Barrett and Greene have done original research and writing in fields pertaining to state and local government and are columnists and correspondents for Governing magazine, where they founded the Government Performance Project. They are senior fellows at the Council of State Governments; special projects consultants for the Volcker Alliance; senior fellows at the Governing Institute; and fellows at the National Academy of Public Administration.

They have helped found and serve on the boards of two organizations: GovPerformance and the State Government Workforce Project. They have also served in an advisory capacity to many organizations, including the National League of Cities, the Urban Institute, the Governmental Accounting Standards Board, the Association of Government Accountants, the Council of State Governments, the Center for a Better South and others.

Barrett and Greene
September 1, 2019

Testing Period

Pilot programs don’t always fly right.
August 28, 2019

6 Tips for Piloting New Programs

Small test-runs can help an entity avoid big mistakes, but there's an art to getting meaningful results.
August 13, 2019

How Breaking Down Silos in Government Can Make Things Worse

Sometimes attempts to collaborate create unforeseen problems.
August 12, 2019

Are States Taking Cybersecurity Seriously Enough?

Only one has a cabinet-level official dedicated to the issue.
July 25, 2019

Why's It So Hard to Ax Bad Government Programs?

Performance data hasn’t worked out the way it was intended.
July 22, 2019

To Keep Public Workers, States Offer New Salaries and Benefits

Lawmakers increased wages and benefits for teachers, first responders and other public employees in nearly 20 states this legislative season.
July 8, 2019

WANTED: Public Employees Who Live Where They Work

Local governments are offering employees home loans and even housing if they reside among the people they serve.
July 2, 2019

Opening the Data Vault

How Grand Rapids is sharing information to boost transparency and solve city problems
June 24, 2019

To Find More 'Good Cops,' a Few Big Cities Change Their Hiring Process

They're putting more emphasis on applicants' emotional intelligence and interpersonal skills.
June 19, 2019

What Happens When Evidence-Based Policymaking Meets the Real World

Problems arise.
June 10, 2019

Are Public Employees Safe at Work?

Whether it's violence like the Virginia Beach shooting at a municipal building, or danger due to the nature of the job, government workers lack health and safety protections in nearly half the states.
June 5, 2019

A Brand-New Honor Roll

The latest top performers from Equipt to Innovate made strides in addressing racial disparities and engaging residents.
May 28, 2019

How Public Employers Are Reevaluating the Employee Review

Local governments are changing the frequency of performance evaluations, who receives them and what they're assessing.
May 13, 2019

Will the FDA Crackdown on Imported Prescriptions Cost Local Governments?

For years, hundreds of cities and counties have been saving money by letting their employees use cheaper drugs from other countries.
May 9, 2019

Performance Management Does Away With the Whip

The way governments are measuring results is becoming kinder -- and more effective.
May 7, 2019

Satisfying, Successful Engagements

Getting buy-in from employees leads to greater productivity – and upward opportunity.
April 22, 2019

Shortage of Volunteer Firefighters Threatens Fire Departments' Existence

Without enough volunteers to respond to emergencies, some fire departments are cutting services or even shutting down. Most are changing the way they recruit.
April 18, 2019

What Do Constituents Want? Cities Go Online to Find Out.

Local governments are using internet surveys to better gauge residents’ needs.
April 8, 2019

Why It's Easier to Find a Job in Pennsylvania

The state has made a number of key reforms to streamline its recruiting and hiring. One big change? Using plain English.
April 2, 2019

The Race to Race-Informed

Creating a race-informed city requires a broad range of approaches
March 25, 2019

Openings for State Jobs Are Up, So Why Are Applications Down?

A new study shows the depth -- and the root causes -- of the public sector's workforce problem.
March 19, 2019

Understanding the Benefits of a Data-Driven Government

Cities have come a long way in using data to inform decision-making, but progress can still be made.
March 11, 2019

Why Some Government Managers Make Less Than Their Employees

This form of pay inequity, referred to as salary inversion, is making it difficult to fill supervisor positions in the public sector.
March 1, 2019

Where’s the Data? What the Government Isn't Tracking

The amount of missing and unusable public-sector data is stunning.
February 25, 2019

Amid Strikes and Shortages, Governors Prioritize State Workers' Plight

Protesting teachers likely won't be the only public employees who see pay raises and workplace improvements this year.
February 11, 2019

Think Federal Workers Have It Bad? It's Worse for State and Local Employees.

The government shutdown exposed the financial insecurity and stress of many public servants.
February 7, 2019

Government Watchdogs Face New Obstacles

It’s getting harder for the people who check up on government to do their jobs.
January 28, 2019

The Gender Disparity in Climbing Local Government's Ladder

Women are less likely than men to aspire for and occupy top jobs. They're also less optimistic about their chances of moving up at all.
January 14, 2019

#MeToo Elicits More Harassment Conversations, But Not Necessarily Complaints

To address sexual harassment, it needs to be reported. State employees have been hesitant to do that.
January 10, 2019

Mapping Technology Expands Its Policy Reach

Once used only to manage infrastructure, GIS now deals with all kinds of data.
December 13, 2018

Accounting for Oysters: The Importance of Fiscal Notes in Policymaking

As Maryland has learned, it’s crucial to know the costs of proposed legislation.
December 10, 2018

Defying Predictions, Union Membership Isn't Dropping Post-Janus

The Supreme Court’s ruling was expected to diminish union membership. But so far, many unions have actually increased their numbers since the verdict. Conservative groups are working to reverse that trend in the long run.
November 26, 2018

Advice for New Governors as They Transition Into Office

For one, don’t assume the last governor’s appointees want to leave.
November 21, 2018

Why Are So Many Government Projects Late and Over Budget?

Ironically, it can happen because managers skip steps in an effort to go faster.
November 12, 2018

Who Needs a Desk? Tennessee Takes Telework to the Max

The state's new approach to the workplace goes far beyond traditional telecommuting. It's not only making employees and managers happier, it's saving the state millions of dollars.
October 22, 2018

Arkansas' Ambitious Plan to Reorganize State Government

The governor wants to downsize the number of cabinet-level agencies by more than half -- without laying people off.
October 12, 2018

How to Turn Government Data Into Clickbait

Graphic displays of information are useful only if they’re seen.
October 8, 2018

How Public Employee Benefits (Beyond Pensions and Health Care) Compare to the Private Sector's

At a time of low unemployment, both kinds of employers are beefing up their perks.
September 25, 2018

Government Purchasers Confront a Problem: Not Enough Vendors

Procurement officers are having to get more active -- and more creative -- to find companies willing to work with the public sector.
September 24, 2018

How Much Privacy Do Public Employees Actually Have?

The digital age, new laws and recent events have created tension between government's transparency and the privacy of the people who work for it.
September 10, 2018

Public Employees' Pay, Benefits and Rights Become Campaign Issues

A year filled with teacher strikes and sexual harassment scandals has led candidates for governor to talk more about how they would treat their state's workforce.
August 27, 2018

A Red State Raises Its Workers' Minimum Wage to $15

North Carolina Republicans overrode the Democratic governor to increase some state employees' pay. What led to this unexpected decision?
August 23, 2018

Data-Based Decisionmaking Works Great, Til Someone Cheats

There’s a long list of government agencies that have fudged numbers in misleading ways.
August 13, 2018

Wanting More Power, Public Employees Run for Office

"If you want to have an influence on policy, then the best way to do so is by being an elected official."
July 30, 2018

How Governments Are Closing the Gender Pay Gap

From banning certain hiring questions to opening up pay discussions between coworkers, states and municipalities are addressing years of inequality.
July 18, 2018

Expiration Dates in Government: How to Know When to Ditch a Regulation

Lots have passed their sell-by date.
July 16, 2018

How States Are Making It Harder to Leave Unions

Just over two weeks since the Janus ruling, about a third of the affected states have taken actions meant to soften its impact on unions' membership and revenue.
June 25, 2018

See Public Records? Governments Are Making It Harder.

A growing number of states are limiting access to them.
June 21, 2018

Thousands of Unfilled Jail Jobs, Millions in Overtime, 'Zero Room for Error'

States across the country are struggling to staff their prisons and jails. The shortages are costing them in overtime -- and lives lost when inmates riot against conditions likely worsened by overworked guards.
June 7, 2018

How States Are Helping People With Disabilities Break Into Government Jobs

Some are changing their applications. Others are instituting "tryouts."
May 24, 2018

Is 'Innovocracy' Hurting the Public Sector?

