L o c a L G o v e r n m e n t S h a r e d S e r v i c e S
Economists have declared the GreatRecession dead, that, in fact, it endedin the summer of 2009. Newspaper col-umnists and bloggers sprang on the storywith headlines teeming with sarcasmand ridiculed the announcement by theprivate nonprot National Bureau of Economic Research. The incredulous“The Recession Is Over. Yeah, Right” ranin a
The San Ber-nardino Sun
was skeptical: “Recessionover! Are you ready for some euphoria?”Others were snarkier: “Thank Goodnessthe Government Cured the Recession.”Whatever the headline, the messagewas clear: American citizens are notfeeling more condent about the nation’seconomic plight. It is easy to see why;the scene remains bleak across thecountry and the national unemploymentrate is still hovering near 10 percent.It is a tough time to be in the publicservice business. Many communities arefacing the same harsh realities as theirconstituents — and may continue tostruggle with strained budgets for yearsto come. A survey jointly conducted inmid-2010 by the National League of Cities, the United States Conference of Mayors and the National Association of Counties found that, from 2010 through2012, local governments are expectedto lose nearly 500,000 jobs. Specicexamples show cities like Central Falls,R.I., which has a decit that’s 42 percentof its budget and the city of Denver thatis looking for creative ways to tackle a$100 million decit.There is a silver lining, though itmay be hard to see. The Center forDigital Government’s paper, “Life After…
Regaining Your Balance, Survivingthe Reset and (Re)Building a Govern-ment that Works
,” noted that in movingforward from the recession the public’swork is likely to be done differently. The“differently” alluded to in the paper refersto a more collaborative type of govern-ment where jurisdictions nd strengthin numbers and a more efcient wayof governing through shared servicesapproaches. Bryan Sivak, chief tech-nology ofcer of Washington, D.C.,believes cities don’t just need anothercool software project. “What we need isa way to share what we have with othercities, and for them to be able to sharewhat they build with us.” Big changeshave to start somewhere and greater,policy-neutral, technical collaborationseems like a good place to start.
Capitalizing on Collaboration:
How Shared Services are Saving Local Government Budgets
“What we need is a way to share what we havewith other cities, and for them to be able to sharewhat they build with us.”
– Bryan Sivak, Chief Technology Ofcer, Washington, D.C.