Pandemic influenza could produce a public health emergency that is more daunting than any other type of naturally occurring, accidental, or terrorist-instigated event that our nation has experienced or is likely to experience. First, an influenza pandemic could affect essentially every community in the nation almost simultaneously – i.e., within the space of a few weeks – and, if comparable to or more severe than the influenza pandemic of 1918, could result in 25 percent or more of the population ultimately experiencing life-threatening illness and/or being forced to dispense with normal activities to care for victims. Second, response activities within each affected community not only will need to be sustained for several months, generally with little or no outside help, but also might be degraded due to substantial influenza-induced absenteeism across the participating entities – public and private. Third, coping with degraded functioning in virtually every aspect of society could be so demanding as to preclude the initiation of significant recovery activities for many months.
From the press release:
As governors and policy leaders put together their budgets this year in the face of serious shortfalls, states that use performance data to make decisions about where to cut and what to keep are saving taxpayer dollars.
More and more states, spurred by one of the most difficult fiscal environments in years, are making policy decisions based on research measuring the performance of government programs. Trade-off Time: How Four States Continue to Deliver, a report released today by The Pew Center on the States, features four states–Indiana, Maryland, Utah and Virginia–that are leaders in measuring the performance of government programs, and are making smarter budget decisions as a result.
A new generation of workers expects unfettered access to technology tools. They may end up changing the way governments operate.
Generally considered a leader in the area of open government, Florida has a long history of providing access to the meetings and records of its government. This rich tradition of open government culminated in the 1992 general election when Florida voters overwhelmingly approved a constitutional amendment guaranteeing access to the records of all three branches of state government and to the meetings of the collegial bodies of state agencies and local governments at which public business is to be transacted or discussed.
Although both the open meetings law and the public records law have been amended since first enacted and some reforms made, never in Florida’s long history of open government have both laws been reviewed in their entirety. As a result, there are inconsistencies and redundancies in the law, and some argue that the state’s open government laws have failed to keep pace with today’s technology, resulting in an erosion of the public’s constitutional right of access to government meetings and records.
Source: Stateline.org, 2009
Most governors unveil their priorities in “state of the state addresses” or budget speeches presented to the legislatures early in the year. Below is a list of this year’s speeches and links to those that have occurred.
Source: Supplement, Public Administration Review, Vol. 68 no. S1, December 2008
From the introduction:
The featured authors cast considerable light on developments since the release of the National Commission on the State and Local Public Service’s report “Hard Truths/Tough Choices: An Agenda for State and Local Reform.” They note which of the various recommendations embedded in the report have taken root and which have not. They address the implications of Katrina and other new developments that the commission did not anticipate when we drafted our report. In sum, they provide a knowledge base that, in the spirit of the original commission, can help inform those committed to a new reform agenda.
• State and Local Governance Fifteen Years Later: Enduring and New Challenges – Frank J. Thompson
• Executive Orders and Administrative Control – Margaret R. Ferguson, Cynthia J. Bowling
• Continuity and Change in Executive Leadership: Insights from the Perspectives of State Administrators – Brendan F. Burke, Chung-Lae Cho, Deil S. Wright
• Strengthening Local Government Leadership and Performance: Reexamining and Updating the Winter Commission Goals – James H. Svara
• Personnel Reform in the States: A Look at Progress Fifteen Years after the Winter Commission – Lloyd G. Nigro, J. Edward Kellough
• State and Local Government Procurement and the Winter Commission – Matthew Potoski
• From Measurement to Management: Breaking through the Barriers to State and Local Performance – Mary Bryna Sanger
• The Evolution and Continuing Challenges of E-Governance – Sharon S. Dawes
• Electronic Funds and Benefits Transfers, E-Government, and the Winter Commission – Maureen A. Pirog, Craig L. Johnson
• State and Local Fiscal Sustainability: The Challenges – Jeffrey I. Chapman
• The Challenge of Strengthening Nonprofits and Civil Society – Steven Rathgeb Smith
• Looking a Gift Horse in the Mouth: Challenges in Managing Philanthropic Support for Public Services – Charles Brecher, Oliver Wise
• Learning from the States? Federalism and National Health Policy – Carol S. Weissert, Daniel Scheller
• Federalism Revised: The Promise and Challenge of the No Child Left Behind Act -Kenneth K. Wong
• Mega-Disasters and Federalism – Marc Landy
Source: Janet M. Kelly, State and Local Government Review, Vol. 40 no. 2, 2008
From the abstract:
In November 2006, the Board of Trustees of the Financial Accounting Foundation confirmed that the Governmental Accounting Standards Board had the jurisdictional authority to require Service Efforts and Accomplishments reporting in its financial accounting and reporting standard-setting activities for state and local governments. Reaction from the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) and other organizations representing states and local governments was swift and negative. These organizations championed performance measurement as a management tool but resisted the board’s agenda to enhance accountability through performance reporting. Understanding this contradiction is aided by an exploration of how institutionalized performance reporting can redefine accountability, sometimes to the detriment of achieving the service objectives it is intended to advance.
Source: Scott Lamothe, Meeyoung Lamothe, Richard C. Feiock, Urban Affairs Review, Vol. 44 No. 1, September 2008
From the abstract:
While scholars of local service delivery arrangements are fully aware the process is dynamic, research has tended to take the form of cross-sectional studies that are inherently static in nature. In this article, the authors model the determinants of production mode accounting for past delivery decisions. They find, not surprisingly, that there are strong inertial effects; previous delivery mode is a strong predictor of the current service delivery arrangement. More interestingly, the impact of the transaction cost nature of services on production choice is conditioned on past decisions, such as the extent of contracting and the type of vendors used. There is also evidence that contract management capacity and the competitiveness of the contracting environment are influential.
Some proposed changes to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) aimed directly at state and local governments and could amend the definitions of discrimination in the use of government services and facilities. However, according to the National Association of Counties (NACo), a Safe Harbor Provision would exempt public entities that had previously brought existing facilities into compliance with early ADA standards from having to further modify those facilities to comply with small changes to the standards.