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

An Often-Overlooked Reason for Public Sector Job Vacancies

Agencies have struggled to recruit and retain workers, but it’s not uncommon for them to hold jobs open in order to shift salary dollars around in their budgets to cover other costs.

Management

When the Infrastructure Boom Meets the Workforce Crash

With federal dollars pouring into state and local governments for infrastructure, there’s one huge challenge: Who will do all the work?

Management

How One State Is Excelling at Process Improvement

Every week Nebraska is contacted by other states to learn how it is saving staff time, streamlining projects and delivering better customer services. Here’s why.

Health & Human Services

How One State is Curbing Growth in Health Care Costs

Massachusetts is known for high medical expenses. But a unique initiative there is helping to dramatically slow increases and has other states taking notice. Here’s how it works.

Management

Government Employee Input—‘Shark Tank’ Style

Missouri has a way for frontline state employees to pitch ideas to high-level judges in hopes of getting them implemented. It's based on a reality TV show.

Management

The Future of Government Jobs: No Field Will Be the Same

It’s impossible to perfectly predict what state and local public sector employment will look like a decade from now. But some clear signs are emerging.

Management

The Future of State and Local Government Jobs

Public sector workplaces are expected to change dramatically in the coming years, with major implications for employees and agencies. In this special series, Route Fifty explores what’s ahead.

Management

Building a More Diverse Public Sector Hiring Pipeline

Local governments are rethinking how they go about connecting with job candidates. “It’s just not enough to post a position and then say we have no qualified diverse talent,” says one official.

Management

How to Regain Citizens' Trust After a Financial Scandal

Just getting rid of the people involved isn't enough. A complex task follows for local leaders to restore faith in the government.

Finance

How Cities and Counties Are Thinking Big With Their ARPA Plans

Across the country, some local governments are using federal aid from the American Rescue Plan to launch "transformational" projects in areas like affordable housing, public safety and ridding homes of lead—things that will endure long after the money is spent.

Management

Why Job Applicants Are Frustrated With the State and Local Government Hiring Process

New survey findings reveal that many workers are interested in public sector jobs, but get bogged down in the application phase.

Health & Human Services

The 'Impossible' Federal Standard States Can't Meet as They Work to Assist Low-Income Families

Critics say a longstanding performance metric for work participation that is part of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program is faulty and should be reformed.

Management

A State Tries to Attract Public Workers Who Have Resume Gaps

In Utah, a first-of-its kind program provides training and mentorship for people taking government jobs after time away from the workforce.

Management

How to Recruit and Manage Short-term Workers

State and local governments have greater reliance on temporary staff, but challenges abound. There are new ways to make these arrangements work.

Management

5 Ways to Overcome the Hiring and Retention Crisis Without Raising Pay

Higher salaries alone are unlikely to be a cure-all for public sector workforce shortages. Some states and localities are experimenting with other approaches for attracting and keeping employees.

Finance

Successful Strategies for Attracting and Retaining Public Employees

Some department vacancies are 20% to 30%, but governments are making headway filling positions and keeping workers with signing bonuses as high as $20,000 and big hourly wage hikes.

Health & Human Services

Collaboration Provides Effective Approach to State's Human Services

Oklahoma is on the cutting edge of a national trend bringing foundations, nonprofits and the Department of Human Services together to help residents in need.

Tech & Data

Local Leaders 'Cannot Hide From Technology'

The National Association of Counties is launching a new effort to help public sector officials better understand technology so they can make informed decisions about cybersecurity and IT budgeting and staffing.

Management

How Cities and Counties Are Dumping Abandoned Properties

Vacant building issues include unpaid property taxes, fires and crime, but localities are making some progress reining them in.

Tech & Data

Governments Turning to Data to Find Solutions to Equity Issues

It’s easy for leaders to pronounce that they’re going to make a fairer state or locality. Here's how several states, counties and cities are utilizing information to achieve their goals.