Category Archives: Local Government

State and Local Pandemic Influenza Preparedness: Medical Surge

Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General, OEI-02-08-00210, September 2009

This report determines the extent to which selected States and localities have prepared for a medical surge in response to an influenza pandemic and have conducted and documented exercises that test their medical surge preparedness. We found that although the selected States and localities that we reviewed are making progress in preparing for a medical surge, more needs to be done to improve States’ and localities’ ability to respond to an influenza pandemic.

Study Shows Persistent Pattern of Discrimination Against Gay and Lesbian Employees by State and Local Governments

Source: Williams Institute for Sexual Orientation Law & Public Policy, Press Release, September 23, 2009

Unconstitutional discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation occurs with the same high frequency in state and local governments as in the private sector, Brad Sears, Executive Director of the Williams Institute, told a congressional panel today.

Sears presented the findings during a hearing of the House Education and Labor Committee on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act of 2009, which would prohibit job discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity by employers with 15 or more employees. Workplace discrimination on those bases is now legal in a majority of states.

The finds come from a year-long study of workplace issues faced by gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered individuals across the country. The study – the most comprehensive review of discrimination against LGBT people in the public sector – examined employment surveys, administrative and legal complaints, wage records, and other publications to evaluate the extent and persistence of LGBT discrimination.
See also:
Appendices- 50 State Reports

H5N1 Planning Concerns for Local Governments

Source: Robert O. Schneider, Journal of Emergency Management, Vol. 7 no. 1, January/February 2009
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
The objectives of this essay are two-fold. First, it will review the very real threat an avian influenza pandemic poses to local communities. Second, it will identify several unaddressed but critical concerns that require the attention of local governments as they refine their pandemic preparedness planning. It is concluded that greater coordination with the private sector, improved public health surveillance efforts, planning for public education, and greater attention to ethical issues are essential concerns that should be on the agenda of local governments as they proceed with their preparations.
See also:
Pandemic influenza vaccination distribution: Evaluating the policies of several large municipalities across the United States
Source: Eric S. Raymond, Doctoral Student; P. Edward French, Journal of Emergency Management, Vol. 7 no. 3, May/June 2009

The Promise of Going ‘Lean’

Source: Ken Miller, Governing, May 21, 2009

In these incredibly tough budget times, you would think government agencies would be working extra hard to find ways of doing things more efficiently. Unfortunately, leaders across the country are grabbing the same old playbook — hiring freezes, travel restrictions, delaying maintenance and so on.

They’re not examining the actual work being done — the operations are fundamentally the same. Instead, they’re left with tired, overworked employees trying to do the same operations with fewer resources.

This approach creates an illusion of efficiency. Real efficiency is about looking at the systems — the way work itself is designed — and finding ways to streamline the work so that we do our important tasks very well in less time and with less hassle. Systems are where the costs are incurred. Systems are where the customers show up. Systems are where the value of the agency is created. And systems appear to be the last thing anyone is focusing on.

Sarasota County Leads the Way in Sustainability

Source: ICMA, 2009

Sarasota County, Florida, is a state and national leader in sustainability. Long before sustainability became a buzzword for local government, Sarasota County embraced sustainable practices with the construction of an environmentally-friendly library in 1986.

Sarasota’s success in achieving its sustainability goals is due in large part to its recognition that sustainability goes beyond environmental stewardship. The county defines sustainability as a balance among people, planet, and prosperity. Community goals must address environmental improvement, long-term economic viability, and social well-being.
See also:
Sustainable Communities: Successful Strategies from Sarasota County, Florida – audio conference (purchase required)

Residents Unsatisfied With Local Governments, Report Shows

Source: American City and County, April 27, 2009

Local communities lag well behind the federal government and the private sector in satisfying their residents, according to a study by Lansing, Mich.-based non-profit Cobalt Community Research and the Ann Arbor, Mich.-based CFI Group. The Cobalt Citizen Satisfaction Survey (CCSS) found that most of the dissatisfaction lies with how local tax dollars are spent.

Implications of the Family and Medical Leave Act for Local Governments: Helping Administrators Understand the Law

Source: P. Edward French, Review of Public Personnel Administration, Vol. 29 no. 1, March 2009
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) was enacted in 1993 to help full-time employees balance the conflicting demands of their work and personal lives. Private employers with 50 or more employees (at a single work site) and all federal, state, and local government employers are required to comply with the act. Since its inception, many local governments have been sued for violations of its guidelines. This research provides case examples from across the United States to illustrate why many local governments have faced litigation under this act. Several cases filed against cities and counties over the past 7 years are discussed. The intent of this analysis is to highlight many of the legal rights and protections that the FMLA affords to local government employees, to provide a practical understanding and guide for compliance with the requirements of this employment legislation.

Trade-off Time: How Four States Continue to Deliver

Source: Pew Center on the States, Issue Brief, February 2009

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.