Republicans mustered on the front lawn of the statehouse chanting, "Revote! Revote!"

Delayed Conversation

The feds don't spend much time hashing out mutual problems with states and localities. It's time they started.
October 1, 2007

Visual Effects

Using graphics to present performance data can help make the case for policy or budget changes.
September 30, 2007

Getting the Public's Attention

When it comes to public-sector performance measures, collecting and verifying data are hard enough. Then comes the challenge of trying to actually get the attention...

Privatizers' Predicament

States face a Congress increasingly hostile to outsourcing.
August 31, 2007

The Struggle to Streamline

Texas' first foray into a high-profile streamlining of social and health services delivery paid off impressively: In 1993, the Lone Star state won an Innovations in...
August 1, 2007

Clear Connection

A high-tech partnership is driving down crime in Chicago.
July 31, 2007

Data on the Beat

You get lied to a lot out there," says Brian Joseph Tierney, a burly beat cop with the Chicago Police Department. Tierney is referring to...
July 1, 2007

The Fine Art of Reporting Results

A growing number of localities are experimenting with alternatives to annual financial reports to inform citizens about government performance.

Pills of Protest

High drug prices are pushing some states to take radical action.

Bordering on Disaster

A national immigration policy requires a level of collaboration that none of the major players is willing to risk.
May 31, 2007

Dollars and Results

In the late 1990s, as an alderman in Somerville, Massachusetts, Joseph Curtatone was perpetually frustrated by the budgets his local legislature was supposed to be...

Watered-Down TEA

This is supposed to be the era of enlightened federal transportation policy. Sometimes you have to wonder.
April 30, 2007

The Disability Dilemma

When it comes to the growing costs of government, one thing particularly rankles Dean Rich, the finance director for O'Fallon, Illinois: two police officers claiming...
March 31, 2007

Citizen Surveys

With the city of Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, facing a quarter of a million dollar revenue shortfall, as well as a continuing and contentious political dispute...

SCHIP and Beyond

The children's health program is a model for what broader health care initiatives ought to look like.
February 28, 2007

Courting Talent

Last year, the City of Boston needed help, and a lot of it. Its top management team was suddenly full of holes. In the space...
January 31, 2007

Paying for Promises

Call it the six stages of GASB 45: anger, denial, sorrow, acceptance, study and action. That's been the general response to a new set of governmental...

Minimum Impact

A $7.25 minimum wage means a lot politically. It just doesn't mean much economically.
November 1, 2006

Across-The-Board Innovator

No issue is beyond his realm of interest.
November 1, 2006

Troubled Waters

Offshore oil drilling sounds like a bonanza to some state interests-- and a nightmare to others.
October 1, 2006

Scrutiny by the People

Washington State is making a big push to get citizens more involved in the performance auditing process.
September 30, 2006

Auditing Performance

In the ongoing debate over which came first, government opacity or citizen apathy, there are two basic schools of thought: One side argues that citizens...

Fiscal Candor

A new report tells governments something they need to know--but would rather not hear.
July 31, 2006

Reporting Results

In Rich Siegel's view, there isn't a more over-rated document in state and local government than the comprehensive annual financial report -- "CAFR" in public...

Bordering on Disaster

A national immigration policy requires a level of collaboration that none of the major players is willing to risk.
June 1, 2006

Solidarity Forgotten

What started as a rift in the AFL-CIO has intensified into a fervent contest between the public employee unions over new recruits.
June 1, 2006

Rivals with a Cause

Comparing local government practices and performance among neighboring communities is rare but rewarding.
May 31, 2006

Benchmarking

In the late 1990s, Hickory, North Carolina, was flunking Pothole Patching 101. "Pothole patching is a big deal to citizens," says Karen Hurley, a city budget...

Tax-Break Tango

The fight over public subsidies to corporations is nearing a crucial decision in the U.S. Supreme Court.
April 1, 2006

Toil and Trouble

Illegal immigrants working as day laborers present one of the toughest, most divisive issues to land on local government's doorstep in recent years.
April 1, 2006

Tracking Team

When citizens take to the streets, they learn more than just where problems are; they learn whose job it is to fix them.
March 31, 2006

Neighborhood Eyes and Ears

If the physical condition of a neighborhood is a significant indicator of its overall health, then few cities in the country are taking the measure...
March 1, 2006

Rational Readiness

An effective anti-terrorism program demands tough decisions about where to spend the money.

