Government Finance Review

Magazine covers financial management for state and local government through articles and commentary on best practices, management and more.

Articles from Vol. 27, No. 1, February

Addressing Media Misconceptions about Public-Sector Pensions and Bankruptcy
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] Everyone who pays attention to the news has noticed the drumbeat of reports urgently warning that the public pension system is perched on the brink of disaster and that it will soon collapse, bringing a number of state and...
Adjusting Public Pension Benefits in Colorado: A Fiduciary Process
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] From late 2007 into 2009, the United States and countries around the world experienced the worst financial collapse since the Great Depression. The U.S. economy was officially in a recession for 18 months from December 2007...
Adopting Automatic Enrollment in the Public Sector a Case Study
A version of this case study was published on the Retirement Made Simpler Web site, available at www.retirementmadesimpler.org.Between 1998 and 2000, Internal Revenue Service (IRS) rules began to allow for new and current privatesector employees to be...
Adopting Automatic Enrollment in the Public Sector: A Case Study
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] Between 1998 and 2000, Internal Revenue Service (IRS) rules began to allow for new and current private-sector employees to be automatically enrolled in a defined contribution retirement savings account offered by their employer--primarily...
Changes for Component Units
In November 20 10, the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) issued GASB Statement No. 61, The Financial Reporting Entity: Omntbus.The new standard amends the rules that currently govern how component units are identified and presented .Th is...
Changes for Component Units: GASB Statement No. 61 Amends the Rules That Govern How Component Units Are Identified and Presented
In November 2010, the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) issued GASB Statement No. 61, The Financial Reporting Entity: Omnibus. The new standard amends the rules that currently govern how component units are identified and presented. This...
Economic Trends
Many people are paying more attention to economic trends than they did before the credit meltdown. The GFOA's Long-Term Financial Planning blog provides frequent updates on important issues and topics of interest, including a monthly summary of relevant...
Effective Implementation of Performance Management
Where to Start and What to DoMany public-sector organizations track performance measures to record operational data on departments, programs, and services. That information is then collected, formatted, and reported on Web sites, as part of the budget,...
Effective Implementation of Performance Management: Where to Start and What to Do: Integrating Performance Management into Existing Business Processes Allows Organizations to Realize the Full Benefit of Performance Management-But Doing So Is Not a Simple Task
Many public-sector organizations track performance measures to record operational data on departments, programs, and services. That information is then collected, formatted, and reported on Web sites, as part of the budget, or in dedicated performance...
Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics
Mark Twain popularized an expression he attributed to Benjamin Disraeli: "There are three kinds of lies: Lies, damned lies, and statistics." And this pretty well sums up all the falsehoods that have been bandied about in the media regarding state and...
Maintaining the Public Trust While Making Tough Choices
In our quest for better, faster, and cheaper government, it can be easy to lose sight of the fundamental values that underpin our commitment to public service.Those values - honesty, trust, transparency, integrity, and accountability - were challenged...
Maintaining the Public Trust While Making Tough Choices: ICMA's Executive Director Discusses His Organization's Guidelines to Ensuring Fair Compensation
In our quest for better, faster, and cheaper government, it can be easy to lose sight of the fundamental values that underpin our commitment to public service. Those values--honesty, trust, transparency, integrity, and accountability -were challenged...
Making Change Happen
A sense of Urgency By John P. Kotter Harvard Business Press 2008, 196 pages, $22 Buy-In: Saving Your Good Idea from Getting Shot Down By John P. Kotter and Lorne A. Whitehead Harvard Business Review Press 2010, 208 pages, $22...
Measuring the Health of Your Defined Contribution Plan
In today's challenging financial times, it is rare to find opportunities to enhance compensation for public-sector employees at no cost to taxpayers. Your jurisdiction can, however, provide some additional value by evaluating the effectiveness of its...
Recognizing the Work of Cities
The National League of Cities bestowed its 2010 Awards for Municipal Excellence on eight cities that created outstanding programs to improve the quality of life in America's communities. These awards recognize city programs that demonstrate community...
Recognizing the Work of Cities
The National League of Cities bestowed its 2010 Awards for Municipal Excellence on eight cities that created outstanding programs to improve the quality of life in America's communities. These awards recognize city programs that demonstrate community...
Setting the Record Straight about Public Pensions
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] State and local governments have recently come under substantial criticism about the condition of their pension plans. Critics maintain that the vast majority of public pension plans are significantly underfunded and seem...
Strategies to Consider as OPEB Costs Escalate
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] "If I could figure out how to portray OPEB in a costume, I would go as unfunded OPEB to my next Halloween party. I can't think of anything scarier." --Phil Moore, city manager, Alma, Michigan Six years have passed since...
Three Strategies for Controlling Pharmacy Benefit Costs
As public-sector health plan sponsors struggle with increasing pharmacy plan costs, effective auditing, innovative plan design, and increased focus on controlling aspects of member behavior can set the stage for reducing future cost trends. Most health...
Three Strategies for Controlling Pharmacy Benefit Costs: Effective Auditing, Innovative Plan Design, and Increased Focus on Controlling Aspects of Member Behavior Can Set the Stage for Reducing Future Cost Trends in Pharmacy Plans
As public-sector health plan sponsors struggle with increasing pharmacy plan costs, effective auditing, innovative plan design, and increased focus on controlling aspects of member behavior can set the stage for reducing future cost trends. Most health...
Understanding the Role of Liabilities in Fiscal Stress
The budget crisis some states and local governments are confronting is the result of both current fiscal problems caused by the Great Recession and long-term issues relating to debt, pension obligations, and retiree health costs. Lumping these issues...
Understanding the Role of Liabilities in Fiscal Stress
The budget crisis some states and iocai governments are confronting is the result of both current fiscal problems caused by the Great Recession and long-term issues relating to debt, pension obligations, and retiree health costs. Lumping these issues...
Unleash Your Creativity and Make More Public Value
What we usually do is get ideas, judge ideas, and kill ideas - all in three seconds. But what if we nurtured and supported government employees who wanted to explore how to do things differently? What would that look like?Governments rarely provide the...
Unleash Your Creativity and Make More Public Value: Government Needs to Be Able to Respond Flexibly to the Many Changes It Faces within a New Culture That Supports Creativity
What we usually do is get ideas, judge ideas, and kill ideas--all in three seconds. But what if we nurtured and supported government employees who wanted to explore how to do things differently? What would that look like? Governments rarely provide...
Washington in 2011
The 112th Congress will likely show greater interest in state and local government issues. While the Republican House of Representatives and the Democratic Senate might not find agreement on many issues, their efforts to trim the federal budget - including...
Washington in 2011: Efforts to Trim the Federal Budget Will Likely Demand the Attention of the GFOA and All Other State and Local Government Associations
The 112th Congress will likely show greater interest in state and local government issues. While the Republican House of Representatives and the Democratic Senate might not find agreement on many issues, their efforts to trim the federal budget--including...