Governmental Operations

Since its implementation in 2005, Washington’s Government Management Accountability and Performance (GMAP) program has become an invaluable tool to Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire in measuring and improving the performance of state agencies.

Most states collect and analyze data on their government work force. With the baby boomer population reaching retirement age and 27 percent of the state work force across the country eligible to retire within the next five years, assessing the shrinking work force will continue as a critical exercise.

CSG’s Interbranch Working Group grew out of the realization that many state issues require the input and perspective of the judicial, legislative and executive branches of government. By bringing officials together from all three branches to help solve complex public problems, it has become the catalyst to share best practices and identify and monitor divisive issues across the states.

Suggested State Legislation: This Act:
• requires certain state agencies adopt rules regulating access to the confidential personal information the agencies keep, whether paper or electronic;
• provides that a person harmed by a violation of a rule of a state agency adopted under the Act may bring an action in a court of claims against any person who directly and proximately caused the harm,

Suggested State Legislation: This Act creates the position of state Geographic Information Systems (GIS) officer. The Act:
• requires the state GIS officer to adopt or veto the GIS data standards and a statewide data integration plan;
• provides that the state data center of the state library shall be the state’s depository for GIS data;

Suggested State Legislation: Virginia Chapter 891 of 2006:
• allows a mechanic’s lien for towing, storage, and recovery of vehicles;
• increases to seven days the time garage keepers have to notify owners of towed vehicles that their vehicle has been towed and is being held at their garage; and
• increases the fee for storing a towed vehicle.

Suggested State Legislation: Connecticut Public Act 07-1 establishes a State Contracting Standards Board (SCSB) as an independent Executive Branch agency. The new board has various responsibilities associated with the state contracting processes, including reviewing, monitoring, and auditing state contracting agencies’ procurement processes.

Most states have initiated various cutback-management strategies in the past two years to deal with budget shortfalls and projected deficits. However, restructuring state agencies has emerged as the most popular approach to the current financial crisis. State agencies are likely to continue to privatize some of their programs and services as a cost-saving tool, although the rate of savings has been moderate. A growing number of states are using performance measures in their budgeting, although they are not widely used as an efficiency tool in state agencies.

Results-based decision-making in state government has gained considerable interest as part of government accountability. Use of outcome information by elected officials and managers in budgeting and improving services to citizens still falls far short of its potential. This article provides suggestions for more effective collection and use of performance information.

In his 2002 State of the Union message, President George W. Bush announced the creation of an umbrella citizen service initiative, the USA Freedom Corps, intended to dramatically increase volunteerism. Under this initiative, the Citizen Corps has the central responsibility for mobilizing local volunteers in emergency preparedness and response. Interviews of state officials who will implement Citizen Corps suggest a framework for understanding the success of federal volunteerism initiatives devolved to the state and local levels. Five factors appear important to implementation success: goal clarity, resource availability, promotional activity, management capacity, and the strength of the implementation network.