TABLE of CONTENTS December 2013

Cover Story

2013 Public Officials of the Year

BY News Staff

These nine officials have demonstrated the true power of public service.

FEATURES

Is the Big Buildup of Chicago’s Infrastructure Bank Justified?

Chicago’s infrastructure bank has been hailed as an innovative new financing model that could revolutionize the way cities build new projects and manage risk. If only it could get off the ground. BY Ryan Holeywell

But What Did Cory Booker Actually Accomplish in Newark?

He promised to rescue his troubled city as mayor. Did he deliver? BY J.B. Wogan

The Public Employee 'Silver Tsunami' Looms for Governments

The long-anticipated wave of government worker retirements was delayed by the recession. But now, some agencies report signs it's starting to begin. BY Liz Farmer

POLITICS + POLICY

Management & Labor

Was the Shutdown Bad Advertising for Working in Government?

Are the bad vibes at the federal level encouraging more interest at the lower levels – or is it bad advertising all around for the public sector? BY Liz Farmer
Urban

In Blight Fight, Philadelphia May Be Biggest City to Create a Land Bank

Land bank programs have become a popular way for cities to acquire abandoned property and do something productive with it. BY Ryan Honeywell
Politics

Boston Mayor Blogs His Way Out of Office

Outgoing Mayor Tom Menino, who was in office for 20 years, has launched what may be the first-ever transition blog to help his successor succeed. BY Daniel Luzer
Finance

California’s Youngest City May Be the Nation’s Shortest-Lived

Jurupa Valley is at risk of insolvency. But unlike many cities, its fiscal problems really aren't its fault. BY Daniel Luzer
Politics

Houston Voters Reject Rehabilitation of Astrodome

The decision likely means the structure -- once home to the Oilers and Astros and touted as the Eighth Wonder of the World -- will be demolished. BY Ryan Holeywell
Assessments

Tax Amnesty: A Short-Term Solution with Long-Term Problems

Nearly every state has at some point offered forgiveness to tax evaders. While it raises revenue quickly, it sends the wrong message to taxpayers. BY Daniel Luzer
Dispatch

This Is the Future of Radio.

The FCC wants to modernize AM radio, which has lost listeners in recent years. Can it work? BY Daniel Luzer
Potomac Chronicle

Angry About Partisan Gridlock in Washington? Blame the States.

By using redistricting to protect incumbents and reduce the number of truly competitive legislative races, many states have set the stage for all the nasty battles playing out in Congress. BY Caroline Cournoyer
FedWatch

Bill to Require Annual Pension Reports Gaining Traction in Congress

There’s a proposal in Congress that opponents say would create headaches for public pension managers and could make it harder to finance infrastructure development. BY Caroline Cournoyer
Health & Human Services

Health Care Comes to Public Libraries

In a growing number of libraries, patrons can check out a book and get a check-up in one visit. BY David Levine
Infrastructure & Environment

Are Recycling Bins Creating More Trash?

The cost of picking up people’s recycling bins is high, but the portion of people who actually recycle is low. That’s why Houston wants to get rid of recycling bins. BY Caroline Cournoyer
Economic Engines

Does Inequality Promote Skyscrapers?

It's not an accident that China and New York City, which have perhaps the greatest distance between their rich and poor, also lead the world in skyscraper construction. BY Caroline Cournoyer
Urban Notebook

El Paso Teaches New Urbanism to Architects, Engineers

Hoping to reinvent the sprawling city, El Paso officials decided to teach the development community the importance of new urbanism. Now, other cities are following in its footsteps. BY Tod Newcombe

PROBLEM SOLVER

By the Numbers

Despite Government Cutbacks, Student Interest in Public Sector Careers Grows

Despite the bleak employment outlook and negative rhetoric, recent surveys suggest enrollment for public administration programs and interest in government careers has increased. BY Mike Maciag
Smart Management

The Open Government Illusion

Open government is often more rhetoric than reality. BY Caroline Cournoyer
Management & Labor

'Operator Perry Loves You!'

Governments really are in a competition. A lot is at stake. BY Mark Funkhouser
Tech Talk

Time Ticking for States to Opt In or Out of FirstNet

The federal government wants to create a single network for emergency communications, and it’s up to states to decide whether they want to join. BY Caroline Cournoyer
Public Money

How to Make ‘Pay As You Go’ Work for Large Capital Projects

Maricopa County, Ariz., has found a way to make paygo pay off. BY Daniel Luzer
Infrastructure & Environment

December 2013 Last Look: the 100-Year-Old Lincoln Highway

The nation’s first truly transcontinental road, the Lincoln Highway once made its way through 14 states but has gradually slipped into obscurity. BY Caroline Cournoyer