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Grading of states refers to the measuring of how states perform within given parameters. The key parameters that PEW uses to measure government performance are data, populace, finances and infrastructure (Barrett & Greene, 2008). The data element consists of sub elements like planning, setting of objectives, monitoring and evaluation, and broadcasting of data (Barrett & Greene, 2008).
The sub elements under data overlap with the elements of populace, finances and infrastructure, as they are crucial to how a state maintains infrastructure, budgets its finances, and handles the striking changes that affect the labor force of the state (Barrett & Greene, 2008).
The Pew Charitable Trusts is a non-partisan, non-government, and a nonprofit making global organization with keen interest on public policy, research, and advocacy (PEW Charitable Trusts, 2012). They engage in profound research in all the 50 states of America as well as the District of Columbia (PEW Charitable Trusts, 2012).
The organization released its report on the states in 2008 in conjunction with Governing Magazine (PEW Charitable Trusts, 2012). This essay will comparatively focus on California, New York, and Florida states regarding their government performance in 2008.
Concerning money, the state of Florida topped in 2008 compared to California and New York. Florida scored B– while California and New York scored D+ and C+ respectively (Barrett and Greene, 2008). This was a result of investing less amount of money in labor force (Barrett and Greene, 2008).
It was actually the last in the whole nation in paying of state officers. However, Florida was weak where financial controls and reporting were concerned (Barrett and Greene, 2008).
On the same parameter, New York performed the poorest among the three states. It got a grade of C+. New York has had a poor record concerning budget negotiations process (Barrett and Greene, 2008).
Twenty budgets in the past failed to beat the deadline set by the state since the major players in the decision making circle failed to come to a consensus (Barrett and Greene, 2008). Any progressive change has been more cosmetic than real. The last budget issued out few hours to the set deadline and no without real scrutiny (Barrett and Greene, 2008).
New York scored the best comparatively at a grade of B–. This was because of minimal state spending on strategic workforce planning, hiring of state officers, retention of staff, training and development and management of employee performance (Barrett & Greene, 2008). The state launched an employee management information system to keep track of employees’ skills in the whole state (Barrett & Greene, 2008).
California and Florida trailed New York concerning populace. They tied at a grade of C–. California had a weakness on hiring state officers and managing employee performance (Barrett & Greene, 2008). At worst, California had a non-functioning human resource system (Barrett & Greene, 2008).
Florida had a weakness where strategic workforce planning and employee retention were concerned (Barrett & Greene, 2008). It had no proper personnel strategic plan as it outsourced most of its services. In short, the personnel department was in a mess (Barrett and Greene, 2008).
Among the three states, Florida scored the highest where infrastructure was concerned in 2008. It scored a whooping A–. Florida performed so well in managing infrastructure (Barrett & Greene, 2008).
They had performance evaluations, which guided them on funding and management decisions (Barrett & Greene, 2008). To illustrate this, the Transport Department had maintained a five-year record for completing project at lower price than estimated budget (Barrett & Greene, 2008).
Comparatively, California and New York performed poorer than Florida, tying at a grade of B–. California was not in the habit of proper maintenance of infrastructure, as it used to spend less on such maintenance activities to the tune of 2 billion dollars less every year (Barrett & Greene, 2008). New York had a weakness concerning maintenance of its infrastructure. Just like California, it spent less on maintenance (Barrett & Greene, 2008).
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Florida topped in information sphere at a grade of B-. The state invested in performance auditing and analysis of the same (Barrett and Greene, 2008). In addition, Florida had intact and up to date online services and updated information all the year round (Barrett and Greene, 2008).
California and New York tied where information was concerned; they trailed Florida with a tie at C+ (Barrett and Greene, 2008). Agents handled information duties. Unfortunately, the agencies do not report to the central personnel department and thus concealing the needed information from the ground (Barrett and Greene, 2008).
There was no intelligent utilization of performance measures in New York. There was a weakness concerning budgeting for performance in New York (Barrett and Greene, 2008).
The most important factor that determines if a government performs poorly or well is information. As seen in the introduction, the sub elements of information – planning, setting of objectives, monitoring and evaluation, and broadcasting of data- overlap with the other factors of people, money and infrastructure.
If any state has to achieve steady development, planning is crucial. The case of New York is a clear example (Barrett & Greene, 2008). Due to poor planning and lack of consensus among various stakeholders, its budget has failed for more than twenty times to beat the statutory deadline. As such, the state lags behind in development.
Still under information, the sub element of setting objectives is equally crucial where money, people and infrastructure (Barrett & Greene, 2008). It is commonplace knowledge that a budget must have objectives. As such if a state outlines its objectives well and communicates to the citizens and the people involved in implementation, much can be achieved (King & O’Shea, 2003).
Monitoring and evaluation are equally crucial for the proper utilization of money, if people have to benefit from state projects, and maintenenance of infrastructure. Monitoring is a continuous measure of performance while evaluation is periodical and usually measures efficiency and effectiveness of a project (Sexual and Gender-Based Violence against Refugees, Returnees and Internally Displaced Persons, n.d.).
Lastly, disseminating of information is crucial. Stakeholders should be able to access performance information for him or her to give in their input. States should come up with wikis through which to send information and the necessary feedback obtained.
Given a chance to be the governor of any state, I would embark on emphasizing the need for proper information performance. Each budget would have to receive inputs from the public, go through proper deliberations by the assembly and then taken back to the people for a vote of sorts.
I would keep the members of the state well informed on the going on of the state throughout. The number of state officers employed, their inputs and the general performance would be in the public domain always. It would then be so easy to embark on people management, infrastructure development, maintenance, and financial management.
Barrett, K., & Greene, R. (2008). Grading the States: The Mandate to Measure. Washington, D.C.: Governing.com.
King, C. T., & O’Shea, D. (2003, December). Integrated Performance Information for Workforce Development: Framing the Issues. Retrieved from: http://www.utexas.edu/research/cshr/rmc1/index.php/publications/all-publications/33-about.html
PEW Charitable Trusts. (2012). Mission. Retrieved from: http://www.pewstates.org/about/mission-85899372169
Sexual and Gender-Based Violence against Refugees, Returnees and Internally Displaced Persons. (n.d.). Monitoring and Evaluation. Retrieved from: http://www.rhrc.org/resources/gbv/gl_sgbv03_07.pdf