Category Archives: Intergovernmental Relations

ICMA seeks to continue strong 
intergovernmental relations

Source: Ed Brock, American City and County, December 16, 2009

Some local and state government officials say that cooperation between them and federal government agencies is better than it has been in a long time, however, the Washington-based International City/County Management Association (ICMA) sees plenty of room for improvement. It has released a whitepaper that calls for a new kind of partnership between the state and local levels and the federal government.

In “Restoring the Intergovernmental Partnership: What Needs to Change,” ICMA calls for a new intergovernmental structure that would be similar to the Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations (ACIR) that was disbanded in 1996 after 37 years of operation. “Rather than a reactive situation where we’re jumping into something after it gets going, we’d like to work closely with our partners in the federal government in a more thoughtful way so that we can work with them on the policy questions and problems over time,” ICMA Deputy Executive Director Elizabeth Kellar says.

Health Care Reform and American Federalism: The Next Inter-Governmental Partnership

Source: Michael Sparer, State Coverage Initiatives, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, September 2009

Perhaps due to the speed of the current debate, however, federal policymakers have largely ignored two issues critical to the implementation of any new legislation: first, how will new federal rules fit with the nation’s complicated and entrenched set of inter-governmental health care partnerships; and second, how will those rules accommodate the extraordinary inter-state (and intra-state) variation in every aspect of the nation’s health care system? This issue brief addresses these issues. It begins with a review of the evolution of the nation’s inter-governmental health care partnership, followed by a discussion of how proposed federal reforms to expand Medicaid, to create a health insurance exchange, and to restructure the health care delivery system might impact that partnership. The brief concludes by encouraging policymakers to establish a task force, work-group, or some similar institutional mechanism that would focus on the federalism and implementation implications of both proposed and enacted reforms.

Partnering for innovation and sustainability

Source: James W. Marcum, The Bottom Line: Managing Library Finances, Vol. 21 no. 3, 2008
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
The purpose of this paper is to suggest that a more deliberate strategy of partnering be considered by library administrators.

An organization can innovate more successfully by carefully collaborating with other organizations.

Originality/value – Guidelines for selecting and establishing partnerships are offered, along with illustrations of effective library partnering.

Knowledge Sharing in Public Sector Organizations: The Effect of Organizational Characteristics on Interdepartmental Knowledge Sharing

Source: Annick Willem and Marc Buelens, Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, Volume 17 no. 4, October 2007

From the abstract:     
Public sector organizations are mainly knowledge-intensive organizations, and to exploit their knowledge, effective knowledge sharing among the different departments is required. We focus on specific characteristics of public sector organizations that increase or limit interdepartmental knowledge sharing. Three types of organization-specific coordination mechanisms directly influence knowledge sharing between departments. Organizations are also characterized by members’ social identification and trust, which in the absence of power games are assumed to create a knowledge-sharing context. Data are collected by a questionnaire survey in the public sector. The sample consists of 358 cooperative episodes between departments in more than 90 different public sector organizations. Structural equation modeling reveals the importance of lateral coordination and trust. The combination of power games and informal coordination seems to be remarkably beneficial for knowledge sharing. Furthermore, compared with other public sector organizations, government institutions have organizational characteristics that are less beneficial for knowledge sharing. 

Consolidation and Shared Services: A Proven Method for Saving Tax Dollars

Source: Christine Smith, Ed Henschel, and Rob Lefeber, Government Finance Review, Vol. 24 no. 5, October 2008
(subscription required)

For years, municipalities nationwide have looked to consolidation, or shared-service arrangements, in an ongoing effort to reduce or stabilize costs and maintain a high level of service in the face of ever-shrinking revenues.

Transforming Government through Collaborative Innovation

Source: Satish Nambisan, Public Manager, Vol. 37 no. 3, Fall 2008
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
This article identifies four different roles that government agencies can pursue in network-based collaborative innovation and problem-solving: innovation integrator, innovation seeker, innovation champion, and innovation catalyst. It draws on examples to elaborate on these four roles. It also briefly considers the organizational competencies and capabilities that government agencies would need to succeed in such network-based collaborative innovation initiatives.

Attempted Merger

Source: By JOSH GOODMAN, Governing, November 2008

States are pushing localities to consolidate — and localities are pushing back.

…… The common thread is that state officials in many places see local government as bloated and fractured. The result is a tense debate between states and localities over just what local government should look like.

Shared Municipal Services

Source: Government, Law and Policy Journal, Vol. 9 no. 2 Winter 2007

This issue of the Government, Law and Policy Journal contains the following articles:
• The New Push for Shared Services – Paul D. Moore
The Framework for Municipal Cooperation and Sharing Services – Lorraine Cortés-Vazques
• Opinions of the Office of the State Comptroller Help to Shape Local Options Under General Municipal Law Article 5-G – Laura Skibinski
• Shared Services in the Context of Home Rule Powers – James D. Cole
• Use of Financial Incentives to Promote Change – Senator Elizabeth O’C. Little
• Legal Framework for Providing Local Government Services: Water Supply – Assemblyman Sam Hoyt and Assemblyman Darrel J. Aubertine
• Some Observations on Annexation, and a Hearty Welcome to the Asian Century – Kenneth W. Bond
• The Countywide School District: Cost Saving Measure; Extremely Difficult to Achieve – Edward W. McClenathan
• Avenues Toward City-County Consolidation in New York – Amy Lavine
• Merging Lcoal Governments–Consolidations, Dissolutions and Transfers of Functions? – Robert C. Batson
• Revisiting Regionalism to Streamline Governance in Buffalo and Erie County, New York – Craig R. Bucki
• BOCES: A Model for Municipal Reform? – Robert W. Ward
• Lessons on Sharing Services from the First Two Years of the SMSI Program: The Highlights – Gerald Benjamin, Michael Hattery and Rachel John

Web 2.0: The Future of Collaborative Government

Source: Deloitte LLP, June 2008

Today’s tech-savvy world demands tech-savvy government. Increasingly connected citizens and stakeholders are asking governments to deliver services more rapidly and efficiently. Yet the public service bureaucracies that form the governmental backbone often take a conservative approach to adopting the latest Internet-based technologies to accelerate service delivery.

On June 3, 2008, Deloitte and the National Academy of Public Administration convened a group of government leaders, subject matter experts and forward thinkers to develop a road map to help the next administration navigate the work force and organization changes that need to occur to move to a more collaborative model of government. View media coverage of the event.

In the spirit of Web 2.0, the session incorporated a variety of interactive elements including a collaborative support environment with a pre-event survey, prediction markets , discussion boards and blogs; visual cartography (download four charts from the session below); voting tools; and Blackberry comment and question submissions during the live event.

Chart 1: Big Ideas
Chart 2: Future of Collaborative Government
Chart 3: Web 2:0 – Implementation
Chart 4: Web 2.0
Closing the Gap on Transformation
Grass Roots Government and Web 2.0

Shared Municipal Services

Source: Government, Law and Policy Journal
Winter 2007

The Winter 2007 Government, Law and Policy Journal focuses on key aspects of municipal cooperation, consolidation and service sharing among local governments in New York State. The idea for an issue devoted to this topic came out of the Government Law Center’s recent partnership with the NYS Department of State to develop tools, such as a user-friendly manual and an interactive network of educational institutions and municipal associations, to assists local governments that endeavor to work together to provide services to citizens of New York. The lead article by New York’s Secretary of State Lorraine Cortes-Vazques provides a framework for municipal cooperation. The remaining eleven articles express a variety of perspectives from state and local government, the legislative and executive branches, academia and other professions who work in the field.