Resilience is Local

In the early days of the COVID-19 outbreak, there were hot spots in Seattle, Washington and Cook County Jail in Chicago. But, by the middle of April, the country’s biggest hot spot was a giant Smithfield Foods pork processing plant in Sioux Falls, S.D., an operation employing 3,700 people. Reports of cases began trickling in and then became a torrent.

Implications of the Variety in State Response to COVID-19

One is how different states reacted differently to the virus. The other is how the nation’s reliance on the states has affected the nation’s response.

What Covid teaches us about community

Kettl is a guest blogger for the IBM Center for the Business of Government and author of The Divided States of America (Princeton University Press, 2020).

It’s been like the devastating assault of Hurricane Katrina on America’s Gulf coast in 2005—multiplied more than a thousand times over. No part of the country has escaped as the virus has hop-scotched around, now hitting many communities that thought they had been spared. 

Donald F. Kettl

Donald F. Kettl is the Sid Richardson Professor at the LBJ School, specializing in public management and public policy. He previously served as dean in the School of Public Policy at the University of Maryland. He is also a nonresident senior fellow at the Volcker Alliance, the Brookings Institution and the Partnership for Public Service.

Managing Risk, Improving Results: Lessons for Improving Government Management from GAO’s High Risk List

That list has grown from 14 programs in 1990 to 32 by 2015, when it was last updated.  These programs range from Medicare benefits to food safety oversight.

Dr. Kettl, one of the nation’s most insightful observers of government operations, stepped back to review what changes in the high-risk list mean over time.  He explored:

Implementing Health Care Reform

Through this blog, Kettl and featured guests will discuss emerging challenges such as enrolling some 16 million new Medicaid and SCHIP applicants, establishing state insurance exchanges, and finding enough doctors and nurses to meet the needs of a growing aging population.

Join the conversation.

Reflections on 21st Century Government Management

Our goal with this report is straightforward: to begin thinking about the future of government and the trends and new ideas in government management that a new president should consider as he or she takes office in 2009. The intent of this project is to stimulate new ideas among several key audiences. We wish to spark the imagination of government leaders to look beyond their day-to-day "urgencies" and reflect upon the important challenges the nation will face tomorrow.

The Next Government of the United States: Challenges for Performance in the 21st Century

So, what happens next? The next president will face a very different set of management challenges from the ones that confronted the current president when he took office. Can we begin to predict and start preparing to respond to these challenges? That is the task that Dr. Kettl took on, through our encouragement, using his insightful essay in Part I of this report to promote discussion during a two-day forum that the IBM Center for The Business of Government convened this past summer.

Sid Richardson Professor, LBJ School of Public Affairs
University of Texas at Austin
United States

Donald F. Kettl is the Sid Richardson Professor at the LBJ School, specializing in public management and public policy. He previously served as dean in the School of Public Policy at the University of Maryland. He is also a nonresident senior fellow at the Volcker Alliance, the Brookings Institution and the Partnership for Public Service.

Kettl has authored or edited numerous books, including The Divided States of America: Why Federalism Doesn’t Work (2020); Can Governments Earn Our Trust? (2017); Little Bites of Big Data for Public Policy (2017); The Politics of the Administrative Process (7th edition, 2017); Escaping Jurassic Government: Restoring America’s Lost Commitment to Competence (2016); System Under Stress: The Challenge to 21st Century American Democracy Homeland Security and American Politics (2014); The Next Government of the United States: Why Our Institutions Fail Us and How to Fix Them (2008); and The Global Public Management Revolution (2005).

He has received three lifetime achievement awards: the American Political Science Association’s John Gaus Award, the Warner W. Stockberger Achievement Award of the International Public Management Association for Human Resources, and the Donald C. Stone Award of the American Society for Public Administration.

Kettl has twice won the Louis Brownlow Book Award of the National Academy of Public Administration for The Transformation of Governance (2002); and System under Stress: Homeland Security and American Politics (2005). His book, Escaping Jurassic Government: How to Recover America’s Lost Commitment to Competence, won the 2016 award for book of the year from the American Society for Public Administration.

Kettl has consulted for government organizations at all levels, including most recently the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. He has appeared frequently in national and international media. He is chaired two gubernatorial blue-ribbon commissions for the Wisconsin state government, one on campaign finance reform and the other on government structure and finance. 

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