Category: Magazines

Whos Afraid of Central Park? Modeling Collaborative Governance

New Yorks Central Park hit bottom in the late 1970s. Graffiti marred nearly every man-made surface. Litter blew across desiccated lawns. The city government, burdened by burgeoning costs and dwindling resources, had no plausible plan to fix the park. But today Central Park is once …

What Would GS System Pay Reform Look Like?

The debate over federal compensation continues, particularly as it relates to salaries in government and the private sector. Furloughs as part of sequestration have magnified the issue.

What Will Bad Customer Service Cost Government?

An examination of the latest data from the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI). The ACSI Federal Government Report 2014 outlines the effects of failing customer service and poor professional behavior by agency staff.

What’s the Plan?

Paula Ketter outlines what readers can expect in the March 2016 issue of
The Public Manager.

What Non acquisition Managers Need to Know About Procurement

The role of the nonacquisition manager is critical to proper stewardship and oversight and to achievement of strategic outcomes. I learned this during the scrub-down of many misbegotten federal acquisitions while in government and as a government contractor. With this in mind, I have culled, from the recently updated How to Write a Statement of Work (SOW) and its companion reference tool,
Federal Statements of Work: A Practical Guide, those best practice contributions that…

What Keeps State CIOs Up at Night?

The National Association of State Chief Information Officers has been surveying state IT leaders on issues of importance to them for 10 years. In the latest report, security topped the priority strategies, management processes, and solutions top 10.

What Is Lost, and So What?

With the retirement of the first baby boomer, the so-called retirement tsunamihas begun to hit the federal government.No matter whose figures you use, the baby boomers are beginning to retire in increasing numbers, and many senior members will le…

What Do Feds See in the Green Mirror?

How does the U.S. government view its sustainability efforts, compared with how businesses perceive their own? As it turns out, there is a great deal of similarity between what the government sees in the mirror and what the private sector sees in its reflection. Government and private businesses share many of the same core sustainability values, expect comparable bottom-line benefits, and encounter some of the same barriers to further progress. What’s more, they can probably learn a lot of the same lessons.

We Want You: Recruiters Target Mission-Critical Talent

The public deserves a government with a top-drawer workforce. Thats why recruiting talent is a mission-critical task. Attracting the best and brightest employees to its ranks should be the top priority of the federal government because Americans rely on these workers to care for our wounded soldiers, conduct cutting-edge health resear…

Welcoming Wellness

The new Winning with Wellness report from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce reviews best practices for workplace wellness programs.

Volunteers: An Untapped Resource

According to Tapping America, a 2002 report by the Partnership for Public Service (PPS), the federal government needs to hire more than 250,000 employees within the next two years. At the same time, it is facing the looming prospect …

Wanted: Data-Driven Talent Development

The insight that public managers can garner from talent data is almost limitless. More importantly, the right analysis can help them answer far-reaching questions. But do agencies have the tools and resources in place to maximize data analytics?

Virtual Worlds and Social Media Drive Results and Training

With increased constraints on both time and budgets, today’s leadership must find creative solutions and strategies to deliver needed training. The National Highway Institute (NHI) has harnessed the power of virtual solutions, mobile and social media, informational videos, and distance learning to complement its traditional training role and respond to the challenges its partners and stakeholders face. These tools allow NHI to innovatively solve issues such as travel restrictions and time constraints while maintaining high-quality and cost-effective instruction. The new delivery formats also allow NHI to reach a wider audience over the past few years.

Virtual Reorganization: Service Delivery and Function Sharing

Government reorganization is a high-risk undertaking. It typically requires a lot of political capital, time, and effort. And success is not guaranteed, even if the reorganization takes place. Does government need to be reorganized? Certainly! But there are different approaches for doing so, and in some cases, using a virtual ap…

Virtual Reorganization: Results Mapping and Collaboration

Experience has amply demonstrated that structure clearly matters. Well-organized, coherent, and integrated agencies are more likely to be efficient and effective than those that are poorly structured and have fragmented programs. Reorganization is hard, time-consuming, and costly work. But, in the end, it can be worth the effort and result in h…

Virtual Networks An Opportunity for Government

Todays government relies on a broad network that extends beyond other public-sector entities to include the private sector, nonprofit organizations, community groups, and individual citizens. Government entities need to work effectively across …

Virginia Hill

President of Young Government Leaders and program manager at the Center for Government Leadership at the Partnership for Public Service, Hill talks about developing talent in government, and her views on Millennials as public servants.

