Public Service Recognition Week 

The Academy celebrated Public Service Recognition Week from May 7-12, highlighting the accomplishments of our Fellows and sharing short pieces our Fellows wrote exclusively for this week. We've cataloged them below, but first, a short blog from our President and CEO, Terry Gerton. 

Public Service: A Career with Purpose

By Terry Gerton

I didn’t start adulthood envisioning a life of public service. I accepted an appointment to West Point as a way to pay for college and make sure I had a job when I graduated. This, I thought, was a very practical, but not particularly altruistic, logic. My plan to serve out my five-year commitment and then move on to a civilian career went awry somewhere along the line, and I found myself, after 20 years of exciting, rewarding and challenging assignments, retiring from the Army.

Read the full post at Gov Exec

 

Monday

The Typical Municipal Budgeting Process is Rigged Against Infrastructure Investments

By Michael Pagano

Meeting the challenge of maintaining our nation’s infrastructure is daunting at best. The American Society of Civil Engineers has published an annual report card on the nation’s infrastructure deficit estimates our infrastructure deficit at $2.2 trillion. A key component of this is budgeting not only for the building of the infrastructure but for the maintenance as well. 

Read the full piece here.

 

Engagement Transparency Needed to Address Water Infrastructure Needs

By Greg Lindsey

The tragedy-travesty in Flint, Michigan that captured the nation’s attention for a brief time in 2016 illustrates, if nothing else, the tradeoffs and tensions inherent in meeting our demands for clean water. Seen in the best light, the contamination of Flint’s drinking water supply resulted from under-appreciation or disregard of available evidence, over-emphases on cost-control, and a lack of understanding of the risk and consequences of making the wrong decision.

Read the full piece here.

 

Looking Ahead to a World Class City - Planning is Key

By Elizabeth Fretwell

As city officials and planners, we have the ability to touch the lives of our residents and shape the future for how our cities develop.  Infrastructure, such as our roadways, is a major component that impacts our residents and visitors.  Investments in roadway infrastructure have the potential to mold development and determine where and how much occurs.  The fact is that transportation and the related roadway infrastructure affects decisions our citizens make about where to live, work and play – a direct impact to the quality of life for our residents and visitors as well. 

Read the full piece here.

 

Tuesday

Grappling with Intergovernmental Relations

By Marilyn Rubin

While academics continue to grapple with definitions and models of Intergovernmental Relations (IGR),  the real world rolls on with intensifying awareness that different levels of government cannot "go it on their own." I briefly illustrate the realities of  IGR  by looking at infrastructure, disaster relief, and the social safety net (with Medicaid as an illustration) — three issues  under study by NAPA's Standing Committee on Intergovernmental Relations.

Read the full piece here.

 

Wednesday

The Good Fight

By Mark Funkhouser

I grew up in a working-class family in West Virginia. I always had a chip on my shoulder because it seemed like the “better” people in the town looked down on us. I was a fighter, first with my fists and later with words and ideas. By mere chance I landed in a small private college. Also by accident, I became a political science major just as the Vietnam war was heating up and the civilrights and women’s movements were sweeping campuses.

Read the full piece here.

 

Building the Future of Government through Public Service

By Jane Fountain

The tragedy-travesty in Flint, Michigan that captured the nation’s attention for a brief time in 2016 illustrates, if nothing else, the tradeoffs and tensions inherent in meeting our demands for clean water. Seen in the best light, the contamination of Flint’s drinking water supply resulted from under-appreciation or disregard of available evidence, over-emphases on cost-control, and a lack of understanding of the risk and consequences of making the wrong decision.

Read the full piece here.

 

 The Hard Job of Providing Soft Skills to Public Sector Leaders

By Ernest J. Wilson III

Both the public and private sectors are struggling desperately to find the talent they need in a rapidly changing and uncertain world. This is true for so-called ‘hard skills’ like engineering and math; but it is also true, especially for leaders and senior managers, for interactive or ‘soft skills’.  We are familiar with the undersupply of CIOs and CTOs.  Less well known is the massive undersupply of people with ‘soft skills’, a gap between demand and supply of ‘interactive’ skills that according to McKinsey & Co. leaves between $800 billion to $1 trillion on the table in just 4 sectors of the U.S. economy annually.

Read the full piece here.

 

Thursday

How Does Evidence-Based Decision-Making Help Enhance the Public Service Experience?

By Demetra Nightingale

Career civil servants are the foundation of government.  Rules and procedures ensure consistency and compliance with laws.  But the large federal bureaucracy also creates some unpleasantness that can lead to inefficiencies--such as an inordinately slow pace, complex levels of clearance, and procedures that rarely, if ever, get changed.  Using evidence to make decisions and manage programs helps civil servants and their bureaucracies use best practices in management and improve agency performance.

Read the full piece here.

 

Accountability Expectations: Getting Them Right to Enable Public Servants to Serve

By Shelley Metzenbaum

This week, we pause to celebrate and thank the millions of government workers engaged in public service. Let me suggest that we also commit to fixing government systems to make it easier for government employees to make meaningful progress on organizational mission, whether that mission is public safety, public health, discovery of new knowledge and places, or something else.

Read the full piece here.

 

Friday

The National Budgeting Roundtable at Brookings

By Steve Redburn

Three years ago, a group of people steeped in the federal government’s budget process began meeting regularly to explore ways to improve the process. Discussions were led by Stuart Butler, Paul Posner, and Maya MacGuineas.  Now calling itself the National Budgeting Roundtable and with support from the Hewlett Foundation, the group continues its monthly meetings at the Brookings Institution to develop and critique fresh approaches that could lead to better budget decisions. 

Read the full piece here.

 

Looking Toward the Future

By Kristine Marcy

Often policy makers and legislators create government programs and legislative dictates to deal with complex problems and challenges facing the Nation. Recent examples include post 9/11 anti-terrorism programs, changes to immigration and detention procedures and programs, and safety requirements to support offshore drilling post BP spill. While new policy development and legislation are difficult endeavors of and in themselves, implementation and administration of these programs and legislation present additional challenges.

Read the full piece here.

 

Issues, Challenges, and Opportunities in Public Administration

By Larry Cooley

Most of my career has been spent working with and for the governments of developing countries.  In the ‘60s and early ‘70s, this work focused on building institutions in nations newly independent from their colonial pasts.  In the ‘90s, the focus was on the nations exiting the Soviet Union and its orbit.  And in more recent years, much of the focus has been on solving trans-national problems and re-establishing government capacity after one or another form of civil strife. 

Read the full piece here.