Stressed Responders

Federal disaster money doesn't help much unless governments get together on how to use it.
December 1, 2005

The Katrina Breakdown

Coordination and communication problems between levels of government must be addressed before the next disaster strikes.
November 1, 2005

Thomas Frieden, MD

Data-Driven Doc.
November 1, 2005

Jerry Luke LeBlanc

Performance Artist.

Thompson's Warning

The former secretary of Health and Human Services offers a bleak and blunt assessment of federal policy.
October 1, 2005

Fraud Squad

Appointing inspectors general to probe reports of wrongdoing is politically popular. And some IGs are becoming very powerful.

Whose Guard Is It, Anyway?

The part-time soldiers fighting for the Pentagon overseas have work to do at home.
July 1, 2005

Open Season on Middle Managers

In the latest round of budget cuts, mid-level managers are considered the easiest and most defenseless target.

Licensing Trouble

Under a new federal law, state DMVs will be forced into the role of immigration police.
May 1, 2005

Law of the Land

Voters' challenge to Oregon's stringent land use controls may signal a major shift in the property rights debate nationwide.

Tired of Tin-Cup Politics

A new group of urban leaders wants a strategy based on success, not on pleading for help.

Good Deed, Punished

A noble notion to limit state contractors from contributing to political campaigns put New Jersey crosswise with the feds.

The Pain Principle

When state legislators move up to the U.S. Congress, they seem to forget their roots.
December 1, 2004

Skewed Results

Performance measurement has become a powerful tool for some government agencies. For others, it's been useless.
November 1, 2004

House of Loopholes

The more tax cuts Congress passes, the more trouble states and localities will have making ends meet.
October 1, 2004

To Take or Not To Take

A Michigan court ruling on eminent domain has national implications.
September 1, 2004

Preempting Washington

State regulators need to work together if they want to keep the feds from moving in on them.
July 1, 2004

Modest Mandate Relief

The federal anti-mandate law is almost 10 years old. It hasn't worked any miracles, but it hasn't been a total loss, either.
July 1, 2004

Worth the Money?

The competition for top talent is producing a cadre of highly paid public executives.
May 1, 2004

On the Brink of Brac

Cutting back on military bases makes economic sense--unless you happen to live near one.
May 1, 2004

Going Outside

The push to privatize is expanding beyond service delivery into the areas of policy making and program design.
March 1, 2004

Uncivil Disunion

States Won't Find It Easy To Resolve The Gay Marriage Issue. The Federal Government Could Make The Task Even Harder.
January 1, 2004

Miami Inc.

Infamous for living 'la vida loca,' Miami now answers to a business beat.
January 1, 2004

Gone With the Windfall

States are finally getting their federal care package. Local governments would like to see some of it.
November 1, 2003

Road Blocks

In hard times, good sense should prevail. But that's not what's happening with the re-crafting of transportation policy.
September 1, 2003

Block That Grant

The White House can't wait to sell off federal programs. The states might want to look before buying.
July 1, 2003

Who's Afraid of The DMV?

For most people, motor vehicle offices are the face of government. It's not a pretty face.
July 1, 2003

Feds Bearing Gifts

Lobbying Washington for state and local budget aid isn't the gentlest game in the world.
May 1, 2003

Civil Service Tsunami

Florida's radical overhaul of its personnel system is making big political waves.
May 1, 2003

Busted By The Feds

The Justice Department spends a lot of money tracking down state and local corruption. Is that necessary? Unfortunately, yes.
January 1, 2003

Fear of Fingerprinting

There's a form of gun regulation that could save thousands of lives a year. If we weren't so paranoid, we'd adopt it.
November 1, 2002

Faith and Innovation

The mixture of religion and social service worries a lot of people. But is it really a problem?
September 1, 2002

Leaving It to the Court

More and more issues of federalism are ending up in the Supreme Court. There's a reason for that.
August 1, 2002

Capital Gains

The District of Columbia, once the nation's poster child for managerial incompetence, is staging a comeback.
July 1, 2002

Railroad Realism

It will take more than platitudes to save Amtrak. But good ideas are out there.
May 1, 2002

A Lesson in Brown

The feds have learned what to do with polluted industrial sites. States and cities taught them.
May 1, 2002