Virginia Transportation Agency Seeks Performance-Based Certification

Departments of Transportation (DOTs) across the country are challenged to maintain their roads and bridges in the face of large fiscal budgets cuts. Because the work does not diminish with the budget cuts, much of the labor and inspection processes are being transitioned to personnel in private industry. Certification programs help ensure consistent levels of quality across individuals who inspect the manufacture, delivery, and application and maintenance the roads and bridges. The Virginia DOT…

VA Taps into New and Innovative Solutions

The Veterans Affairs Center for Innovation (VACI) identifies, prioritizes, funds, tests, and deploys the most promising solutions to VA’s most important challenges. The VACI team is led by Jonah J. Czerwinski, who also serves as senior advisor to the Secretary of Veterans Affairs. The team taps the talent and expertise of individuals both inside and outside government by funding new, innovative solutions that increase veterans’ access to VA services, improve the quality of services delivered, enhance the performance of VA operations, and reduce or control the cost of delivering those services that Veterans and their families receive. VACI manages a $100 million portfolio of more than 120 innovations.

Using the Internet to Make State Budgets Transparent

A thing that is transparent, in one sense, is characterized by visibility or accessibility of information, especially concerning business practices. Although he may never have used the term, Thomas Jefferson was very fond of the concept of transparency to achieve accountability: …

Using Real-Time Data to Create Smarter, More Responsive Aid

The U.S. Agency for International Development paired social media with official statistics on food price inflation and applied the results to its developmental work. The current information enabled it to form a new digital picture of financial inclusion.

Using Customer Feedback Proactively

Debra Holland shows how the IRS is using customer feedback proactively. The Customer Early Warning System, non-existent before 2012, has helped millions of taxpayers, saved IRS and partner resources, and given team members a sense of accomplishment in getting issues resolved more quickly than ever before. 

Use a Competency Library to Build a Talent Management System

A competency library is a critical foundation for building an integrated talent management system. In the Talent Management Handbook (2010 second edition), authors Kim Ruyle and Evelyn Orr state that the value of competencies is proven to positively impact both mission and financial return-on-investment. Agencies that use a comprehensive competency library to build their integrated talent management system are able to realize human capital and budgetary gains.

Urgent: Mastering Information Overload in Government by Pete Marksteiner

Federal workers are overwhelmed by the volume of information at their disposal and the increasing expectation that they manage it with great dispatch. In 1974 when scientists at the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency started connecting computers at different locations to share research, they probably couldnt have imagined t…

Unleashing the Power of Anytime Coaching

Recently, more public sector managers have incorporated techniques used by leadership and executive coaches into their management toolbox. Whats the payoff for becoming a manager-as-coach in todays busy workplace? One perception of using coaching techniques is that they take …

Understanding the Path Forward in Federal Human Capital

Efforts to refine the government’s pay and promotion system have floundered. How can we develop and bring a new model to the majority of government employees? Most federal employees work and are paid in a General Schedule system that has been in place since 1949, when a vastly different group of occupations, skill sets, and management principles were practiced. In the last decade, The Performance Institute, a think-tank in performance management and accountability for…

Trust: The Critical Factor in Leadership

The newspapers are riddled with stories of deceit and deception from leaders in both the commercial and government sectors. Leaders everywhere face the challenge of disenfranchised and disengaged employees, who, in many instances, attribute these …

Transparency, Governance, and Civic Engagement

I come from an academic background and thought of myself as a researcher. However, over time my work has drawn me into the policy world, which happens when one stays in Washington long enough. Policy is important, and straddling t…

Transforming the Military Health System

This article describes the current and possible future processes the Military Health System (MHS) uses to identify, assess, and select the medical-surgical products used to treat patients in peacetime and wartime. It outlines processes used in other …

Transforming Government through Collaborative Innovation

The performance of the next administration and, more broadly, the American government in the twenty-first century will be shaped by how well it adopts collaborative innovation and problem-solving approaches to harness external resources and …

Transforming Government Borders Into Common Ground

Boundary Spanning Leadership: Six Practices for Solving Problems, Driving Innovation, and Transforming Organizations Chris Ernst and Donna Chrobot-Mason (McGraw Hill, 2011) The authors of Boundary Spanning Leadership: Six Practices for Solving Problems, Driving Innovation, and Transforming Organizations…

Transforming Culture at the Public Buildings Service

How does a large organization change its cultural DNA? How could an organization whose purpose was providing space and technical expertise to the federal government become a relationship-based provider of workplace solutions that enable …

Training Asset Maps: Projecting Regional Workforce Needs

Government wants to be a catalyst for real-time job creation and retention. The public sector can make a bigger impact, though, by building the human capital infrastructure that private-sector employers use to address future labor market needs. Training asset maps are an integral component to building this human capital infrastructure.