Massachusetts' comptroller thinks so.
May 22, 2018

Why Do So Many Governments Miss Their Project Deadlines?

Project delays are a huge problem. “Sourcing teams” could be one solution.
May 10, 2018

The Real Reason Behind Recent Teacher Strikes -- And Why They're Likely to Continue

It's about much more than low salaries.
April 19, 2018

Want to Prevent Cyberattacks? Don't Count on Employee Training to Stop Them.

Tips from a cybersecurity expert.
April 5, 2018

NDAs and Confidential Settlements Shake State Capitols and City Halls

People who work for the Trump administration and Congress members aren't the only government employees being asked to sign legally questionable contracts to keep secrets.
April 4, 2018

One of Affordable Housing’s Biggest Problems: Poor Management

Most of the problems are rooted in false or missing data.
March 26, 2018

In Government Procurement, Buying Local Is Popular. But Is It Beneficial?

Much like President Trump, many U.S. cities make an effort to use the goods and services of companies in their own city limits. It has some troubling side effects.
March 23, 2018

America’s 1,800 Licensing Boards and Their Countless Problems

Too many state licensing boards are not fulfilling their objectives, yet, more are popping up.
March 22, 2018

Are More Strikes Coming? West Virginia Wasn't the Only State Neglecting Employee Health Care.

The issue that led West Virginia teachers to walk out may be boiling over elsewhere as states neglect workers' benefits, sometimes causing financial and medical hardship for public servants.
March 8, 2018

Vacancies Aren't Unique to Trump. States Struggle to Fill Top Positions, Too.

When an agency head leaves, some states take years to find a permanent replacement. What takes so long?
February 23, 2018

Retirement Experts to New Government Employees: Think for Yourself

When pension reform happens, new workers often carry the biggest financial burden. But they don't always have to.
February 8, 2018

It's the Money, Stupid

There are a lot of big issues facing officials in 2018. The biggest is funding.
February 8, 2018

Unfilled Jobs Take Toll on Governments Across the Country

When vacancies are high, there are consequences -- and many places are feeling them.
January 25, 2018

Unions Widen Who They're Fighting For

Public-sector unions are becoming more altruistic. They may need to be.
January 23, 2018

Why Are Governments So Hesitant to Share Services?

It makes rational sense, but people find many reasons to be wary -- even high school football rivalries.
January 11, 2018

The #MeToo Effect Trickles Down the Public Workforce

As sexual harassment allegations take down powerful politicians, states and cities are revisiting their training and policies for the bureaucrats who have far less power but keep the government running.
December 21, 2017

How Public Employees Could Power the Struggling Taxi Industry

In what some say is a first in the world, D.C.'s latest venture gives taxi drivers new business and simultaneously cuts its own costs.
December 19, 2017

How's My Program Doing? The Question That Doesn't Always Have a Good Answer

Program evaluation offices have yet to become common throughout government -- and where they do exist, many lawmakers don't know about them.
December 7, 2017

How Some Cities Are Getting Millennials' Aid for Free

The David Bohnett Foundation is funding a pipeline -- albeit, small -- of young people who want to work in local government.
November 21, 2017

Are Your Schools Tracking Absenteeism the Right Way?

Better data is helping schools find new ways to keep kids in classrooms.
November 9, 2017

The Latest Social Media Trend in Government

It's hard to get people to follow their local government on Facebook or Twitter. A few cities are using their employees' personal accounts to connect with more residents.
October 26, 2017

5 Government Trends to Watch

As Governing celebrates its 30th anniversary, here's a few predictions for the next three decades.
October 19, 2017

States' Answer to Rising Health-Care Costs for Employees? You Pay for It.

Governments in recent years have shifted more and more of the burden of health-care premiums on to employees themselves.
October 5, 2017

How Unions Are Already Gearing Up for a Supreme Court Loss

Public-sector unions are already preparing for a potential exodus of members and a loss of revenue. Can they survive without charging mandatory fees?
September 21, 2017

An HR Expert's Dos and Donts of Managing

Sometimes you have to be the bad cop. Throwing out stereotypes about millennials is a good idea, too.
September 14, 2017

Why Government Watchdogs Are Worried

Budget cuts and political retaliation, they say, are endangering their jobs and their ability to uncover information.
September 8, 2017

Can New Perks Make Up for Smaller Pensions?

Many governments hope so, as they add benefits like napping pods and kid-friendly workplaces to keep employees happy.
August 24, 2017

Sunshine and Pay Raises: How Governments Poach Employees From Other Governments

The recruiting tactic may grow as baby boomers leave more job vacancies.
August 16, 2017

Why Are Government Websites So Bad?

Broken links, outdated information and mysterious abbreviations are just a few of the problems.
August 10, 2017

Hackers' Little Helpers: Employees With Bad 'Cyber-Hygiene'

Governments are starting to realize that cybersecurity isn't just the responsibility of the IT department.
July 20, 2017

In Virginia, Government Workers Are Getting Job-Search Help (From Their Current Employer)

“As far as I know, we’re the only state doing this,” says Gov. Terry McAuliffe's chief of staff.
July 20, 2017

Does Business Know Best?

You can’t run public agencies like private companies, but you can borrow ideas from them.
July 7, 2017

'Giving Help and Not Asking for It': Inside the Mental Health of First Responders

Human tragedy comes with the badge -- but help dealing with it often doesn't.
June 27, 2017

A Culture Shift for Government Shoppers

Purchasing has become more complex, which is why managers want critical thinking to lead the process.
June 22, 2017

Upgrading Government's IT 101

Public employees are often resistant to technological change. In some cases, it's their employers' fault.
June 8, 2017

The Pros and Cons of Telecommuting to a Government Gig

The option is catching on among public-sector employers as a way to attract and retain employees.
May 18, 2017

Why Is Government One of the Worst Industries for Equal Pay?

Women working in public administration make, on average, 25 percent -- or $16,900 -- less than men.
May 11, 2017

10 Ways Public Officials Lie, Kind of

They fool some of the people most of the time.
May 4, 2017

When Building a Diverse Workforce, Hiring Is Just the Start

Diversity has a lot of benefits, but achieving it isn't as easy as it sounds.
April 20, 2017

Are Nonprofits the New Go-To Choice for Altruistic Jobseekers?

Public service students appear to be shying away from working in government, possibly worsening the sector's longtime hiring struggle.
April 20, 2017

How Would Professors Grade the States?

We asked, and they told us.
April 6, 2017

A State Employees' Guide to Governors' Workforce Goals

From promises of pay raises to warnings of cutbacks, State of the State speeches offer a peek into their priorities for the year.
March 27, 2017

The Rise of the COO in State Government

Governors are slowly realizing that they need someone to take on the things they don’t have time for.
March 23, 2017

Generation Z Wants a Job. Are You Ready to Hire Them?

Studies show that the people just joining the workforce may present a different set of challenges and opportunities than their predecessors.
March 9, 2017

The State of Paid Parental Leave in the Public Sector

Few state or local government employees have the benefit, but that's slowly changing -- and so are the circumstances for getting it.
February 24, 2017

Can Government Employees Criticize the Government?

They have fewer free-speech rights than private workers, but what counts as a fireable offense is debatable.
February 15, 2017

From Food to Buildings, Safety Inspections Are Lagging

Staff and budget shortages are mostly to blame.
February 9, 2017

Governments Are Upping Their Professional Development Game

It's a win-win: Employees grow their careers and the public sector grows, or at least maintains, its workforce.
January 26, 2017

When Employees Quit, the Public Sector Panics

Few governments have succession plans in place. The ones that do are seeing some positive results.
January 23, 2017

Did We Say That? Public-Sector Predictions That Never Came True

Progress is slow. Our overly enthusiastic forecasts prove that.
January 12, 2017

The Do's and Dont's for Planning a Transition of Power

New governors can learn a thing or two from presidential transitions.
December 22, 2016

What Government Workers and Managers Should Be Paying Attention to in 2017

According to union officials and HR executives around the country.
December 20, 2016

Let's Make a Pact: States Increasingly Problem Solve Together

They often fall under the radar, but compacts are becoming a top tool for managing interstate issues.
December 8, 2016

Why Even a Public Management Expert Might Not Take a Government Job

Neil Reichenberg has devoted his career to helping the public sector hire and keep employees.
November 17, 2016

Where Are All the Social Workers Going?

