Author Archive

Katherine Barrett & Richard Greene

Katherine Barrett & Richard Greene
Over the course of nearly 30 years, Katherine Barrett and Richard Greene, principals of Barrett and Greene, Inc. have done much-praised analysis, research and writing about state and local governments. Described by Peter Harkness, founder of Governing Magazine as "by far the most experienced journalists in the country covering public performance," they pioneered "grading the cities, counties and states" in management. Related to that work, they founded the Government Performance Project. They are columnists and senior advisors at Route Fifty, special project consultants to the Volcker Alliance, senior advisors at the Government Finance Research Center at the University of Illinois in Chicago and fellows in the National Academy of Public Administration. Greene has been named chair of The Center for Accountability and Performance at the American Society for Public Administration (ASPA). In addition, they are visiting fellows at the IBM Center for the Business of Government and consultants to the National Association of State Personnel Executives.
Finance

Getting the 'Bosses of Procurement' to Understand its Strategic Value

State procurement departments have been front and center during the pandemic. Once the crisis wanes, focus on procurement may diminish, but officials say it needs ongoing high-level attention.

Tech & Data

Centralizing State IT Functions Gains Momentum

Connecticut is building an information technology organization within its government, joining a number of other states consolidating people, hardware and software to reduce costs and inefficiencies.

Management

'A Troubling Trend': Independent State Program Evaluation Under Attack

Without a vote, the legislative leadership in North Carolina closed the state’s program evaluation division. Experts say the growing power of legislative leaders presents an accelerating danger for transparent, publicly available evaluation.

Infrastructure

What Can Parks Do When Demand Rises as Budgets Decline?

Though there may be greater appreciation for the nation’s parks, many are still fighting for funding. Some states are finding solutions.

Health & Human Services

If Your State is Struggling With the Vaccine Rollout, This Is Probably Why

Intergovernmental relations are never easy. But they’re vital when confronting the logistical nightmare of inoculating a nation.

Finance

Equity Budgeting in Cities: Directing Dollars Where They’re Needed Most

A growing number of cities are turning to their budget offices to help treat historically underserved communities more fairly.

Health & Human Services

Paid Sick Leave and the Prolonged Pandemic

State HR officials are concerned that if they can’t find a way to extend paid sick leave benefits, employees will start showing up to work contagious.

Management

A Burnout Crisis Hits Government

COMMENTARY | A soon-to-be released survey reveals some surprising findings about local and state public sector employees’ struggles and how helping them feel connected to each other can reduce burnout.

Tech & Data

How to Fairly Use Algorithms to Make Tough Decisions

COMMENTARY | With computer power increasingly used to guide policies adopted by states and local leaders, governments need to take steps to ensure the underlying algorithms aren’t biased.

Health & Human Services

More Crucial Than Ever, EMS Agencies Are Short Staffed and Overworked

COMMENTARY | Adequately staffing emergency medical services has been a problem for some time, potentially putting lives at stake. The pandemic threatens to make shortages worse.

Tech & Data

Can Better Data Fix America’s Policing Crisis?

COMMENTARY | As society debates law enforcement reform, far better data is necessary to provide a road map for needed changes.

Finance

The Draining of State Rainy Day Funds

COMMENTARY | At least 10 states have already tapped their emergency reserves, even as budget experts expect the worst revenue declines caused by the coronavirus pandemic to come in the months and years ahead.

Public Safety

Why We Need to Pay Attention to Police Officers’ Mental Health

COMMENTARY | A new study found that as police are under more scrutiny than ever, their mental health struggles remain profound.

Tech & Data

Shrinking State and Local Government Office Space

COMMENTARY | With states and local officials searching for ways to cut budgets, many are looking to reduce how much real estate they occupy.

Infrastructure

What Happens Next With Affordable Housing?

COMMENTARY | States and local governments already haven’t been investing enough to help build housing that poor families, and sometimes even middle-class people, can afford. And now funding could be yet another victim of the coronavirus.

Management

The Escalating Crisis in Police Hiring

COMMENTARY | As revenues drop and passionate debates over police mission, budget and purpose continue, cities still face the arduous task of recruiting top-notch candidates.

Management

The Poor Performance of Performance Contracts

States and local governments have embraced “performance contracts,” requiring contractors to meet certain objectives. Too often, however, they don’t actually check on the success in meeting these goals.

Public Safety

Can Civilian Oversight Change Police Behavior?

COMMENTARY | Cities across the country are looking at creating police oversight bodies. That makes questions about their efficacy and value more important than ever.

Management

Kansas City Government Employees: 'Please Don’t Rush to Reopen'

COMMENTARY | What are public sector employee concerns about the return to work? Kansas City has a better idea than many other local governments based on multiple employee surveys.