Apr 17, 2008

Grading the States 2008

'Pew's Center on the States' identifies and advances state policy solutions. My bringing up the trust is in regards to its recent publication "Grading the States 2008" report, this is an annual report that tracks the performance of the various state government functions which in turn reflects on the performance of the State Government employees ( known as 'civil servants' in the common wealth countries) in this years report Virginia scored an A, which is indeed well deserved.

Virginians have always provided leadership when it comes to public services in fact the schools here are ranked consistently at the top amongst there peers in various independent publications, last year Education Week published a survey indicating that a child born in Virginia has a better chance for life success than children born in any other state in the nation.

Randy Pausch, the Carnegie mellon professor whose last lecture has been the most downloaded internet artifact in recent history mentions that one of the last things he has done is to buy a house for his family in the Cheasepeak Norfolk Virginia region as he belives its the best place to raise kids.

And, for the second year in a row, Virginia was named the best state for business by Forbes.com (thanks to the business friendly environment created by the local leadership).

For those interested, I will re-publish the Executive summary from Pews report, you can read the full report here.

Smart long-term planning is one reason Virginia has long been one of the best managed states in the country.
Performance measures guide budgeting and management decisions. Sound strategies provide the state with high-quality employees and information technology (IT) without great expense.

Virginia uses state and agency strategic plans to achieve social goals by linking program and managerial performance measures. These measures are tracked online so that the public can easily see the results. Strategic IT planning also is tied closely with performance and delivers savings to the state through innovative agency investments.

Virginia takes a sound, long-term approach to money management but has scrambled to balance revenues and expenditures in today’s uncertain economic climate. The procurement system links to the federal system to take advantage of discounts available to the state and local governments.

Virginia is a leader in human resources management. Human capital planning and good data help agency decision makers plan for the future. Virginia’s knowledge management system allows officials to offer training to new workers to give them the skills and information that have helped the current workforce succeed.

Virginia has a multiyear capital planning process. It does not have criteria to help set priorities in the selection of buildings projects, but it has a good system for public input in plan development. Virginia recently developed a capital asset management system, though it does not conduct regular comprehensive condition assessments of its buildings.