Turnover in the field has reached crisis levels in some places, forcing them to figure out how to hire and keep the right people.
November 16, 2016

Colorado Governor’s Plan to Poach Corporate Leaders

John Hickenlooper hopes to recruit high-level talent for the next generation of public officials.
November 3, 2016

Hired by an Algorithm: HR's Technology Problem

Getting rid of paper applications speeds up the hiring process, but it can lead to the wrong people making the cut.
October 20, 2016

Introducing: How to Be a Better Mayor 101

Harvard and Bloomberg Philanthropies have teamed up to offer what they say is the first major effort to formally educate mayors about how to be more effective.
October 14, 2016

What Happens When Privatization Doesn't Work Out

Whether it's prisons in Idaho or pensions in Michigan, several states are moving their outsourced services back in-house.
October 6, 2016

Once Taboo, Government Employers Now Mix Work and Home

Public employers offer to help workers with nearly every aspect of their lives -- whether it's related to their finances or their marriage.
September 22, 2016

How Sugar Beets Symbolize Innovation in Government

In Karen Thoreson's world, few things are ruled out as a possibility for improving public services.
September 19, 2016

To Work on Parole Boards, No Experience Necessary

The people who decide criminals’ freedom are often ill-equipped to make informed decisions. That’s where risk assessment tools come in, but they aren't always used.
September 8, 2016

WANTED: Police for Hire, Minorities Encouraged

Qualified -- and willing -- applicants have become increasingly hard for police departments to find.
August 30, 2016

Lessons From Cities Trying to Be Better Buyers

Chicago and many other municipalities are focusing on reforming the rigid and inconsistent rules of procurement.
August 18, 2016

5 Common Headaches on Government Websites

Going online for public information isn't as easy as it should be.
August 4, 2016

Problem With Government? There May Be an Ombud for That.

States are increasingly creating specialized ombudsman offices to cater to citizens' complaints.
July 21, 2016

Is a 40-Hour Workweek Enough in Government?

Not for most local officials. But they may not all be using their time wisely.
July 12, 2016

Managing Life-and-Death Situations

When a disaster strikes, skilled management can save lives and political futures.
July 7, 2016

Can Government Be Too Transparent?

More information isn't always better. Some things are better kept secret.
June 23, 2016

Higher the Rank, Higher the Turnover

In some statewide positions, people come and go fast, taking several keys to success when they leave.
June 22, 2016

The Tricky Trend That’s Blurring Budget Transparency

Governments’ increasing reliance on special funds can put them in financial and legal trouble.
June 9, 2016

What Employee Surveys Reveal About Working in Government

Depending on whether you work for states and localities, the federal government or the private sector, your job satisfaction may differ.
May 25, 2016

States Struggle to Manage Medical Transportation

Millions of disabled, sick and elderly people rely on medical transportation that can leave them stranded for hours in times of need.
May 19, 2016

Public Employee Surveys: Worthwhile or Worthless?

It depends on how governments use the results.
May 5, 2016

Overtime: The Good, the Bad and the Unsafe

It's important to know when overtime is a smart financial decision and when it's better to send employees home.
April 25, 2016

States Start Making Colleges Work for Funding

At least 20 states are developing performance-based systems for funding higher education. The impact varies widely from state to state.
April 21, 2016

Bad Bosses

The majority of employee complaints result from weak managerial skills. What's being done to address it?
April 7, 2016

Lessons From the No. 1 Procurement State

The leaders of Georgia’s purchasing office on saving money, realizing the importance of data analysts and being underappreciated.
March 17, 2016

Government's Data-Driven Frenemies

There's a long-standing rivalry between the people who do performance measurement and the people who evaluate programs.
March 3, 2016

Meetings: A Necessary Evil That Can Be Improved

We have to have them, so we might as well make them as productive as possible.
March 1, 2016

5 Urgent Public Management Issues

These are the top challenges governments will need to address in 2016.
February 18, 2016

Where Affordable Housing Is Scarce, So Are Teachers

To get people to teach in expensive or rural areas, some school districts are offering to help pay their rent or mortgage.
February 8, 2016

Can Government Hiring Get Out of the Stone Age?

As states and localities have tried to modernize the way they attract and retain public workers, some best practices have emerged.
February 4, 2016

Governors’ 2016 Priorities

Their State of the State addresses offer a window into their to-do lists for the new year.
February 1, 2016

America's Jails Have an HR Problem

Employees are often overworked and undertrained, putting themselves and the inmates they're supposed to protect at risk.
January 21, 2016

State Budget Analysts Watch Their Own Numbers Decline

Most state budget offices have fewer employees and more work than they did a decade ago.
January 7, 2016

The Trials and Tribulations of Auditing Government

The people who probe governments' finances and effectiveness often have little power and are at risk of losing more, says Philadelphia Controller Alan Butkovitz.
January 1, 2016

Cheaper Isn’t Necessarily Better for Government

Many states and cities get hung up on low prices and fail to consider a company's performance when deciding whether to contract with them.
December 17, 2015

The Missing Pieces of State Budgets

Budgets aren't as transparent as they could be. There are ways (some simpler than others) to fix that.
December 3, 2015

Dumbing Down Financial Reports, Missing Meeting Minutes and More

A roundup of public-sector management news you need to know.
December 1, 2015

7 Ideas for Using Government Data More Effectively

From city managers to auditors, local officials offer ways to fix data collection.
November 19, 2015

A Conversation With One of America's Performance Management Leaders

Gary Blackmer talks about auditing police, changes in the field and the toughest parts of the job.
November 5, 2015

Financial Reports: Better Late Than Never?

States often fail to finish their annual reports in time for them to even matter. Some have found ways to speed up the process.
November 1, 2015

How Tennessee Transformed the Way It Hires and Fires People

The state’s successful civil service reforms offer lessons for other governments.
October 22, 2015

States Own More Property Than They Know

Many states struggle to know how much property they have and how best to use it. Some, though, are fixing the problem -- and it's saving them money.
October 8, 2015

A Warning for States, the Best Government Website, New Privacy Protections and More

A roundup of public-sector management news you need to know.
October 1, 2015

Do Animal Shelters Serve People or Pups?

Most have evolved toward a no-kill policy but lack the money or resources to keep every animal alive and well.
September 17, 2015

'You're Fired': Ways to Get Rid of Bad Government Workers

Public employers can't legally get rid of their employees as easy as Trump and his private-sector peers can. But there are ways to make it easier.
September 3, 2015

The Person Standing Between the Press and the Government

Mediators can either make the already-uneasy relationship between reporters and public officials worse or better.
September 1, 2015

The Importance of Listening to Public Employees Complain

Government agencies can learn a lot from tracking and analyzing grievance claims.
August 20, 2015

Helping Doctors Go Digital

For technology to meet its potential to transform health care, many barriers must be overcome.
August 6, 2015

Dubious Surpluses, Questionable Savings, Beneficial Failures and More

A roundup of public-sector management news you need to know.
August 1, 2015

Exit Interviews: Increasingly Important But Often Forgotten

Knowing why employees quit might keep others on the job, something governments struggle to do.
July 23, 2015

The New Laws You Probably Won't Read About Anywhere Else

The media often ignores legislation related to government management, so we tracked down some of the year's highlights.
July 9, 2015

Bad Data Is at All Levels of Government

States are not the only ones to lack the data they need to make good government.
July 1, 2015

The Next Big Thing in Data Analytics

As the amount of data that governments accumulate grows, so does the need to disaggregate it.
June 24, 2015

The Causes, Costs and Consequences of Bad Government Data

States and localities are embracing the promise of big data. But just how good is the information they’re collecting in the first place?
June 18, 2015

What Improv Comedians Can Teach Government Employees

The guiding principles of improv comedy could help people in the public sector perform better.
June 4, 2015

Did Performance Measurement Cause America's Police Problem?