Guide to Transportation Spending: Signs of the TEA Generation

ISTEA and TEA-21 were designed to overhaul state highway habits and refocus spending. Is that what's happening?
March 1, 2002

The Snoozing Watchdogs

States have done better on a whole lot of fronts in recent years. Corporate regulation isn't one of them.
March 1, 2002

The Flip Side of Welfare Reform

We've gotten people off the rolls. But we aren't paying most of them enough to live on.
January 1, 2002

Managing Performance: Leadership's Challenge

When it comes to governing in the United States, "there is more that unites us than divides us," declared Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley, as he welcomed more than 350 high-level local and state officials to Governing's annual management conference, held in Baltimore October 10-12.
January 1, 2002

Time to Cooperate

There's nothing we need more right now than teamwork among state, local and federal government. It doesn't come naturally.
November 1, 2001

Safety is Still a Local Issue

This is a time for every level of government to remember the things it does best.
November 1, 2001

John Engler: Speed Ahead

Remaking a state through ideology and determination
October 1, 2001

Urban Role Model

Local governments in many places run more efficiently than they used to. But there's one in New Zealand that's in a class by itself.
September 1, 2001

Low Power, Low Payoff

There's a cheap and simple way for governments to get their message out. It's called radio.
July 1, 2001

Too Broke to Fix

If we want a health care system that works, we need to start some radical experimenting.
June 1, 2001

'Save us From the States!'

To a business community confronting 50 sets of rules in 50 state capitols, Washington suddenly looks like a friend.
May 1, 2001

Spoiled-Food Federalism

When it comes to protecting the food supply, states leave it to Washington. Maybe they shouldn't.
March 1, 2001

I Have to Talk to You About Your Job...

Job reviews are nerve-racking for both managers and employees. Some places are trying to make them less stressful and more meaningful.
March 1, 2001

The Testing Panacea

School reform through saturation testing is a simple and seductive idea. It needs scrutiny.
January 1, 2001

Management's Challenge: Leadership for Changing Times

"Change is going to happen," declared Utah Governor Michael O. Leavitt in his keynote address at Governing's annual management conference in Salt Lake City.
January 1, 2001

Tackling the Telecom Giants

Rewriting the 1996 reform law could make it better. It could also make it worse.
November 1, 2000

Deeds, Data and Dollars

The idea of crafting a budget based on performance measures is catching on--slowly.
November 1, 2000

Chip On Their Shoulders

`Use it or lose it' is no formula for effective federalism.
October 1, 2000

Raising Alabama

A reform-minded governor thinks performance measurement is the first step toward a healthy state future.
October 1, 2000

Cash Backs Iowa's Promises

Taking a page from the nation's top retailers, Iowa is making a new promise to its citizens: If you're not happy with the services you receive from state government, you get your money back.
September 1, 2000

States, Feds and Special Ed

The standard for evaluating states' special education efforts is shifting from access to outcomes.
August 1, 2000

Pension Fund Follies

Do recent investment scandals mean public retirement systems need a quick fix?
July 1, 2000

The Welfare Spin

You can read the numbers on welfare reform in lots of different ways.
July 1, 2000

Anti-Box Rebellion

There's no easy way for a small community to fight monster retailers. But there's a right time to do it: before they show up.
May 1, 2000

The Land-Use Busybodies

Property rights activists want local land-use cases thrown into federal court. Judges are starting to do it.
May 1, 2000

The Buzz Over Balance

The balanced scorecard is the latest private-sector managment trend to hit governments. What's it all about?
April 1, 2000

Government by the Numbers

A once-obscure cost-accounting method is becoming the clearest path to tracking the real costs of delivering services.
April 1, 2000

Rationalizing a Bond Binge

Florida has recently become one of a handful of states to adopt a formal system of debt analysis aimed at helping guide debt-issuance decisions.
March 1, 2000

The Employee Exodus

Scores of government workers are nearing retirement age. Little is being done to plan for their replacement.
March 1, 2000

Who's Guarding the Bank?

Financial deregulation offers the public some neat opportunities. it also offers the potential for disaster.
January 1, 2000

Peformance-Driven Government: Using Measures to Manage

Is performance measurement living up to its promise? When it comes to measuring the impact of government programs and services, its potential is now widely accepted.
January 1, 2000

The Welfare Bonanza

The private sector is moving quickly to cash in on the new world of public assistance. Can the for-profits do a better job than government workers?