Innovations in American Government

2000 Awards Finalists
Environmental Protection Agency
Office of Solid Waste & Emergency Response
The Brownfields Initiative empowers citizens and encourages innovative methods of cleaning and safely reusing blighted properties.  It reflects a new model of environmental protection which creates economically viable, environmentally sound, self-sustaining communities.
National Center for Patient Safety
Department of Veteran Affairs
Veterans Health Administration
Acknowledging that all health care providers make errors, the VA’s National Center for Patient Safety has introduced processes that identify, prevent, and fix problems that can result in error, patient injury, or death.
State of Minnesota
Sate Legislature
In 1991, the Minnesota Legislature authorized sponsors other than school districts to organize independent public charter schools.  This expansion of public school choice stimulated innovation in American public education from the smallest charter school to the largest school district.
State of California
Department of General Services
California’s Natural Gas Program cuts taxpayer costs by managing financial risk.  Its innovative portfolio-based buying strategy protects agencies from market extremes, while quick, precise bidding procedures respond to price volatility within the confines of public procurement law.
State of Georgia
Merit System
Civil service reform in Georgia created a human resource management model that decentralized hiring and pay functions to the operating agencies, established an at-will employment status for new hires, and changed the role of the central Merit System from one of regulator to one of consultant and facilitator.
County of Kern, CA
Waste Management Department
The Kern County Used Oil Program changed the opinion and behavior of consumers toward oil recycling by convincing them that a recycled oil product was as good or better than virgin oil.  Once assured of the quality of re-refined oil, consumers recognized that recycling used oil was the most beneficial option for both themselves and the local environment.
Community Youth Investment Project
Deschutes County, OR
Commission on Children and Families
The Community Youth Investment Project is a bold effort by state and local government, supported by citizen leaders, to reduce juvenile crime and the high cost of juvenile incarceration in state facilities and to invest the savings in research proven, prevention initiatives.
City of New York, NY
Department of Parks & Recreation
The core innovation is having a government agency play an aggressive, creative, and central role in starting and supporting neighborhood-based groups that will simultaneously serve as partners, advocates, and gadflies, especially in struggling neighborhoods.
Gainsharing Program
Baltimore County, MD
Office of Human Resources
Gainsharing in Baltimore County is pay-for-performance program capitalizing on the premise that frontline employees know their jobs better than anyone else.  When teams of frontline employees identify cost savings that maintain or enhance customer service and maintain or enhance employee morale, half of the savings are paid to the employees for two years.
State of Illinois
Department of Children and Family Services
The Performance Contracting initiative in Illinois has dramatically boosted the number of children moved from temporary care placements through a renewed focus on specific outcomes and financial incentives for providers.
State of Minnesota
Board of Government Innovation and Cooperation
The Board of Government Innovation and Cooperation facilitates improved quality and efficiency in locally delivered public services.  The Board provides incentives for innovation and cooperation and eliminates bureaucratic law and regulations that often frustrate local officials and taxpayers.
Perry Local Schools, OH
Perry High School
Perry High School’s Perritech program, by providing students with industry recognized technology certification programs, has provided firsthand evidence that American students can compete at world-class standards in the classroom and on the job.
Department of Housing and Urban Development
Public and Indian Housing
HOPE VI is transforming the fundamentals of public housing in the United States by using public and private development resources to replace the bleak, isolated public housing of the past with attractive new mixed-income communities.  HOPE VI partnerships help residents achieve self-sufficiency and spur housing authorities to higher standards of housing design, finance, and management.
Privatization of Federal Investigations
Office of Personnel Management Investigations Service

The privatization of investigations was the first model for transforming a money-losing federal operation into a profitable employee-owned company.  This innovation occurred with no service disruption, created significant savings, and protected every employee’s job.

Department of Labor
Occupational Safety and Health Administration
The Advisors are a suite of expert software programs available for free on OSHA’s web site.  They enable businesses to answer a few simple questions and receive reliable answers on how volumes of government regulations apply to their unique workplaces.
OSHA Press Release
Public Health Model for Corrections
Hampden County, MA
Sheriff’s Department
The Hampden County Correctional Center, through unique relationships with community partners, provides inmate medical care at community standards and assures continuing health care after release from jail.  The system benefits the community by decreasing disease, providing financial savings, and enhancing public safety.
County of San Francisco, California
Department of Human Services
The Kinship Support Network provides comprehensive assistance for grandparents and others who are raising their relatives’ children as an alternative to foster care.  The Kinship Support Network was the nation’s first public-private collaboration to serve these fragile families.
Public Works and Fire/Rescue
Town of Bristol, WI
Department of Public Works
Employees of the Town of Bristol Public Works Department are cross-trained to answer fire and rescue incidents for the town during the day.  This enables the town to have full-time fire and rescue coverage in a very efficient and effective manner.
City of Milwaukee
Housing Authority
The Lapham Park Venture is a care model that brings together experts in gerontology, housing, medical arts, and social services to provide consumer-centered care to the frail elderly.  It has created the first retirement community within a low-income public housing development which permits residents to age in place.
City of Redlands, CA
Police Department
In implementing Risk Focused Policing, the Redlands Police Department is the first in the country to fully embrace a research-based, prevention framework focusing on the risk and protective factors in the community, school, family, and peer group ‘domains’ of youths’ lives which place them at risk for substance abuse, delinquency, violence, teen pregnancy, and dropping-out of school.  Risk Focused Policing is defined as a ‘data and results-driven, community-oriented policing and problem solving strategy which focuses on those factors in a community which places its youth and their families most at-risk for criminal and other problem behaviors.
Lobbyists On Line
State of Wisconsin
Ethics Board

Lobbyist-on-Line offers a fundamental rethinking of lobbying regulation and invites participation in the legislative process.  It provides daily website updates, permitting affected interests to identify all the organization trying to influence specific legislative proposals.

State of Maryland
Office of Planning
The Smart Growth initiative is the nation’s first statewide, incentive-based, comprehensive effort to discourage sprawl.  It uses the State’s $19 billion budget as an incentive to encourage less costly, more environmentally sensitive, and better-planned growth.
Mental Hospital Seclusion and Restraint Reduction
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
Department of Public Welfare
The Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare has introduced innovations that have safely and significantly reduced the use of seclusion and restraint in its nine state mental hospitals.  Seclusion and restraint techniques, historically used to control potentially harmful patient behavior, has been associated with a high risk of patient injury and death.
Total Efficiency Accountability Management System
City of New York, NY
Department of Correction
The Total Efficiency Accountability Management System is a management system that mandates accountability and performance efficiency.It has severed the old culture of status quo and replaced it with performance-driven workforce.
King County, WA
Department of Transportation, Transit Division
King County Metro Transit succeeds in getting commuters out of their cars by working collaboratively with employers.  Metro’s Commute Partnerships help employers jump-start subsidy program for their employees’ alternative commutes.