Some argue it can be traced back to how departments evaluate their officers.
June 1, 2015

Training May Be Valuable, But Few Governments Measure Its Success

And without proof of its value, cash-strapped states are increasingly cutting training budgets.
May 21, 2015

How Cell Phones Strain 911, The Importance of Follow-Through in Policymaking, Why Fraud Goes Undetected, and More

A roundup of public-sector management news you need to know.
May 7, 2015

The Smell Test for Bad Data

There are many ways numbers can be misleading. Here are a few.
May 1, 2015

When Licensing Has Gone Too Far

License requirements are intended to improve the safety of services like nail salons. But in many other professions, the negative effects of licensing can outweigh the positive.
April 23, 2015

Problems Auditors Can't Fix, the Dangers of Overtime, Flipped Classrooms and More

A roundup of public-sector management news you need to know.
April 9, 2015

5 of the Most Misunderstood Terms in Government

Government managers all appear to be speaking English, but the same words and phrases often have multiple, contradictory meanings.
April 1, 2015

HR Directors Get a Personnel Downgrade

Even though states spend more on payroll than anything else, many governors no longer look to human resources for advice on their workforce.
March 19, 2015

Twitter Tips, Aging IT Workers, Book Recommendations and More

A roundup of public-sector management news you need to know.
March 5, 2015

The Paradoxical Truth About Efficiency Commissions

Many states have them, but few evaluate whether efficiency commissions are themselves efficient.
March 1, 2015

How Government Can Benefit from Becoming Better Storytellers

Most politicians fail to communicate the importance of policies to the public because they lack skills in the art of the anecdote.
February 19, 2015

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

A roundup of public-sector management news you need to know.
February 19, 2015

Mixed Reviews on Disclosing Tax Incentives

While most favor increasing transparency in tax incentives, some of the biggest players in state and local government have spoken out against the latest proposal.
February 5, 2015

Overlooked Overpayments, Humanizing Public Services and HR Issues to Watch

Plus more public-sector management news you need to know.
February 1, 2015

6 Big Government Management Issues in 2015

Each are crucial for states and localities to address this year.
January 22, 2015

A Shortage of Data Analysts, Empty Promises, and Missed Opportunities

Plus more public-sector management news you need to know.
January 8, 2015

Crime and Mismanagement and the Realities of Gambling and Online Education

Plus more public-sector management news you need to know.
January 1, 2015

What Keeps Government Managers Up at Night

An impromptu survey reveals what public officials worry most about and what makes them optimistic about the future.
December 18, 2014

Ways to Improve Debt Collection, Problems with Contracting, and the Dangers of 'Shovel-Ready' Projects

Plus more public-sector management news you need to know.
December 4, 2014

Privacy vs. Data Sharing

Plus more public-sector management news you need to know.
December 1, 2014

So You Won the Governor’s Race, Now What?

The transition from one administration to the next sets the tone for a new governor. But there are ways to mess it up.
November 20, 2014

An Outsourcing Reversal, Misnamed Agencies and Reading Recommendations

Plus more public-sector management news you need to know.
November 6, 2014

The Hidden Threat: A Shortage of Correctional Officers

Plus more public-sector management news you need to know.
November 1, 2014

The Simple Way to Grade the Public Workforce

Some governments are going back to measuring employees' quantity of output instead of quality.
October 23, 2014

Questionable Credit Ratings, Tax Credit Disclosures and Gas Tax Secrets

Plus more public-sector management news you need to know.
October 9, 2014

Why Governments Don’t Know Bridges Are Deteriorating

Plus more public-sector management news you need to know.
October 1, 2014

Why Schools Resist Consolidating

There are financial and educational benefits to merging small school districts, yet it's almost always a hard sell.
September 18, 2014

Why Nevada's Tesla Tax Incentive Is So Risky

Plus more public-sector management news you need to know.
September 4, 2014

B&G Report: L.A.'s 300-Year Problem, Problematic Comparisons and Simple Solutions

All the public-sector management news you need to know.
September 1, 2014

The VA Isn't the Only Agency Mismanaging Waiting Lists

Many state and local agencies fail to properly oversee waiting lists for government programs.
August 21, 2014

B&G Report: Last-Minute Meetings, Mental Health and Data on Child Deaths

All the public-sector management news you need to know.
August 7, 2014

B&G Report: Performance Pay Problems, Shark States and Meaningless Goals

All the public-sector management news you need to know.
August 1, 2014

How Does a City Lose a Backhoe?

From guns to backhoes to vehicles, many municipalities struggle to keep track of their inventories.
July 24, 2014

B&G Report: a Ruling on Retirees, Bad Government Checks and Slow Press Offices

All the public-sector management news you need to know.
July 10, 2014

B&G Report: the Dangers of Comparing Police, Book Recommendations and Unhelpful Media

All the public-sector management news you need to know.
July 1, 2014

The Benefits of Sizing Your State Up to Others

Oregon’s workers’ compensation reform shows benchmarking (when done right) can lead to big gains in efficiency.
June 19, 2014

B&G Report: The Next VA Scandal and the Pros and Cons of Appointed Employee Contracts

All the public-sector management news you need to know.
June 5, 2014

B&G Report: Mobile Apps, the World's Worst Client and Traffic Decongestants

All the public-sector management news you need to know.
June 1, 2014

Politicians Count Their Pennies Too Soon

Elected officials have a tendency to promise big savings and painless cuts that often don’t turn out how they hoped.
May 22, 2014

B&G Report: The Value of Opting In, Outsourced Audits, and Wasted Art Funding

All the public-sector management news you need to know.
May 8, 2014

B&G Report: 'Reinstitution' of the Mentally Ill, Comprehensible Courtrooms, and the Flexibility Stigma

All the public-sector management news you need to know.
May 1, 2014

International Students: More Than Just Dollar Signs to U.S. Universities

When students from abroad attend American universities, their ideas enrich us.
April 17, 2014

B&G Report: Useless Opinions, Outsourcing Outcomes, and Leslie Knope-Inspired Awards

All the public-sector management news you need to know.
April 3, 2014

B&G Report: Ignored Reports, Government-Bought iPods and Auditing Auditors

All the public-sector management news you need to know.
April 1, 2014

The Trouble with Email

Yes, it’s been a boon for government work, but it also opens the door to conflict and confusion.
March 20, 2014

B&G Report: Anonymous Contractors, Unconventional Budgeting and the Seattle Syndrome

All the public-sector management news you need to know.
March 6, 2014

B&G Report: Public Records of the Dead, Empty Committees and Pension Tips

All the public-sector management news you need to know.
March 1, 2014

Happy Birthday, World Wide Web

In its 25 years, the Internet has drastically changed how government works.
February 20, 2014

B&G Report: Kickstarter for Government, the Problem with Practical Policies and Cities' Top 10 Challenges

All the public-sector management news you need to know.
February 6, 2014

B&G Report: Misleading Debt Burdens and Budget Claims and a Chance at More Cash

All the public-sector management news you need to know.
February 1, 2014

3 Ways to Keep Public Employees from Leaving

The turnover rate among young state employees is rising. Raising pay might be a way to change that, but it’s not a practical one.
January 23, 2014

B&G Report: The Fairness of Fines, Disappointing Government Websites, and Wasted Financial Reports

All the public-sector management news you need to know.
January 9, 2014

B&G Report: The Right World Outlook, What School Lessons Are Missing, and the Risks of Inaccurate Data

All the public-sector management news you need to know.
January 1, 2014

The Corporate Playbook for Government

Should governments emulate the business practice of Fortune 500 companies?
December 1, 2013

The Open Government Illusion

Open government is often more rhetoric than reality.
October 17, 2013

The Price of Driving on Bad Roads, 6 Things That Engage Employees, and a Bible for Wellness Programs

All the public-sector management news you need to know.
October 3, 2013

Flawed Thinking About Auditors, the Truth Behind Conferences, and the Value of Field Trips

All the public-sector management news you need to know.
October 1, 2013

Is Earmarking the Best Way to Fund Projects?

It's not black and white, but understanding the pros and cons increases your chances of coming to the right answer for a particular project.
September 19, 2013

Treating Medicaid Users Like Birds, Why Government Can Use More Jokes, and a Pension Guide for Politicians

All the public-sector management news you need to know.
September 5, 2013

High CIO Turnover, Civic Engagement Ideas and States with Sin-Tax Dependency

All the public-sector management news you need to know.
September 1, 2013

Why Do So Many Governments Resist Benchmarking?

