Research Reports

Research Reports

GFOA's Research and Consulting Center (RCC) focuses on providing high quality research and advisory services by pairing the lessons learned from a broad membership network with the expertise of a highly educated professional staff that has practical experience working in local government.  Research reports both support and stem from the work completed in the field.  GFOA's Research and Consulting Center conducts regular ongoing research and can also work directly with individual governments to provide information.  Research reports produced recently are displayed below.

For more information on GFOA research or to inquire about a specific research project, please contact Shayne Kavanagh, GFOA Senior Manager - Research.

15 Documents

Author: 
Shayne Kavanagh
Jeff Cole
Harry Kenworthy
Year: 
2014

You’ve heard of Lean and you are intrigued. You are acquainted with the basic Lean tools and concepts such as Kaizen, the 8 wastes, root cause analysis, and process maps - but what are the next steps? The purpose of this guide is to help you get off to a good start on your Lean journey, including:

Author: 
Shayne C. Kavanagh
Year: 
2013

In 2012, the GFOA studied performance measures of larger North American cities and counties, conducting comprehensive interviews and surveys of ten organizations that were already using a performance management system.

Author: 
Shayne C. Kavanagh
Year: 
2013

The City of Colorado Springs, like many other governments, had questions about the amount it should maintain in reserve. This case study of Colorado Spring's risk-based assessment of reserve requirements starts out by identifying general risk factors. It then identifies primary risk factors -- revenue volatility, infrastructure upkeep, and vulnerability to extreme events -- and secondary risk factors before explaining the GFOA’s findings and recommendations for the city.

Author: 
Shayne C. Kavanagh
Year: 
2011

As employee health-care benefits continue to rise, employers face the relentless problem of finding extra money to fund them. This paper provides six leverage points -- changing the level of benefits provided, managing participants’ choice of providers, sharing the cost with employees, reducing employees' use of health care services, "right-sourcing" health benefit services, and maximizing the value received for the health care dollar -- along with specific strategies that public employers can use to manage and contain the cost of employee health-care benefits.

Author: 
Shayne C. Kavanagh
Year: 
2011

Zero-base budgeting (ZBB) is a budgeting process that asks managers to build a budget from the ground up, starting from zero. However, ZBB has been the subject of some controversy over the years, owing primarily to questions about the value ZBB analysis provides, in light of the costs incurred to putting ZBB into practice. The goal of this paper is to define what ZBB means in current practice, describe the uses of ZBB, help public officials have a conversation in their organizations about the value of ZBB, and explore the important alternatives to ZBB.

Author: 
Shayne C. Kavanagh
Jon Johnson
Chris Fabian
Year: 
2011

Governments have traditionally used incremental budgeting, but priority-driven budgeting provides a more strategic alternative. Priority-driven budgeting allocates resources according to how well a program or service achieves the goals and objective that the community values most.

Author: 
Shayne C. Kavanagh
Year: 
2011

The Great Recession taught governments that being sustainable is not enough -- they must be resilient, able to thrive under conditions of adversity. This paper explains the importance of long-term financial planning by focusing on the eight essential characteristics of a resilient organization: diversity, redundancy, decentralization, transparency, collaboration, grace in failure, flexibility, and foresight. In this way, governments create soft landings in times of economic distress and improved value for the public.

Author: 
Shayne C. Kavanagh
Year: 
2010

Lean -- a strategy for eliminating the waste involved in delivering a service to customer -- is a powerful tool for improving efficiency and employee productivity, especially when revenue is scarce. This paper describes the Lean process and breaks it down into three main steps: planning a Lean initiative, executing a Lean event, and following up. The process can and should be repeated over and over as a fundamental part of the organization's management, as eliminating waste is not a "one and done" process.

Author: 
The National Performance Management Advisory Commission
Year: 
2010

The National Performance Management Advisory Commission has released its final report titled: A Performance Management Framework for State and Local Government: From Measurement and Reporting to Management and Improving.

The commission created the framework expressly for public managers and public officials, who must provide leadership for initiating and sustaining performance management.

Author: 
Shayne C. Kavanagh
Joe Casey
Year: 
2010

During the early stages of a financial recovery, jurisdictions need to take action right away to begin to stabilize the situation – before the leaders of the recovery process will be able to conduct a detailed diagnosis of the causes of distress and develop a response tailored to the situation. At this point, the organization can turn to generic retrenchment techniques – techniques that are safe to apply with little or no foregoing diagnosis of the situation, which are especially useful at the start of the recovery process.

Year: 
2010

Created in June 2009, the Government Finance Officers Association’s (GFOA) Generational Task Force was developed to address three main issues, recruiting, retention and retirement, presented by the shifting of the workforce to one that includes four diverse generations. This report, written by the Generational Task Force, provides governments with practical and supportive tool, along with case studies, that will help them meet new challenges regardless of their current state of preparedness.

Author: 
Shayne Kavanagh
Year: 
2007

Constituent relationship management (CRM) is a combination of people, processes, and technology used to deliver superior service to the constituent.1 Superior service means shorter wait times to contact government representatives, less frustration in finding the required services, outcomes that are delivered when promised, and ultimately greater constituent satisfaction.

Author: 
Shayne C. Kavanagh
Mike Mucha
Year: 
2007

As school districts continue to be faced with new and complex challenges of longer nature, planning for the long-term is becoming of greater importance. Successfully navigating through these new and complex challenges requires a long-term plan that describes present and future educational needs of the community, actions the school must take to meet these needs, and how these actions will be funded.

Author: 
Shayne Kavanagh
Year: 
2006

This report analyzes the market for software solutions to assist local governments with formulation and analysis of operating and capital budgets as well as with administration of performance measurement programs. The primary audience for this report is mid-size, general-purpose governments (e.g., cities and counties).

Author: 
National Advisory Council on State and Local Budgeting
Year: 
1998

The recommended practices have set a new standard of excellence in state and local government budgeting. As with any reform effort, widespread acceptance of changes in budgetary practice will take time, but the benefits promise to be profound and far-reaching. What is significant about the practices is that they represent an unprecedented cooperative effort by several organizations with diverse interests to examine and agree on key aspects of good budgeting. The Council was founded by eight organizations representing elected officials, government administrators, and finance professionals at both the state and local government level.