Intergovernmental Systems

The Standing Panel on Intergovernmental Systems considers challenges and issues related to the U.S. federal system and intergovernmental relations.

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The Federal System—A Look Back in Time
Author: Mr. Barry L. Van Lare
Posted On: May 30, 2018

In June of 1968 the Policy Committee of the Republican Governors Association accepted a staff report titled “Handbook of Suggested Solutions for Selected Domestic Problems of the United States”.  The report was designed to inform the development of the Republican Platform in that critical election year.  It addressed nineteen separate issues, the last of which was the status of the federal system. As the National Academy for Public Administration’s Intergovernmental...

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Exploring the reconstitution of the U.S. Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations
Author: NTTW2 Staff
Posted On: May 21, 2018

Academy Fellows Gov. Parris Glendening, Dr. John Kincaid & Dr. Carl Stenberg testifed last week before the bipartisan Speaker's Task Force on Intergovernmental Affairs. The Task Force is exploring the re-constitution of the U.S. Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations.  Witnesses: Parris N. Glendening Former Governor of Maryland President, Smart Growth America’s Leadership Institute TESTIMONY   Dr. John Kincaid Former Exec. Director of the U.S. ACIR Robert B....

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Federal Advocacy Priorities of Associations Representing State and Local Government Officials in Washington, DC
Author: Dr. Carl W. Stenberg
Posted On: Apr 10, 2018

Introduction This article demonstrates the federal policy priorities of the National Governors Association, National Conference of State Legislatures, National League of Cities, National Association of Counties, and U.S. Conference of Mayors. The most common priority is investment in infrastructure, followed by policy related to the economy, including workforce development and addressing poverty, as well as public safety. Below are lists that include the federal policy priorities for the groups listed...

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Transforming Federal Grants Management: Evolving from Oversight to Insight Generation and Performance Improvement
Author: Dr. Shelley H. Metzenbaum
Posted On: Apr 10, 2018

Introduction Grants are among the most important tools the federal government uses to advance its vast array of objectives in policy fields as diverse as neighborhood, transportation, and water safety; thriving children; good jobs; safe work environments; healthy people; a healthy environment; mobility; emergency response and recovery; and recreational and cultural opportunities. At over $650 billion, grants to other levels of government and non-profit organizations comprise over 15 percent of annual federal outlays, about forty...

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From Oversight to Insight: Federal Agencies as Learning Leaders in the Information Age
Author: Dr. Shelley H. Metzenbaum
Posted On: Mar 30, 2018

NAPA Fellow and IGS Panel member, Shelley Metzenbaum authored "From Oversight to Insight: Federal Agencies as Learning Leaders in the Information Age" in Intergovernmental Management for the Twenty-First Century, a publication sponsored by the National Academy of Public Administration. Click the button above to read the entire chapter. ...

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Building an Intergovernmental System for the Future
Author: Teresa W. Gerton
Posted On: Feb 26, 2018

In the United States, most domestic policies and programs are implemented through the intergovernmental system, integrating federal, state, and local governments. Today, every level of government faces fiscal challenges that significantly limit policy options in the near term. For programs or policies that are federally funded, the overarching dilemma is how to provide sufficient flexibility to meet state and local goals while preserving appropriate accountability for the use of federal funds. The relationships among our...

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Letter to the Speaker’s Task Force
Author: Mr. Mark A. Pisano
Posted On: Feb 02, 2018

Summary The National Academy of Public Administration is honored to be among the organizations served on the Advisory Council to the Speaker's Task Force on Intergovernmental Affairs.  The policy proposals and outcomes are organized in these categories: The Need for Comprehensive National Solutions The Need for Cross Government and Cross Sector Collaboration The Need for Administrative Simplification and Accountability The Need for Data-driven Decision Making Click here for the full letter.  ...

