Over the course of nearly 30 years, Katherine Barrett and Richard Greene, principals of Barrett and Greene, Inc. have done much-praised analysis, research and writing about state and local governments.
Described by Peter Harkness, founder of Governing Magazine as "by far the most experienced journalists in the country covering public performance," they pioneered "grading the cities, counties and states" in management.
They are currently engaged as:
• Special Project Consultants at the Volcker Alliance, where they have helped research and write a series of reports examining and evaluating state budget practices. Its last iteration was one factor in significant budgetary reforms in several states including Utah and Pennsylvania.
• Senior advisors at the Government Finance Research Center at the University of Illinois in Chicago, where they are involved in a number of activities including generating articles for PATimes, Governing magazine and elsewhere. In addition, they are currently editing a series of highly academic white papers that run up to 80 pages, into 4-page short versions, to get important information about state and local government out to a wider audience.
• Fellows at the National Academy of Public Administration
• Senior fellows at the Governing Institute, where they participate in Governing’s conferences and webinars
• Columnists for Governing magazine. Their management column in the print publication makes theirs the longest continuously running column in the magazine. They are also authors of the primary content for Governing’s Management e-newsletter, which largely focuses on the public sector workforce.
Though they work on virtually all projects as a team, the one exception is that Greene serves as chair of the Center for Accountability and Performance at the American Society for Public Administration.
One of Barrett and Greene’s most significant contributions was as founders of the Government Performance Project, which was funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts and published in Governing Magazine. Through a rigorous combination of academic and journalistic approaches, it primarily evaluated the management capacity of all fifty states, though the GPP also covered the largest cities and counties in America. Barrett and Greene were most deeply involved in the qualitative portion of the undertaking, which involved interviewing over 1,000 high-level officials from coast to coast, interpreting their commentary, and melding it to a more classic academic analysis of data. Barrett and Greene were also the principal authors of the final project.
Over the course of years, Barrett and Greene have served in an advisory or contractual capacity to many organizations central to the study of states and localities. Leading among their accomplishments were:
• Work for the Pew Charitable Trusts on scores of new ideas and over a dozen major reports. They initiated Pew’s work on pensions at both the state and city levels as well as a special report about pensions in Philadelphia.
• A bi-monthly column for the Council of State Governments, where they served as senior fellows and made contributions to a number of projects including the research and writing for CSG’s ground-breaking report about civic education in America.
• A blog, featuring three to five newsworthy items a week, for the IBM Center for the Business of Government about the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 This blog ran for over a year and was followed by a series of columns about a variety of government-related topics.
• A series of blog items for the Fels Institute at the University of Pennsylvania, where they were senior fellows for several years.
• A collaboration with the National Association of State Personnel Executives aimed at gathering a “state of the art,” as well as volumes of data, by interviewing the majority of state human resource directors.
Finally, they have made contributions of note to the National League of Cities, the Urban Institute, the Governmental Accounting Standards Board; the Association of Government Accountants, the National Association of State Chief Administrators, and others, much of it pro-bono.
They have been speakers at dozens of conferences over the years, most recently including those hosted by the University of Illinois Urban Forum; the University of North Carolina’s MPA Program; NIGP: The Institute or Public Procurement; the Consortium of University Public Service Organizations; the Council of State Governments; the National Center for State Courts; the Volcker Alliance and the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. The team also made an address, (a Presidential Panel), at ASPA’s 2018 Annual Conference and will be panelists at the upcoming ASPA Annual Conference in March, 2019.
They have demonstrated expertise in government management generally, as well as budgeting and finance; human resources and the public sector workforce, procurement; tax systems, health management and policy, pensions, infrastructure, contracting, civics education and notably, performance management. (They are currently under contract with publisher Rowman and Littlefield to write a book about this last topic, due out in January 2020.)