Beyond fear of disclosure, there are a number of reasons states and localities may not want to engage in benchmarking.
August 22, 2013

New Yorkers Lose Homes to the Homeless, a Bright Spot for Detroit, and the Key to Increasing Home Values

All the public-sector management news you need to know.
August 1, 2013

To Keep Up with the Private Sector, Governments Must Focus on More Than Just Pay

Thanks to recent revenue increases, some states are unfreezing public workers’ pay for the first time since before the recession. But looking at pay levels rather than total compensation hides a great deal of the story.
July 25, 2013

Drought of Data Experts, How Much the Highest Paid Governor Makes, and Another Tax Loophole

All the public-sector management news you need to know.
July 11, 2013

A Warning for Big Data, 3 Ways to Handle Citizen Feedback, and Why "Experts" Are Often Wrong

All the public-sector management news you need to know.
June 28, 2013

States and Localities Realize the Importance of IGs

Although not every city and state is eager to form inspector general offices -- New York City leaders, for example, are currently debating the benefits of one for the police department -- the trend toward more of them has been steady.
June 20, 2013

Transportation Trends, the Good News About Bridges, and Funeral Directors' Push to Modernize

All the public-sector management news you should know.
June 6, 2013

Atheist Treasurers Not Allowed, the Merits of Revenue-Raising, and How Neb. Wound up with a Unicameral Legislature

All the public-sector management news you need to know.
May 23, 2013

Odd License Requirements, How Oklahoma City Lost 1M Pounds, and New Government Jargon

Public-sector management news you should know.
May 21, 2013

Improving Management: A Story in Texts

A text message conversation about how once management fads fade, the best concepts remain.
April 30, 2013

How to Keep Costly Road Repairs to a Minimum

Coordination between public agencies and utilities will keep streets from being torn up, again and again.
April 18, 2013

Iowa's Generous Employee Benefits, Winning Audits, and the Side Effect of Furloughs

Plus: the misconception about failure and more management news
April 4, 2013

Retirement Predictions, Sin Taxes' Side Effects and the Impact of Class Sizes

Plus: a great resource for child welfare workers and more management news
March 29, 2013

The Risks of Relying on User Fees

In the past three years, states and cities have brought in billions of dollars in additional user fees. But there are pitfalls to this form of revenue boost.
March 21, 2013

Winners in Detroit, Useless Data and Rethinking Charitable Giving

Plus: the message that "out of office" replies convey and more management news
March 7, 2013

Detroit’s Fixable Fiscal Problems, Evaluators under Pressure and the Impact of Multitasking

Plus: The importance of parks and more management news
February 28, 2013

Why Haven’t States and Localities Capitalized on Great Management Ideas?

When management meets politics, management is generally the loser. What can policymakers do to heighten the chances that a reform will, at least, be given the opportunity to succeed or fail?
February 21, 2013

The Limits of Bill Gates' Influence, a Formula for Change and Honorable Contracting Reform

Plus: why Portland, Ore., may no longer be a leader in transit planning and more management news
February 7, 2013

The Reality of Being Sick, Job Piracy and Smart Pension Moves

Plus: how a transit authority transformed itself and more management news
January 31, 2013

Cities Strengthening Bonds with Their International Sisters

There's a new push to get these 2,000 international partnerships working together on concrete development programs.
January 24, 2013

Underreported News, a Risk to Public Health and Savings without Sacrificing Service

Plus: a guide for successful collaboration and more management news
January 10, 2013

Florida's Wasted Tax Dollars, Ignored Auditors and Keeping up with Transit

Plus: government's ongoing war against “the bad guys” and more management news
December 28, 2012

The Difficulties of Measuring Government Success

Take weatherization. It’s harder than advertised to come up with an easy way to assess the program’s success.
December 13, 2012

Restaurant Audits, Longevity Pay and the Value of Public Amenities

Plus: the importance of IT training and more management news
November 30, 2012

The Problem with Preferential Bids for Women, Minorities

Giving preference to women- or minority-owned businesses is a widely acceptable social policy that can run into management problems.
November 29, 2012

Giving Thanks to Government, Bad Data, and "Greening" Jails

Plus: 4 questions to ask before sharing services and more management news
November 8, 2012

Shared Services, Fat Stats, and a New Yorker's Account of Sandy

Plus: Finding Medicaid waste and more management news
October 31, 2012

Public vs. Private Employees: Who Wins in a Bidding War?

Instead of simply preselecting private- or public-sector employees, managed competition means projects can be put out for bid with both groups competing for work.
October 18, 2012

Changing How Universities Spend Money, the Problem with Rankings and Identifying Government's Enemy

Plus: The impact of postponed retirement and more management news
October 4, 2012

How Body Language Can Improve Union Talks, the Real Cost of Closing Schools and a Board Game for Budget Writers

Plus: Advice for the public sector from the private sector and more management news
September 28, 2012

What Killed Alabama’s Performance Measurement Plan?

Less than a decade after the state enacted its first real performance measurement plan, it -- like a number of other similar programs in the states -- has fallen on hard times.
September 20, 2012

The Gambling Bait and Switch, Surprising Workforce Stats, and Untracked Spending on Juvenile Justice

Plus: The unpredictable costs of trauma care, and more management news
September 6, 2012

Overcoming Training Losses, Improving Mental Health and Fixing the Problem of Too Much Parking

Plus: When cuts come to cops, and more management news
August 31, 2012

Sick Leave Causes Headaches for Governments

Governments are struggling with how to properly manage sick leave to prevent employees from abusing it.
August 23, 2012

When Training Goes Away, When Fiscal Fixes Backfire, and a Novel Traffic Solution

Plus: The return of the Manager's Reading List, and more management news
August 8, 2012

Getting Smarter on Health Care, Ironing Out Government's Conflicting Goals, and the Problem with Job Creation

Plus: Illegal pension recipients, and more management news
July 31, 2012

Gainsharing Falls Victim to Tight Times

The concept of sharing unspent dollars with other employees and agencies saves governments money but is often ignored when budgets are the smallest.
July 19, 2012

An App Without a Home, "The Big Pencil" and Getting Sick of Sick Days

Plus: Getting data right on teachers, and more management news
July 19, 2012

Rx for Too Much Sick Leave?

B&G readers weigh in on whether requiring doctors' notes will cut down on absenteeism.
July 5, 2012

Good Technology Investments, Spending Surpluses Wisely, and Government vs. the Press

Plus: The problems with digital textbooks and more management news
June 29, 2012

The Public’s Problem with Performance Measurements

The average citizen isn’t interested in government-tracked measurements. But if it’s results-based data that directly affects their lives, they might be.
June 21, 2012

Requiring a Doctor's Note, Tax Rates vs. Growth, and Performance in Beantown

Plus: A well-written plea for audtiting, and more management news
June 7, 2012

Residency Requirements, Connecting Citizens to Performance Reporting, and the Problem with Surveys

Plus: Questions about restructuring, and more management news
May 31, 2012

Performance Measurement Improves the Quality of Health Care

Quality measures are transforming everything from billing practices to patient behavior.
May 17, 2012

Obstacles to Results-Based Management, the Erosion of Analytic Capability, and the Hazards of Municipal-Guaranteed Debt

Plus: Life in the 'burbs, and more management news
May 3, 2012

Sustaining Performance Systems, Keeping Up With Day Care, and the Problem with Readmission Rates

Plus: Patient-ranked doctors and more management news
April 30, 2012

Government Performance Auditors at Risk of Becoming Endangered

Many governments have shifted into reverse, cutting and even eliminating auditing offices.
April 19, 2012

Results-Based Barriers, Robbing Peter to Save Paul Money, and the Power of Bad Data

Plus: A scathing Rhode Island audit, and more management news
April 5, 2012

Putting Data to Use, Paying Cops to Shoot and the Politics of Revenue Estimates

Plus: Wise words from a former dicator, and more management news
March 30, 2012

Government Fleets’ Costs Driven Down with Technology Tools

The technology is there, but many state and local agencies still aren’t using it.
March 22, 2012

Sick Time for Overtime: Public-Sector Officials Weigh In

Should governments count paid leave toward overtime?
March 22, 2012

Workforce Planning in Washington, Iffy Stats for Private Prisons, and Wasting Money on College Dropouts

Plus: Linking forms and outcomes, and more management news
March 8, 2012

Competing With the Feds, Filing Your Email and Sell-By Dates for Data

Plus: Getting it right on overtime, and more management news
February 29, 2012

Is Government Consolidation Always Good?

