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Government Reform Initiatives: Taking Advantage of Tough Times to Make Change Happen. Presented to: NASACT Annual Conference August 17, 2009 By: and. Gila J. Bronner President & CEO B RONNER G ROUP , LLC Chicago, IL. Andy Shaw Executive Director Better Government Association

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government reform initiatives taking advantage of tough times to make change happen

Government Reform Initiatives:Taking Advantage of Tough Times to Make Change Happen

Presented to:

NASACT Annual Conference

August 17, 2009



Gila J. Bronner

President & CEO


Chicago, IL

Andy Shaw

Executive Director

Better Government Association

Chicago, IL

  • Historical Perspective
  • Trends and Challenges
  • Case Study: State of Illinois
  • Andy Shaw’s “Perspective”
  • Role of NASACT Members in Reform

NASACT 2009 Annual Conference


Historical Perspective

  • Current fiscal constraints, recent corporate/government scandals, and growing public scrutiny emphasize the importance placed on accountability in government
  • Sarbanes-Oxley Act and more recent private sector business failures have significantly impacted awareness of expectations of public sector entities
  • Public Sector has also experienced increasing levels of ethics lapses and corruption

NASACT 2009 Annual Conference


Historical Perspective

  • Federal, state and local governmental entities are increasingly challenged to review and improve their governance processes and structures
  • Governments are responding to these new challenges in many ways
  • Bodies are being created to strengthen oversight functions and perform key roles toward enhancing overall effective governance, accountability, and demonstrations of active public stewardship
  • Seeing a proliferation of reform initiatives across the nation

NASACT 2009 Annual Conference

what is reform
What is Reform:
  • re • form-noun
  • the improvement or amendment of what is wrong, corrupt, unsatisfactory, etc.: social reform; spelling reform.
  • the amendment of conduct, belief, etc.
  • re • form-verb (used with object)
  • to change to a better state, form, etc.; improve by alteration, substitution, abolition, etc.
  • to cause (a person) to abandon wrong or evil ways of life or conduct.
  • to put an end to (abuses, disorders, etc.).

NASACT 2009 Annual Conference

historic types of government reform
Historic Types of Government Reform:
  • Financial
  • Ethics
  • Election/Campaign
  • Management

NASACT 2009 Annual Conference

history of federal government reform initiatives
History of Federal Government Reform Initiatives:
  • Liquor Laws (Prohibition)
  • SEC
  • Establishment of Various Oversight Boards
  • Procurement Codes
  • Campaign Finance
  • Management

NASACT 2009 Annual Conference

federal government reform initiatives
Federal Government Reform Initiatives
  • At least 14 government-wide reform efforts in Federal government over the past century
    • Most recent during Clinton/Bush2 administrations
    • March 1993 – President Clinton initiated “Reinventing Government” initiative 1200 recommendations
    • April 2001 – President George W. Bush made better management and performance of the Federal government – 2002 budget promised to “reform and modernize” government – President’s management agenda
    • Led to web site

NASACT 2009 Annual Conference

various current reform initiatives
Various Current Reform Initiatives
  • Louisiana – July, 2009
  • Governor Bobby Jindal called for 4-pronged “reform” plan:
    • Higher education spending reform
    • Organizational reform to reduce size of government
    • Civil Service reforms to reduce number of state employees
    • Fiscal reforms around budgeting practices

NASACT 2009 Annual Conference

various state reform initiatives
Various State Reform Initiatives
  • Indiana – December, 2008
  • Governor Daniels announces 2009 initiatives for reforming local government
    • Ethics
    • Lobbying
    • Campaign Finance

NASACT 2009 Annual Conference

various state reform initiatives1
Various State Reform Initiatives

Massachusetts – July, 2009

Governor Deval Patrick signs ethics legislation

  • Ethics
  • Lobbying
  • Campaign Finance

NASACT 2009 Annual Conference

state of illinois case study
State of Illinois Case Study
  • Several governors and other high-ranking elected officials indicted/convicted
  • History of corruption from time of Al Capone
  • Various fledgling/failed attempts at reform over the years
  • George Ryan convicted in corruption trial

NASACT 2009 Annual Conference

state of illinois case study1
State of Illinois Case Study
  • December 2008 – Arrest of then Governor Blagojevich
  • January 2009 – Then Lt. Governor Pat Quinn established the Illinois Reform Commission
  • Charge: Recommend meaningful ethics reform, but result was much broader

NASACT 2009 Annual Conference

focused on six categories of reform
Focused on Six Categories of Reform
  • Transparency
  • Campaign Finance
  • Procurement
  • Government Structure
  • Enforcement
  • Inspiring Better Government

NASACT 2009 Annual Conference

campaign finance
Campaign Finance
  • Requiring year-round, real-time submission of campaign disclosure filings;
  • Banning campaign contributions from lobbyists and trusts;
  • Enacting a pilot project for public financing of judicial elections in 2010;
  • Enhancing powers of the Illinois State Board of Elections; and,
  • Creating more robust discovery and enforcement mechanisms.

