Smart Management

The Government Workforce in an Era of Wage Stagnation

There's been a lot of talk lately about wage stagnation among middle-class workers, but there is growing evidence that this may be an even larger issue for state and local government employees -- one likely to make it harder for these governments to attract and retain the workforces they need.

Unlike the private sector, state and local government employment remains smaller than it was before the Great Recession. At its peak in 2008, these governments had 19,748,000 employees. In the six years after that, states and localities shed an estimated 565,000 jobs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). READ MORE

Mixed Reviews on Disclosing Tax Incentives

Back in the last century, actors, playwrights and producers of Broadway shows would linger on opening night in the famous restaurant, Sardi’s, awaiting the newspaper reviews. While there are minimal similarities between the board members of the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) and the cast of My Fair Lady, they do have one thing in common: When the board decides to move forward on a project and issues a draft for public comment, there’s a great deal of anticipation awaiting the thoughts of a variety of individuals and organizations with strong opinions about GASB’s proposals.

The organization has recently been through that process with its recent proposal for governments to share data about tax incentive programs. GASB is the rule-making body for local government public disclosure in America. Its pronouncements form the backbone of generally accepted accounting principles. READ MORE

The Turnover Gap, Why School Leadership Matters, Medicaid's Revolving Door and More

Policymakers focus a lot of attention on community colleges. The common hope is that they can be silver passes for lower-income students to good jobs, but a recent research brief from the Community College Research Center highlights some disturbing statistics. While 80 percent of students who enter community colleges expect to transfer to four-year institutions, only 25 percent actually do so within five years. 

The ramifications of credits that don't transfer can be enormous. According to the study, “the largest barrier to bachelor’s completion for community college students was loss of credits upon transfer." These credit losses occur partly because of poor communication between community colleges and universities, the complexity of the credit transfer process and the difficulty students have getting clear information and guidance. We’d think these would all be fixable problems, which are worthwhile addressing as more money is spent on community colleges. READ MORE

Government 2020: Imagining the Future

As the saying goes, hindsight is 20/20. But how could the world of government be different if we could not only envision the future -- how things might be in, say, the year 2020 -- but also prepare for it?

Most senior public officials are so busy putting out fires and running their operations from day to day that it's hard for them to get a chance to think about technological and other trend lines and how they might impact the way governments operate and citizens are served. So let's step back and take a quick tour through government's possible not-so-distant future: READ MORE

Overlooked Overpayments, Humanizing Public Services and HR Issues to Watch

Many states have made efforts to create a more efficient, effective juvenile justice system. But according to a recent report by the Council of State Governments Justice Center and the Public Policy Research Institute, Texas took a somewhat different tack than many others.

Unlike most states, Texas has a long history of putting resources into the development of technology to track children in the juvenile justice system, including both those who are in state-run correctional facilities and those in local juvenile probation departments. This enables the state to ensure that the young people who have run afoul of the law are treated in the most appropriate and cost-efficient way available. READ MORE