In tight times, governments push for more centralization. But it doesn’t always produce the positive results that are hoped for.
February 23, 2012

When Pilot Programs Crash and Burn, Getting Sick Over Sick Time, and the Problem with Fiscal Notes

Plus: Tricky tax incentives, and more management news
February 9, 2012

Overtime for Sick Time, States' Off-Cycle Fiscal Plans, and Knowing What You're Buying

Plus: No love for committees, and more management news
January 31, 2012

'Constraints Management' Breaks Down Barriers to Efficiency

Government efficiency initiatives come and go. But Utah has had continued success with one in particular.
January 19, 2012

Top Issues for 2012, Library User Fees and Charging for School Buses

Plus: A better way to rate hospital care, and more management news
January 19, 2012

Evaluation of Evaluations

Do public employee appraisals actually accomplish anything?
January 5, 2012

Management Resolutions, States' Varied CAFRs, and an Energy-Saving Tool

Plus: Employee self-motivation and more management news
January 1, 2012

Fighting Government Fraud

How much fraud actually occurs is debatable, but the benefits of eliminating it are clear. And many governments are taking steps to stop schemes, scams and public-sector swindles.
December 8, 2011

The Reliability of Performance Appraisals, Ads on Chicago City Property, and the Cost of Employee Turnover

Plus: Welfare rules in the 50 states, and more management news.
November 30, 2011

In Government We Don’t Trust

People have gradually lost trust in government. How can public leaders get it back?
November 17, 2011

Reading the Fine Print on Financials, A Gold-Plated Tunnel in San Diego, and a Useful Source for Public Policy News

Plus: Assessing corruption in the public sector, and more management news
November 3, 2011

Balanced-Budget Bollocks, The Price Tag of Transparency, and Tracking Government Collaborations

Plus: Questions about pension investments, and more management news
October 31, 2011

Performance Auditors Lose Influence in Tight Times

Groups that assess the value of government programs inevitably make some enemies. That’s one reason the programs are always first on the chopping block.
October 20, 2011

Cost-Savings of Telecommuting, the Perils of Part-Timers, and a Council Meeting Erupts

Plus: The soothing power of shelter dogs, and more management news
October 6, 2011

Facebook in Government, The Value of Coloring Books, and Defining 'Waste, Fraud and Abuse'

Plus: Cheaper tech for schools, and more management news
September 30, 2011

Do States Really Balance Their Budgets?

Loopholes, unexpected expenses and glorified revenue predictions make balanced budgets an unattainable reality for some legislatures.
September 22, 2011

Analysis After the Fact, Why DOTs Should Act Like Retail Stores, and Slippery Stats on Road Safety

Plus: Defining a good boss, and more management news
September 8, 2011

Tablet Computer Takeover, The Plight of Small Counties, and Ethics Laws

Focusing on the budget minutiae, and more management news
August 31, 2011

Small Energy-Efficiency Investments Add Up

States and cities are finding that even the simplest tasks, like switching to LED streetlight bulbs, can result in significant savings.
August 18, 2011

Stressed on the Job, Go-to Sources for Econ, and the Danger of Pretty Data

Plus: Emphasizing the individual, and more management news
July 29, 2011

Measuring the Efficiency of Courts

Municipalities in more than a dozen states are using tools to gauge their courts’ speed, accessibility and reliability in administering justice.
July 21, 2011

Disagreeing with Your Boss

B&G Readers sound off on whether it's okay to go up against the man or woman in charge.
July 21, 2011

States' Self-Promotion, Mobile Phone Math, and Explaining Tax Expenditures

Plus: Sounding off on disagreeing with the boss, and more management news
July 7, 2011

Research Help, More Audit Cuts, and Good News for Greener Cities

Plus: Misconduct in the school cafeteria, and more management news
June 30, 2011

Across-The-Board Budget Cuts May Not Bring Real Savings

When states determine to make some kind of cut with regard to agencies, it's important to differentiate between them.
June 23, 2011

Disagreeing with Your Boss, the State Bailout Fallacy, and Misleading Crime Stats

Plus: Harmful transparency and more management news
June 9, 2011

The Trials of Transparency, The Trouble with Assuming, and a New Government Wiki

Plus: Four-day school weeks and more management news
June 9, 2011

It's Not All Politics with YouTube's 'Town Hall'

The new website empowers citizens to make their decisions based on the issues and not the party that supports them.
June 2, 2011

Ticked at Tech: Your Responses

B&G readers sound off on their frustrations with on-the-job technology.
May 31, 2011

What's a Pension Perk Worth?

Employers can't pinpoint what the real value of retiree benefits is to them.
May 19, 2011

The Taxation Ink-Blot Test, Twittering Cities, and Still Ticked at Tech

Plus: Shared services and more management news
May 19, 2011

B&G Interview: Frank Fairbanks, former City Manager of Phoenix

A discussion with a veteran of local level public service.
May 5, 2011

Ticked Off at Technology, Let's Get Fiscal, and a Lesson from Bangladesh

Plus: Too much certainty, and more management news
April 29, 2011

When is a Shortfall a Budget Gap and Not a Budget Deficit?

The distinctions between gaps and deficits can show just how dire a city or state's condition is.
April 21, 2011

Effective Motivation, the 'Sanctity' of Surveys, and Demand-Based Pricing

Plus: Learning from successes, and more management news
April 7, 2011

Overselling the Economic Crisis, Transcript Tribulations, and Furlough Follies

Plus: An update on government swag, and more management news
April 7, 2011

Government Swag: Pros and Cons

Local leaders differ on whether government-branded freebies and trinkets are worth the money.
March 31, 2011

Effectively Engaging the Public

There's more to keeping in touch with constituents than public hearings.
March 17, 2011

Leading by Example, Repairing New Orleans' Government, And Race to the Top Reforms

Plus: Who to follow on Twitter, and more management news
March 3, 2011

Swag Smack-Down, Confusing Food Stamp Math, And Counting Elephants

Plus: Police Unions in Wisconsin, And More Management News
March 1, 2011

The Legislative Funding Flaw

When state legislatures pass new programs but don't fund them, they may do more harm than good.
February 17, 2011

Dashboard Confessionals, Eliminating Duplicative Services, and Henry Ford on Innovation

Plus: Watching California's Jerry Brown, and more management news
February 3, 2011

When Social Media Works Best, The Illinois Outlier, And Bankruptcy Boogeymen

Plus: Good News for Counties, And More Management News
February 1, 2011

Using Data to Guide Education Policymaking

Louisiana learns to use information about its students to create real-life benefits for them.
January 20, 2011

Making the Case for Tax Incentives, Slowing Health Spending, and The Price of a Life

Plus: A Small Victory for Detroit, And More Management News
January 6, 2011

Obstinate Outliers, GPS Trackers and Insufficient Audits

Plus: Recommended reading, short-term thinking and more management news
January 1, 2011

Overseeing the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act

As the feds help states and cities, a new relationship may be developing.
December 16, 2010

Working for Big Brother, Performance in Portland, And the Cash Myth

Plus: Giving oversight some teeth, looking at some pretty graphics, and more management news
December 2, 2010

Cutting Medicaid Costs, The Problem With Vision, And Scary Thoughts on Schools

Plus: Manager must-reads, the importance of good data, and more management news
December 1, 2010

Administrative Cuts Affect Governments' Functionality

Deep managerial workforce cuts change how tightly and rightly governments run.
November 18, 2010

Why The Public Distrusts Government, The 'Best' Performance Measures, And More

Plus: measuring student achievement, balancing state budgets, and more management news.
November 4, 2010

Getting Citizens to Care, Fixing Civics Education, And How Government is Like a Hockey Puck

Plus: The cost of rules, how bikes saves lives, and more management news.
November 1, 2010

Prioritizing and Revamping the Budgeting Process

States and localities should prioritize top goals and revamp the budgeting process.
October 21, 2010

Unruly Rules, Preaching Against Government Waste, And Legislating Inoculations

Plus: City Budget Cuts, Stimulus Strains, And More Management News
October 7, 2010

Grading on a Curve, Setting Goals in Public, And Cutting for Tax Cuts

Plus: A New Budget Gimmick, And More Management News
October 1, 2010

Forgetting the Economic Cycle Already?

In boom times, states forget the bust years. That’s worrisome as revenues show signs of life.

Workplace Stress, When Innovations Fail, And Technology Etiquette

Plus: Payday Fraud, Citizen-Driven Budgeting, and More Management News

Hospital Errors, Public/Private Partnerships and Flexibility on Vacation Time

Plus: Performance evaluations, the challenge of cell phones and government, and more management news.

Governments Need to Get to Know Their Vendors

Before contracting out a government function, a jurisdiction must have solid information about a firm's performance.

A Snitch in Time

Plus: The power of comfort, Florida's liquor-lag, and more.

Tethered by Technology?

A handful of B&G Report readers speak out about the positives and negatives of devices that allow them to stay in touch with their work around the clock.

Half-a-Billion in Waste?

