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MRSC Insight Blog

Posts for Stan Finkelstein

Fiscal Feast or Famine: A Survival Guide

What can local governments do to avoid the fiscal cliff? Advisor Stan Finkelstein argues that the best defense is to develop a multiyear forecast of anticipated resources and expenditures.

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Avoiding the Pitfalls of the Next Economic Downturn

Are local governments destined to experience the problems they encountered between 2009 and 2012? How can elected officials respond in a fiscally prudent manner to an uncertain future? Advisor Stan Finkelstein suggests guidelines for local governments in order to avoid “falling over the cliff” during a rough economic cycle.

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The Dynamics of Public Sector Budgeting - Who is the Constituency?

This post attempts to broaden the budgetary discussion and encourage local officials to recognize the need to address the longer term needs of their jurisdictions when adopting budgets.

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Budgeting During Periods of Economic Instability

Many local governments have been significantly affected by the Great Recession and its aftermath, making it more difficult to address a variety of critical financial issues. This blog post provides seven rules of prudent fiscal management.

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Charting Your Future Part 2: Conducting a Strategic Planning Retreat

Stan Finkelstein continues his series on strategic planning by describing the role of retreats along with key strategies for conducting them effectively.

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Charting a Future Course for Your County or City

The reality is that in this day and age the citizenry, for the most part, desires dynamic local governments. They abhor lethargy and they want to see positive change. They want their elected officials to position their jurisdictions to anticipate future needs. For the past 6 years most Washington counties and cities have been “treading water” ...

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Strategic Fiscal Management - Avoiding the Next Fiscal Cliff: Do's and Don'ts

During the past five years, many counties and cities have struggled with shrinking resources, rising health care and energy costs and a citizenry clamoring for their governments to sustain and enhance services. The question often arises as to whether local officials could have initiated strategies prior to the start of the "great recession" that would have enabled them to better maintain revenues...

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Leadership: An Inherent or an Acquired Skill?

In the November 2013 issue of the Council/Commission Advisor, I acknowledged that the citizenry expects its elected officials to possess strong and effective leadership skills. I further described what I believe is leadership; its characteristics and the attributes of successful leaders. What I did not delve into is the age old issue...

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The Keys to Becoming a "Leader"

In this era of declining approval ratings for national, state and local leaders, strong and effective leadership is one of those qualities that the citizenry is seeking from its elected officials. This article will explore the questions of what is leadership; what are the characteristics and attributes of leadership; how can elected officials become leaders and re-instill confidence in...

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Infrastructure Financing - Future Strategies to Meet Capital Needs

While in recent weeks much attention has been directed at the collapse of the Skagit River Bridge on Interstate-5, that event is symptomatic of far greater infrastructure deficiencies confronting state and local governments.

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