To think justly, we must understand what others mean; to know the value of our thoughts, we must try their effect on other minds. – William Hazlitt
Budgets provide an overview of an organization’s financial position during a defined period by outlining its projected revenues and expenses during that defined period and ensuring the proposed expenses and revenues balance. In the context of public budgeting, a public entity’s budget is part of the key to transparent, open government. However, while all public budgets will include the required listing of revenues and expenses, it is often difficult for the public and others that are not already familiar with the entity and its finances to fully understand the entity’s goals and policy decisions. In contrast, a well-drafted, comprehensive public budget can not only present the financial details but also convey a story and draw in the reader and give them a sense of investment in the public entity.
In an effort to encourage better communication by public entities in how they present their budgets, the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) sponsors an annual award program to recognize those public entities that have structured their budgets in a way to make them more understandable and provide greater insights into the entity. The work product example below is an analysis of the budgets from two municipalities that won GFOA awards, their structure, their readability, and their innovative approaches.
This work product example is a revised, updated version of an assignment completed for my Public Budgeting Systems class.
Today, public entities are expected to maintain a web presence. This web presence, commonly a website, is one of the primary tools public entities use to communicate to their citizens. To ensure effective communication, a website should be transparent. The transparency of a website may be judged by the accessibility of information on the site, the balance of information on the site, and the comprehensiveness of the information on the site. Unfortunately, all too often, government websites are lacking in one or more of these areas.
Like many applications of technology by government, the creation and structure of a public entity’s website is all too often government-centric or focused on the internal staff and users. The work product example provided below evaluates the transparency of a particular state agency’s website. Evaluations such as the one in the example provided are a good tool to use to help ensure an effective and transparent site.
This work product example is a revised version of an assignment completed for my Technology & Public Administration class.
Similar to the need of a public agency’s website to be an effective, transparent communication tool for its citizens, the public agency also needs to have effective, transparent communication with its internal staff and customers. Effective communication to staff and internal program users helps ensure alignment with the purposes and goals of the agency’s programs. Agency staff and internal program users understanding of a program, its purposes and goals plays a significant role in the overall effectiveness of the program in question.
The work product example provided below is a proposed method of evaluating how well a specific public agency has communicated the purpose and goals of one of its programs to its staff and internal users. The example below provides a proposed survey of agency personnel and internal customers utilizing the agency’s program. The proposed survey will also provide a valuable communication tool for the agency to receive feedback from its internal program users.
This work product example is a revised version of an assignment completed for my Applied Research class. The memo and survey were completed solely for the assignment and were not sent.