Toward Hiring Excellence

The U.S. Office of Management and Budget and Office of Personnel Management have created a plan for agencies to improve their hiring practices.

Toward a High Performing Open Government

On the first day of his administration, President Obama issued the Memorandum on Transparency and Open Government: My administration is committed to creating an unprecedented level of openness in government. We will work together to ensure the public trust and establish a system of transparency, pub…

Tough Economic Times Call for Authentic Leaders

These are tough times for public servants. With the nation awash in debt, federal employees are sometimes branded as ineffective and inefficient. Floating around Washington, D.C., are proposals to extend the current two-year pay freeze to five years, increase employee retirement contributions, slash the federal workforce by 10 percent, and use furloughs and buyouts to manage cuts in agency budgets. Draconian, some say. Entirely possible, most admit. What should federal managers do? There is much advice on what to do, but little counsel on how to do it.

Three Trends Affect Social Media Adoption in Your Agency

While social learning is gaining in momentum among chief learning officers, chief talent officers, and heads of human resources, there are a number of barriers to adopting social learning for an organization. To implement social learning, one has to understand the larger trends affecting the changing workplace, as well as key barriers that prevent the adoption of social learning inside the organization. Three mega trends are having a huge impact on organizations: the increased use of social…

Think Differently: Update Your Stats to Unlock Outcomes

It has been more than 15 years since the CompStat management model was first introduced by the New York City Police Department (NYPD), sparking a movement that has profoundly affected public administration. CompStat has been successfully replicated in a wide variety of contexts in the United States …

The Winter Musings

New Directions Recently, The Public Managers Board of Editors met to help refresh the 2011-2012 editorial calendar. Coupled with feedback from other meetings and through online communications (What would we do without LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, GovLoop, and so forth?), we…

The Value of Smart Power in a Time of Transition

The latest in Joe Nye’s series of books about leadership and power, The Powers to Lead, builds upon his earlier writing concerning the paradox of power and the increasingly important concept of soft power to define a more advanced …

The State of 18F

According to a new GAO report, agencies that have partnered with 18F to improve IT functions have been happy with their experiences.

The Talent Factor

Peopletheir knowledge, skills, and attitudesare at the top of the mind of most senior executives because they know that in the knowledge economy, employee capability is the key to success. No longer are systems, processes, and technology the diff…

The Role of GIS in Emergency Management

The primary government agency for disaster response in the State of Hawaii is the Oahu Civil Defense Agency (OCDA), a department in the City and County of Honolulu. The Mayor acts as the CEO of OCDA and has the power to declare a disaster. Disasters are county specific. Each countyHonolulu, Maui, Ka…

The Responsive City

Stephanie Castellano reviews The Responsive City, a comprehensive guide for municipal leaders looking to make use of digital tools to make data-driven decisions, improve civic engagement, and create more responsive government entities.

The Rise of Gov 2.0 From GovLoop to the White House

A revolution is happening in government as the result of a new generation of government employees, the rise of Web 2.0 technologies, and the Obama Administrations focus on transparency, participation, and collaboration. Often called Gov 2.0, this next generation of government workers is marked by th…

The Remaking of the FLRA

An agency-wide turnaround led by Chairman Carol Waller Pope revived engagement levels and company culture.

The Public Sector and the Power of Us

Anyone who thinks change is easy should try asking their partner to change the side of the bed on which they sleep. Adjusting to the realities of a connected world is a more dramatic challenge, and change will take considerable time, but we should be clear about the scale of the expected change. …

The Program Managers View

The federal program management community is a highly visible group that manages more than $2.55 trillion dollars in annual budgets and oversees numerous programs critical to its constituencies. Despite this groups importance, the experiences and insights o…

The President,Outcomes, and Performance

Since Congress passed the Government Performance and Results Act of 1993, the federal government has been struggling to measure outcome rather than output.Agreement is universal that designing and implementing an outcome-based performance managem…

The Practice of Transformational Stewardship

The concept of transformational stewardship as a force for change was explored in Transforming Public and Nonprofit Organizations: Stewardship for Leading Change by James Edwin Kee and Kathryn E. Newcomer. But how does a public manager become a transformational steward? How is the concept of steward…