Plus: Making Commissions Useful, Counting Contracts, And More

Partnering Up: Public-Private Partnerships

Partnering for value can be great for a state or city, but the devil is in the details.

The Stimulus Scare

Plus: Health Care Misconceptions, Performance Management Uncertainties, And More

Does Handheld Tech Actually Make Your Job Harder?

Plus: Relaxing Oversight on State Contracts, Making Referendum Signatures Public, And More

Goodbye to Good Research

Funding for state programs that research and analyze long-term issues is dwindling.

When Spending Really Is Out of Control

Plus: Progress on Hospital Infections, Another Bunch of Bad Co-Workers, And More

The Five Worst Types of Government Workers

Plus: Fees for Special Treatment, Sin-Tax Errors, And More

Telecommuting's Sluggish Adoption

Working from home has been touted as the future, so why isn't it catching on faster?

New Technology Can Be Tempting, But Don't Go For More Than You Can Handle

Plus: Imperiled Public Health Agencies, the Importance of Statistics, And More

Tracking Return-on-Investment for Higher Ed

Plus: Public-Private Partnerships, The End of the Rubber Room, And More

When Public Officials Play Hide and Seek

The low-tech telephone plays a key role in keeping government connected to citizens. Too bad, officials never pick up. (Photo: Chris Campbell/Flickr CC)

Tweeting Your Way to Better Management

Plus: Kentucky Loses a Resource, Texas Loses Some Fireworks, And More

Fiscal Fireworks

When we suggested fireworks displays are community-building events that shouldn't be eliminated, some of our readers lit up like the Fourth of July.

Civics Education Programs Around the Country

Here's a sampling of some courses and publications designed to educate young citizens about how government works.

Does Rudeness Get Results?

Plus: Civics Boot Camps, Quotables, And More

An Unproductive Bump

During layoffs, the effect of 'bumping rights' on the workplace is more than demoralizing.

When Budget Cuts Threaten a Sense of Community

Plus: Overworked Officers, Unanticipated Outcomes, And More

When Officials Play Hide-and-Seek

Plus: The magic of checklists, the non-jobs effects of the stimulus, and more

New Revenue, New Concerns

Contingency fee contracts are becoming hot, but have their limits.

Looking for Civics Lessons

Plus: Planning for the end of the stimulus, the D.A.R.E. problem, and more

Closing the Tech Gap

Plus: Walkability scores, e-mail advice, and more

Fatally-Flawed Mortality Statistics

Inaccurate information on death certificates impacts how states allocate health-care funds.

Looking for E-mail Wisdom

Plus: Budget tricks, taco cooperation, and more

Putting the Context in Context

Plus: The stimulus vs. productivity, the "anchoring effect," and more

Awaiting the Meaning of Waiting Lists

They are supposed to give you solid information about program demand. Instead, they mislead the public.

The Stimulus Dilemma: Creating Jobs vs. Boosting Productivity

Plus: The phantom toll road, red-light camera accidents, and more

The Buck Stops Where?

Plus: The jargon divide, even more questionable stimulus spending, and more

Government and the Stress Mess

Layoffs and furloughs are taking a toll on those who are still on the job.

Taxi Triumphs

Plus: Unreported swine flu stats, outsourced water bills, and more

Public Dollars, Private Perks and a Bouquet of Criticism

Is it ever okay to buy get-well-soon flowers with taxpayer money?

Recession: Not the Time to Gut Employee Training Programs

Plus: The final word on flowers, the perils of bad data, and more

The States' Stupid Budget Tricks

This year may set a record for gimmicks they used to balance their books.

Private Perks are Nice, But Not at Public Expense

Overstated savings, underestimated budgets, and more

Public Spending: Is a Little Warmth a Good Investment?

Plus: The problem with school vending machines, a technology reality check, and more

The Management Challenge of Bad Data

Obstacles to coming up with solid, accurate numbers to measure program performance are all over the place.

For Good Data, Context Counts

Robbing pensions to pay Paul, making customers happy while they wait, and more

When Revenues Don't RSVP

Plus: Useless news bulletins, the tweeting-texting-traffic conundrum, and more.

Few Payoffs for Overtime Pay

It can be a drag on pensions and the bottom line.

Dusty Data

Plus: Getting a fix on the price of government, one state that's all smiles right now, and more

Recession Aggression

Keeping an eye on California, how most states are bungling stimulus accountability, and more

Bidding Boards Goodbye

Boards and commissions can be expensive--whether or not they meet.

Going Too Far on Furloughs?

Plus: The big pencil, the pressure to appear overloaded, and more

When Tech Advancements Are Really Retreats

Plus: Under-reporting homicides, under-sharing best practices, and more

Performance Rules

Managing for results is making a bigger difference during this downturn.

Which Tech is Dreck?

Plus: The questionable effectiveness of tax incentives, what happens when pilots fly blind, and more

Putting Performance in Child-Welfare Services

Plus: Whether CEOs matter, the public-private slowdown, and more

Who Should Fix the Potholes?

Sometimes it saves money to outsource government work. But don't assume that.

What Public Managers Want

Readers of the B&G Report tell the top two qualities they're looking for in an employee.

Those Two Little Management Words

Plus: The possible demise of a performance institution, management lessons from a weight-loss program, and more
May 20, 2009

Manager's Reading List

A running list of must-reads for public managers, suggested by readers of The B&G Report

Insight on Incentives

Plus: Paying for snitches, the power of putting data on a map, and more

No Time for Budget Busting

Stimulus or no stimulus, cost overruns are as dangerous as ever.

What Do Public Managers Want?

Plus: saving on Medicaid, the problem with building consensus, and more

Using Stimulus Funds for Parks

Readers of the B&G Report respond to the idea of using federal stimulus dollars for quality-of-life projects.

Stimulating Conversation on Parks and Golf Courses

Plus: Adaptability and flexibility, California's new stimulus watchdog, and more

The Vacancy Game

An odd route to budgeting flexibility comes from banking unfilled job slots.

A Stimulus Hole-in-One

Plus: Taxes vs. fees, unaccountable accountability, and more
March 8, 2009

Measuring Livability and Performance

The Oregon Progress Board was created in the late 1980s to develop statewide livability indicators and monitor progress on Oregon's statewide strategic plan. It certainly...

"Silly" Stimulus Spending

Plus: The balanced-budget myth, Oregon's progressive Progress Board, and more

Coming Together, Breaking Apart

To consolidate or not to consolidate: a puzzling question.

Park That Stimulus!

Plus: How informing patients can lower Medicaid costs, a great resource for performance reporting, and more

When Program Funds Go Awry

Plus: Improving 311 systems, the pain of conference calls, and more

The Lure of the Layoff

There are plenty of costly mistakes to make when you try to balance a budget through personnel freezes, cuts or early retirements.
December 31, 2008

Plugging Leaks

Fifteen years ago, when a new business tried to put down roots in Kansas, the business owner had to mail in a paper registration and...

A Gift List for Managers

Plus: How to fix failed institutions, keeping track of budget cuts, and more

Opposite Day

Plus: A state-city disconnect, an entirely unscientific poll about performance measures, and more

Afraid to Fire?

Plus: The problem with a one-year check-up, unspent money in Tulsa, and more

The Election's Over: Time to Start Worrying

Plus: The decline of the citizen survey, using the Web to change attitudes about government, and more

The Sweet Spot in Sour Times

When times are tough, politicians and managers have the cover to make hard choices.

A Simple Idea for Saving on Health-care costs

Plus: Losing credit in Hartford, fed-state stat spat, and more
October 15, 2008

Many Happy Tax Returns

States and the federal government might be able to save a fair amount of money if they paid attention to some developments in Oregon, according...

Management Prognostications

Plus: Our own predictions for the year, government's "big pencil," and more

Executioner's Song

There is a lot of fanfare when a new program is signed into law. But then, it disappears from sight. Why is that?

When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Get Managing

Plus: A Good Idea from Oregon, the truth about state "wellness programs," and more

The Face of Government

Plus: State boards in limbo, the power of picking up the phone, and more

B&G Interview: Questions for Bob Wise

A conversation with the former West Virginia governor and the current president of the Alliance for Excellent Education

Assessing a Hot Button

Some of the problems with property taxes could be solved on the management end.

The Problem with Acronyms

Plus: Managers Reading List, training for waving a flag, and more

Letting It All Hang Out

The latest political buzzword is transparency. But it may not be the cure-all it's cracked up to be.

