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.
Public Safety

Public Health Should Be 'Pivotal' Part of Emergency Response

COMMENTARY | Could reform of emergency call systems play an important role in improving safety as well as police-community relations? A new 911 reform initiative is betting it could.

Finance

A Transparent Look at How Governments Are Spending the $350B in ARPA Funds

On Aug. 31, states and large localities had to provide reports on how they are allocating their federal funds. They also have to post them on transparency websites, which can help them learn from one another and coordinate spending plans.

Management

The Public Sector Retirement Explosion

COMMENTARY | For years, human resources officials worried about an alarming exodus of government retirees. Now it’s here—and it's because of Covid-19.

Management

How Local Governments Can Prevent Building Disasters

Some governments are beginning to take steps to prevent the kind of tragedy that took the lives of nearly 100 people in a Surfside, Florida, condominium collapse in June.

Finance

Legislators and Governors Battle Over Who Spends the Rescue Act Money

Power struggles between the executive and legislative branches are nothing new, but they are particularly vigorous with $350 billion in federal dollars at stake.

Finance

A 5-Step Guide to Spending the American Rescue Plan Money

States and localities have an enormous opportunity to create a better future if they spend the federal rescue funds wisely. Here’s how to do that.

Finance

How to Fix Skyrocketing Overtime

Overtime is often a necessary cost, but to deploy it effectively, officials need reliable data to track where and how it is being used and who is using it. 

Health & Human Services

Racial Biases Persist in Public Sector Hiring. What can be done?

A new study shows that Black candidates are at an enormous disadvantage in making it through the government hiring process. But states and cities are finding solutions.

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.