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Mending Our Safety Net: Building Our Workforce
Author: Professor Joe Wholey
Posted On: Jan 29, 2018

Introduction Labor force participation in our country has fallen to 63 percent. Millions of working-age Americans, particularly males between the ages of 25 and 54, are neither working nor seeking work. The laws, regulations, and administration of safety net, workforce, and related programs discourage work – especially when individuals and households benefit from more than a program. Yet as Pope Francis has noted, “Work is a necessity, part of the meaning of life on this earth,...

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Creating a Financial Market for Infrastructure and Economic Development
Author: Mr. Mark A. Pisano
Posted On: Jan 11, 2018

Summary There is political consensus around the need to renew and rebuild America’s infrastructure, and President Trump has identified this as a goal. But America lacks both the funding and the governance mechanisms to meet the challenges. The proposed new approach of creating Urban and Rural Public Finance Authorities provides a path to creating a market with sustained “deal flow” for large-scale private-sector funding of infrastructure and economic development that can...

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Managing Across Boundaries: Strengthening Partnerships with State and Local Governments
Author: Mr. Barry L. Van Lare
Posted On: Jan 11, 2018

Summary The new President and Congress need to forge a new partnership with state and local governments in order to restore public trust in the federal government and to mobilize the resources needed to address critical domestic issues in a comprehensive and coordinated manner. For much of its history the federal system could be seen as a layer cake with each level of government responsible for a relatively clearly defined set of responsibilities. As the...

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The U.S. Emergency Management System: The Need for Intergovernmental Cooperation
Author: Ms. Kay C. Goss
Posted On: Jan 11, 2018

Summary The number, diversity, and magnitude of disasters in the U.S., both natural and human-made, are increasing. For natural disasters, alone, there was more than $305 billion in damage in the United States in 2017, making it the most expensive year on record for natural disasters in the nation. Because each disaster, by its very nature, is unique, different protocols, responders, and funding methods cause some significant challenges during all phases of emergency management. Yet, all...

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Big Questions About IGR AND IGM Revisited
Author: Dr. Carl W. Stenberg
Posted On: Oct 05, 2017

Background In 2011, John Kincaid and Carl Stenberg co-authored a concluding article on “'Big Questions’ about Intergovernmental Relations and Management: Who Will Address Them?” (2011) for a symposium in the Public Administration Review symposium on the impacts of the 1996 demise of the U.S. Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations and assessment of prospects for restoring intergovernmental institutional capacity. Overall, the contributors’ views were pessimistic. Kincaid and Stenberg posed 15 questions to provoke discussion...

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U.S. Floods: The Necessity of Mitigation
Author: Dr. Beverly A. Cigler
Posted On: Sep 05, 2017

Introduction Floods are the costliest natural hazard events in the United States in terms of lives and property losses. The financial costs of flood disasters are unsustainable, especially for the national government, which assumes the most costs while state and local governments have the greatest ability to avoid great losses due to their influence over land use, economic policy, and other areas that can help mitigate floods and reduce the high costs of relief and...

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Transforming Infrastructure Investment for America’s 21st Century Economy
Author: primeinc
Posted On: Apr 19, 2017

Introduction There is political consensus around the need to renew and rebuild America’s infrastructure, and President Trump has identified this as an Administration goal. But America lacks both the funding and the governance mechanisms to meet the challenge. This proposal offers a new framework to supplement the current convoluted maze of appropriated infrastructure funding, public-private partnerships, and other sources. The new approach provides the path to creating a market with sustained “deal...

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Everybody Wants an Infrastructure Upgrade: How Can It Happen?
Author: Ms. Phyllis Myers
Posted On: Apr 12, 2017

On April 12, 2017 I attended an interesting breakfast discussion on infrastructure policy with the Wall Street Journal’s Washington Executive Editor Gerald F. Seib, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Bill Clinton’s first Chief of Staff and DJ Gribbin, Assistant to the President for Infrastructure Policy. Gribbin said that his team is now engaged in a wide-ranging “policy process” to shape the Administration’s infrastructure initiative. They are reaching out to the ...

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