NASACT 2009 Annual Conference

  • Moving state procurement officials into an insulated, central, independent procurement office;
  • Eliminating loopholes and exemptions in the procurement code;
  • Establishing an independent contract monitoring office to oversee and review the procurement process;
  • Mandating greater disclosure for contractors, lobbyists, and others; and,
  • Enhancing transparency in the procurement process.

NASACT 2009 Annual Conference

  • Amending and enhancing state laws to provide prosecutors and investigators with many of the same tools available to federal authorities;
  • Adding significant corruption offenses to the existing list of offenses that are non-probationable;
  • Granting the Illinois AG authority to independently conduct grand jury investigations of public corruption offenses;
  • Directing additional resources to the investigation of public corruption crimes; and,
  • Modifying the laws applicable to inspectors general’s offices to improve the ability of inspectors general to independently conduct investigations.

NASACT 2009 Annual Conference

government structure
Government Structure
  • Substantially reforming the State’s redistricting process;
  • Adopting pending legislation that would impose term limits on legislative leadership positions;
  • Amending House and Senate Rules applicable to the budget approval process; and,
  • Amending the House and Senate Rules to ensure that each piece of proposed legislation with a minimum number of sponsors receives an up-or-down committee vote.

NASACT 2009 Annual Conference


Enforcing the existing statutes with renewed vigor by adopting a presumption in favor of full public access to information and documents;

Amending relevant statutes to increase transparency and accountability; and,

Using technology to make public documents readily and easily accessible to the public through the internet and online databases without waiting for specific requests from the public.

NASACT 2009 Annual Conference

inspiring better government
Inspiring Better Government
  • Combating patronage by reforming the personnel system to better protect non-political positions and the employees who hold them;
  • Reforming the state’s hiring process; and,
  • Establishing a code to guide everyday decision-making and holding state employees accountable for abiding by the code;

NASACT 2009 Annual Conference


Richard J. Daley

Chicago Mayor (1955-1976)



Michael A. Bilandic

Chicago Mayor (1976 – 1979)

Mirage Tavern


Jane Byrne

Chicago Mayor (1979-1983)


Harold Washington

Chicago Mayor (1983–1987)

Operation Incubator

NASACT 2009 Annual Conference


Richard M. Daley

Chicago Mayor (1989 to Present)

Silver Shovel

Hired Truck

George Ryan Governor

State of Illinois (1999 – 2003)

Licenses for Bribes

Rod R. Blagojevich Governor

State of Illinois (2003 – 2009)

Pay to Play


NASACT 2009 Annual Conference



End the "Corruption Tax"

Restore the







NASACT 2009 Annual Conference



  • "OLD" BGA
  • Investigations
  • Lawsuits
  • Public Advocacy


  • "NEW" BGA
  • Interactive website
  • "Good Government Guy" shows
  • Neighborhood Forums
  • Report Card


  • "Unholy Trinity"
    • Jobs
    • Contracts
    • Contributions


  • Lessons
    • Reformers Fight Mightily (But Usually Fail)
    • Voter Apathy

The Answer: Civic Engagement

role of nasact members in reform
Role of NASACT Members in Reform
  • Transparency
    • Publishing frequent and timely audit/financial reports
    • Assuring transparent expenditures and accountable processes

NASACT 2009 Annual Conference

role of nasact members in reform1
Role of NASACT Members in Reform
  • Enforcement
    • Conduct of audits
    • Monitoring compliance and performance
    • Coordinating integrated oversight approach
    • Preventing fraud, waste, and abuse of public resources and trust

NASACT 2009 Annual Conference

role of nasact members in reform2
Role of NASACT Members in Reform
  • Inspiring Better Government
    • Leading business process improvement initiatives
    • Increasing public awareness of roles of NASACT members in accountability and transparency initiatives
    • Ensuring effective and efficient expenditures of funds

NASACT 2009 Annual Conference

  • We live in changing times: business as usual has ended!
  • Real reform in government requires established accountability and transparency framework
  • This framework must be promoted and protected to assist in fully transforming our nation to one where public governance is the paradigm for more responsive, accessible, and accountable government

NASACT 2009 Annual Conference