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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Cities 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
How Did 2013 Treat Public Employees?
The four biggest issues facing government employers and employees this year and how they impacted public servants.
WANTED: Criminals for State, Local Government Jobs
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.
How Does a Town of 10,000 Get 88,000 FB 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.
Public Employers Seek to Soften Obamacare's Impact
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.
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.
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.
Understanding the Value of the MPA and MPP Degree
What are the benefits to a degree that puts you on a government career track?
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.
Wisconsin Reignites the Residency Debate
Should public employees be required to live in the jurisdictions they serve? Gov. Scott Walker doesn't think so.
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.
Smokers Need Not Apply: Government Hiring Bans
Governments argue that no longer hiring smokers would free up some much-needed funds.
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.
Governing: State and local government news and analysis
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
Civil Service Reform Comes to Tennessee
Gov. Bill Haslam signed legislation to create a personnel environment more akin to the private sector.
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.
Governing: State and local government news and analysis
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.
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.
Employees Looking Out for Their Benefits
Employee benefit committees figure out what benefits are most important to employees and assist with benefit negotiations.
Can Public-Sector Job Security Be Quantified?
One study says it can't. What impact does job security have in evaluating public-sector compensation?
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A Cross-Training Rundown
A look at the most prevalent uses of cross training in today's public workforce.
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.
With little or no additional funding, geomapping can help law enforcement fight crime while lowering traffic incidents.
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.
Making Performance a Priority in Georgia
Performance measurement isn't a once-a-year event -- it's an ongoing process.
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.
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.
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?
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.
Encouraging and Implementing Employees' Ideas
An employee feedback program helps demonstrate that management is paying attention to what employees have to share.
Kentucky Employees Learn Spanish for their Jobs
Voluntary Spanish classes are a way for employees to provide better service to a growing Hispanic population.
Balancing Work and Leadership Development in Boulder
A graduate of Boulder County's intense Leadership Academy shares how she strengthened her leadership skills and network, while juggling work and family.
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.
Governing: State and local government news and analysis
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.
The Minnesota-Wisconsin Partnership
The 'Minnesconsin' adventure may not always be easy, but the two states have found that collaboration is cost-effective.
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...