The Power of Coaching

Most people hear the word coach and instantly think sports coach. Some may think of a mentor they had when they first started their careers. But what is coaching all about? Coaching: A Definition Its important to understand how workers are using coaching to …

The PERI Data Exchange A Government Benchmarking Tool

The Public Entity Risk Institute (PERI) has developed a unique data warehouse of detailed information about public entity liability and workers compensation claims and exposures.This program, called the Data Exchange, answers the question frequen…

The Performance Imperative

In his inaugural address, President Obama laid out a significant challenge to the managers of the federal government and the public and private sector partners that support government programs: The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whe…

The People Side of Leadership: An Overlooked Opportunity

If you have ever had a colleague, boss, teacher, coach, mentor, or relative who made a genuine commitment to you, to help you do things you might not have believed you were capable of, then you know the power of commitment to another person. Indi…

The Path to an Efficient Government

The second edition of Moneyball for Government collects essays from politicians and government leaders who share how government can best use data to inform policy and funding decisions.

The Past Present and Future of Social Media At USGS

It’s no surprise that the use of social media within the government sector has been exploding over the past several years. The possibilities to improve government using social media are endless. Having a social presence is expected. It’s progressed to a point where, if someone asks if your agency is on Twitter, Facebook, or Google+, and you respond “no,” you’re scoffed at. While it’s tempting to jump into the water head first, you need to know what’s waiting for you beneath the surface. Here…

The Past Is Prologue: The Obama Technology Agenda

In Spring 2008, our The Public Manager article reflected on the progress of e-government under the Bush Administration and what it portended for the future of the new administration beginning January 20, 2009. While many of the themes and challenges cited then were relatively accurate, our self-cong…

The Obama Technology Agenda: Open, Transparent, and Collaborative

The Obama Administrations technology agenda is game-changing, bringing collaboration, participation, and transparency to government in a big way. As more information makes its way onto the Internet, an increased level of focus and flexibility is required to balance privacy and security concerns with…

The Obama Management Agenda: Five Steps Toward Transformation

In the Spring 2008 Special Issue of The Public Manager, nearly 20 current and former government executives, academicians, and private and nonprofit sector leaders outlined a management agenda for the incoming 44th President of the United States. Those authors were part of a luncheon seminar series i…

The Obama Budget Challenge

Every new administration comes into office with a fresh set of priorities, innovative ideas, and an agenda for accomplishing its version of change for the betterment of the American people. The Obama administration is no exception, and it has made clear that it will use the budget as a primary force…

The Next Wave of Civic Innovation

Several government entities at both the federal and local levels have started innovation-based programs that encourage fresh thinking and creative problem solving.

The Next Generation of Integrated Acquisition Environment

In October 2008, representatives of the federal acquisition community gathered at the Washington Hilton to honor ten government project teams whose excellence and innovation represented the best of breed in federal acquisition. One of those honor…

The New Administration’s Shared Services Opportunity

The shared services revolution began in the late 1980s with the adoption of commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) enterprise resource planning (ERP) software packages by leading commercial enterprises. These highly standardized and scalable technology platforms fully integrate administrative functions and…

The New Administration and the Meaning of Change

T Careful listening to the presidents talk of change holds the key for public managers and their programs. his discussion invites interested parties to listen in new ways to the messages and metamessages coming from the …

The National CPM Program

The Certified Public Manager (CPM) program in the United States is a nationally recognized professional development program. It is designed for federal, state, and local government managers, but the skills, knowledge, and competencies taught are …

The More Things Change

Ron Sanders, chairman of The Bureaucrat Inc. Board of Directors, introduces the first all-digital issue of The Public Manager. Although we have gone digital in an effort to be more timely, we haven’t abandoned our original mission: to serve today’s (and tomorrow’s) public managers by presenting the latest strategies, tools, and techniques to help you do your job better.

The Missing Voice in the Government Shutdown

On October 1, 2013, the federal government shut down. More than 800,000 civil servants were sent home. Another 1.6 million employees were left to carry the load. The government shutdown is more than numbers or statistics. The shutdown is about people.

The Limitations of Applying Private-Sector Models to Federal Operations

Total quality initiatives in the early 1990s, Vice President Gore’s National Partnership for Reinventing Government, and President G.W. Bush’s President’s Management Agenda each attempted to incorporate private-sector management best practices into federal operations. Now President Obama and Congress see a bloated federal bureaucracy requiring restructuring. Another round of reform initiatives will be no more successful in the critical area of labor cost control than past efforts until government leaders recognize that federal managers operate in a fundamentally different decision-making environment than their private-sector counterparts.