When Technology Gets You Down

Plus: Looking for a date, flawed state audits, and more

The Often Fictional Organization Chart

Plus: States giving cities the shaft, letting citizens sit on pension boards, and more

Learning from Losers

Best practices are all well and good. We make a case for a center to study the worst.

Do States Care About Cities?

Plus: Low ethical standards, the Rubber Room, and more

B&G Interview: Questions for John Turcotte

A conversation with one of the nation's top experts on program evaluations

Is Your Government an Ethical Place?

Plus: Generational conflicts in the workplace, how building maintenance reduces staff turnover, and more

The Meeting Morass

There are way too many of them, they take too long and don't accomplish much. Can meetings be fixed?

Do Politics Get in the way of Sensible Initiatives?

Plus: Telecommuting breeds discontent, sick public-sector workers, and more
December 31, 2007

Growth & Taxes

It's been known for a long time that obsolete state tax systems are not producing the revenue states need. But what's becoming clear today is...
December 31, 2007

Breathing Room

On January 29, Florida's voters will decide whether to approve a constitutional amendment -- sent to them by the state legislature -- that would set sharp...
December 31, 2007

Baiting Hooks

Tax incentives have long been endorsed as the highway to prosperity -- attracting businesses, providing jobs and enriching the state. That's been conventional wisdom in...
December 31, 2007

Staying Stable

We'd always take a tax cut, of course," says David Johnson, the former chairman of the Ohio Manufacturers' Association. Nothing surprising in those words, but...

Keeping Meetings Meaningful

Plus: Roadblocks to shared services, private-sector succession planning, and more

The Future Is Now

It's one thing to attract young people to government jobs. It's another to keep them there.

Public Managers' Time-Vampires

Plus: Why to avoid group e-mails, taxing other states' muni bonds, and more

Why Do Employees Leave the Public Sector?

Plus: Public vs. private salaries, sharing data over the Web, and more

An Accidental Outcome

When officials act quickly to solve a problem, they may fail to look at the long-term effects -- and those can create new complications.

The Coffee-Stain Index

Plus: Higher-than-expected turnover, the importance of old-fashioned written materials, and more

Reasons for Leaving

Plus: A great tool for performance reporting, our Journalist of the Month Award, and more

An Ounce of Encouragement

Some states and localities are taking steps to get constituents to do what they ought to do anyway.

"Low-Hanging Fruit" and Other Annoying Phrases

Plus: Overly expensive -- and overly designed -- logos, the Philadelphia Productivity Bank, and more

Don't Ask

The more thoroughly you measure the depths of any problem, the bigger that problem will appear to be.

B&G Interview: Questions for Carlos Alvarez and George Burgess

A conversation with the mayor and county manager of Miami-Dade

Nerve-wracking Government Jargon

Plus: Unacceptably low graduation rates, the "paperful" office, and more

The Listening Post

One of the toughest things for states or localities to do is get bona fide input from citizens on how they're doing.

How to Get Employees to Sign Up for a "Voluntary" Effort

Plus: The broadband ZIP-code gap, transportation safety for emergency responders, and more

B&G Interview: Questions for Laura Chick

A conversation with the controller for the city of Los Angeles

The Future of Performance Management

Plus: The price of promptness, the problem with playing it safe, and more

B&G Interview: Questions for John Cape

A conversation with former New York Governor George Pataki's budget director.
March 1, 2007

Numbers, Crunched

If budgets are financial plans, then CAFRs tell you what happened to the plan. So why don't more people pay attention to them?

Do You Know What You Own?

A surprising number of states and localities don't have the kind of inventory of their assets that a decent shoe store has.

Speed Limits

Response time is the easiest but not necessarily the best measure of performance.

When Boomers Retire

A number of states are looking to career-building programs to grow their workforces of the future.

Short on Oversight

States and localities are outsourcing more of their services, but management of the contracts is in dire need of an upgrade.

Plugging In

Performance measures are finally being taken out of the box and applied to agency plans and budgets.

Gaming the Numbers

Many of the statistics policy makers use today are set in concrete but made of quicksand.

Time For A Check Up

An independent performance audit can help an agency deliver services more efficiently and effectively.

Apples to Umbrellas

Criteria and formulas for basic performance measures are so varied, comparing data from one state to another is often a fruitless exercise.

Loving a Loser

Award-winning programs usually spawn copycats, but there may be good ideas to replicate from innovative projects that falter.

Cashing Out

Our household is just like a state: good at forecasting revenue, but when it comes to expenditures, things get dicier.

A Balancing Act

Contracting out services can benefit the bottom line, but not always. The trick is to figure out when it does and doesn't.

A Little Less Input, Please

Gathering all the public input you can may sound like a good idea, but it's often more of a pain than a panacea.
November 1, 2004

A Mental Case

Even as doubts grow about using performance data in budgeting, mental health agencies provide fresh evidence of the benefits.
September 1, 2004

Checking Out Reality

One of the easiest ways to balance a budget is simply to predict savings that may or may not ever come to pass.
July 1, 2004

Forward Pass

It's important to understand that five-year forecasts are going to be wrong, but it's good to do them anyway.
May 1, 2004

Applauding a Performance

A new report can help agency officials and lawmakers use performance measures more effectively.
March 1, 2004

When Less Is Not More

Some agencies don't gather data that could help them manage better-- because it might make them look bad.
February 1, 2004

A Case of Neglect

Why Health Care Is Getting Worse, Even Though Medicine Is Getting Better
January 1, 2004

Going for the Goal

Applying the principles of managing for results to running a child's soccer team leads to some unexpected outcomes.
November 1, 2003

A Heads Up On Hype

Overselling a project can have unfortunate consequences, among them earning the distrust of legislators.
September 1, 2003

Bye, Bye Early Bird

A late budget is a clear sign that unproductive politics are overwhelming a government's sensible management.
July 1, 2003

In-House Outlaws

Catching every bit of fraud in government can result in what a county official calls 'spending a dime to chase a nickel.'
May 1, 2003

The Prized Employee

Governments are in the position of trying to reward good performers-- without being able to give raises or bonuses.
March 1, 2003

Coming To Terms

Fuzzy language is a big impediment to good management--and to understanding the way government really works.
January 1, 2003

A Data Deficiency

The lack of good information to help voters make intelligent decisions on ballot measures is startling.
November 1, 2002

Making Comparisons

People may not care how clean the average street is, but they sure want to know how their street compares to others.
September 1, 2002

You Can't Bank On It

When a state or local agency has money left at the end of the year, a spendthrift mentality tends to take over.
July 1, 2002

Proof Positive

Louisiana has undergone a sea change in the use of performance information. Managing for results is working there.
May 1, 2002

Control Freaks

States and localities probably spend more money enforcing incredibly restrictive rules than they lose on waste and fraud.
January 1, 2002

The Terminator

Even for those governments that have mechanisms to hasten the firing process, it can still be laborious to get rid of deadwood.
November 1, 2001

Bad-News Budgeting

When revenues dry up, states and localities tend to make cuts that leave them less able to deliver services effectively.
September 1, 2001

Ending the Gotcha Game

The more managers are free to admit an impending failure without fear of being throttled, the better off a government will be.
July 1, 2001

The Good Book

A new report on making results-based state government work is chock- full of commonsense recommendations.
May 1, 2001

Getting the Grouse Out

Problems crop up when the grievance process is so complex and time- consuming that it stifles managers and employees.
March 1, 2001

Paying the Bill

States need a more careful process of estimating the future financial impact of legislation before legislators pass it.
January 1, 2001

Training Wheels

Most states can't tell you, with any authority, how much agencies spend on training or how wisely they spend it.
November 1, 2000

Resume Follies

Credentials may be important, but the skills, abilities, knowledge and behavior of applicants are at least equally so.
September 1, 2000

Keeping Secrets

Regardless of real-world pressures, data should be made public. Absent good information, bad information will prevail.
July 1, 2000

Truth in Measurement

Verifying the accuracy of statistics generated by performance measures seems to be the last step in the process.
May 1, 2000

The Centralization Continuum

States and local governments have been swinging like a pendulum between powerful and weak central controls.
March 1, 2000

The Rise of Cost Accounting

Governments are finally beginning to figure out how to develop solid figures for the cost of the services they provide.
January 1, 2000

Suggestion-Box Sickness

Employee idea boxes seem like an obvious way to foster the ballyhooed notion of `continuous improvement.' So why don't they work?