Northern Illinois University and HR Green Partner on New Local Government Initiative
Northern Illinois University’s (NIU’s) acclaimed Master of Public Administration (MPA) Program and its Center for Governmental Studies are collaborating with a leading national provider of governmental services, HR Green, Inc., to improve alternative service delivery in local government. Alternative service delivery is a promising strategy for municipalities that wish to maintain service levels and quality but are faced with declining fiscal resources.
This public-private partnership will result in a handbook on local government service delivery that will include “how-to” templates and examples of promising practices for local governments that are considering alternative service delivery methods. An educational conference for elected and appointed officials in the region and nation also will be organized. To help ensure that this project meets the needs of local government, the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus, representing more than 280 mayors in northern Illinois, will co-host the conference.
“Municipalities are searching for innovative new solutions to the age-old challenge of doing more with less” said Dr. Kurt Thurmaier, Professor and Director of NIU’s Division of Public Administration. “We think that alternative service delivery strategies hold tremendous promise for cash-strapped local governments.”
Rick White, President of HR Green’s Governmental Services Business Line, said “We are excited to partner with a university as committed as NIU is to working on important public policy issues. We share a deep interest in providing the best possible service to local government.”
Two NIU units are partnering with HR Green. One is the Division of Public Administration whose mission is to advance excellence in professional public management through scholarship in teaching, research, and service. The Division is committed to strengthening the knowledge and skills that enhance the management and leadership capacity of individuals pursuing public service careers.
NIU’s Master of Public Administration (MPA) program recently ranked fifth in city management and urban policy in a U.S. News and World Report ranking of graduate public affairs programs. It also ranked 12th in the field of public finance and budgeting. The program is one of the oldest of its kind in Illinois and about one-third of all city managers in Illinois are graduates of NIU’s MPA program.
The other NIU unit is the Center for Governmental Studies (CGS). CGS assembles interdisciplinary teams to advance the capabilities of government at all levels and help build the civic capacity of non-governmental organizations. A major focus of CGS for more than 40 years has been providing a range of technical assistance to help local government implement efficient, sustainable, and cost-effective approaches to social, economic, and information management issues. For more information, see www.niu.edu