2014 GRA Annual Policy Conference

The Governmental Research Association is celebrating its 100th anniversary in grand scale by holding this year’s conference at the offices of the Pew Charitable Trust in Washington, D.C.  The Pew offices are close to all of the history and centers of policy making that make Washington an attractive location for public policy wonks to congregate, and they provide ready access to policy experts for many of the subjects that GRA organizations are dealing with on a daily basis.

The first day of the conference will feature sessions on reform of education finance, pension and OPEB costs, and budgeting processes.  On day two we will dig into federal policies that affect state and local government finances, including: transportation, healthcare, and other issues.  We’ll wrap up on day three by discussing economic mobility and income inequality and then hear from the GRA award winners. View the Full Conference Agenda

We tentatively have arranged to have Pew’s chief economist, Diane Lim, to serve as the keynote speaker for the Monday lunch.  Also, former Michigan Governor John Engler has tentatively agreed to serve as the keynote speaker for Tuesday’s Awards Banquet.

We will be staying at the Courtyard by Marriott Convention Center Hotel that is on the same block as the Pew offices.  Rooms can be reserved for the conference rate of $199 per night for a standard room by calling 1.800.321.2211 no later than July 1, 2014 and mentioning the GRA conference being hosted by Pew.

Eventbrite - 2014 GRA Annual Policy Conference | Hosted by Pew Charitable Trusts

January 2014 News

New GRA Trustee

It is with great sadness that GRA says farewell to Kirstin Pryor, former of the Center for Governmental Research in New York.  With Kirstin’s resignation from the GRA Board of Trustees, Shawn Teigen from the Utah Foundation has been appointed to fill out the remainder of the term.

GRA Website Updates

Have you been on the GRA website lately (www.graonline.org)?  With direction from the GRA Board of Trustees, Kent Gardner and Kate Bell from CGR have been hard at work updating the look of the website.  Updates are designed to have the website serve as a conduit to our individual organizations and emphasize the great work going on in the many states and cities where our organizations are found.  Their work continues, so stay tuned for more!

GRA Finances

GRA Treasurer, Kriss Sjoblom, reports that GRA finished 2013 with more members and more funds in the bank than previous years.  Hopefully the worst is behind us and GRA can grow as a strong association that serves our needs.

Leadership Change in Governments Division in the Census Bureau

It was recently announced that Lisa Blumerman is leaving the Governments Division in the Census Bureau for a new assignment in the position of the Assistant Director for the Decennial and 2020 Directorates.  In Lisa’s 5 1/2 years with the Governments Division she led the process of modernizing and reengineering the Census of Governments and our Government Statistics Program. She has sent staff to the GRA conference annually for the past few years and called upon representatives of GRA to better understand how their products are used by our community.  GRA wishes her luck in her new job and looks forward to building a strong relationship with her successor.

Staff Changes

Mallory Bateman Joins Utah Foundation
Utah Foundation is excited to have Mallory Bateman on board as a research analyst. Mallory received her Bachelors degree in Urban Planning from the University of Utah in 2008 and a MSc in Social Policy and Planning from the London School of Economics in 2012. Mallory comes from a background as a planner, with a focus on National Environmental Policy Act research and public involvement for transportation projects. Additionally, Mallory was the Project Director for a local non-profit focusing on voter registration and civic engagement. She is jumping right in with projects focusing on Utah’s population growth impacts through 2040 and on Utah’s water issues.

GRA Policy Conference

Details for the 2014 GRA Policy Conference continue to take shape.  The conference is scheduled for August 3-6 at the offices of the Pew Trusts in Washington, D.C.  Mark your calendar so you can be on hand to help celebrate the 100th anniversary of GRA as well as learn about several topics very timely to today’s policy environment.  Watch for future articles in these monthly emails as well as separate emails with agenda, hotel accommodation arrangements, and other details.

New Publications by GRA Organizations

See Newsletter

GRA Members: GASB seeks our feedback!

Over the past several years, state and local governments have dealt with multiple instances of major infrastructure damage related to hurricanes, floods and other natural disasters.  As the Governmental Accounting Standards Board reviews the financial reporting standards that govern capital assets and insurance recoveries, it is deeply interested in GRA members’ feedback on what data are important, how they are reported, and how current standards could be improved.

To facilitate that process, GASB has offered GRA members the opportunity to participate in a brief online survey, which can be accessed here: http://survey.confirmit.com/wix6/p2813322906.aspx?partner=1.

We hope you will take 5-10 minutes to share your feedback via the survey.  It will be critically important to informing GASB’s ongoing review, and help to make government financial statements as useful as possible for GRA members and the communities we serve.

If you are interested in reading more about Statement 42 and GASB’s review, please find additional information here.