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Research

POLIS research projects focus on matters that encompass the legal, organizational, and operational complexities of state and local governance. Our team has taken a leading role in building an understanding of intergovernmental dynamics and an overarching view of local government issues in New York State.

Research and Partnership Projects

POLIS Policy Brief: Making Stone Soup: Establishing a New York State
Local Government Data Center

The Program on Local and Intergovernmental Studies (POLIS) at Rockefeller College of Public Affairs & Policy, University at Albany, has released a policy brief on the need for a permanent, systematically developed local government data center in New York State. 

Assessing the Fiscal Impact of Lawsuits on New York State Municipalities
(Report One)

The Program on Local and Intergovernmental Studies has released the first report in a three part study series exploring the fiscal impact of lawsuits on New York State municipalities.

Intermunicipal Cooperation & Consolidation Activities in New York State: A Second Look (forthcoming August 2011)
POLIS has compiled a record of cooperative activity among New York State municipalities and counties, derived from news reports over the period from 2002 to 2009.  The data show interesting patterns across regions, service areas, and municipal partnerships, and provides summary statistics.

Options for Justice Court Restructuring in Delaware County (2010)
In 2010, POLIS was commissioned to assess justice court efficiencies and restructuring options available to municipalities in Delaware County.  POLIS conducted a similar assessment of justice courts in Ulster County in 2009.

Options for Justice Court Restructuring in Ulster County (2010)
In 2009, POLIS was commissioned to assess justice court restructuring options available to 13 municipalities in Ulster County.  This study was funded with Shared Municipal Service Incentive funds.  Research addressed questions of cost, efficiency, and oversight, offering a more complete picture of justice court operations and board relations in Ulster municipalities.  With this information in mind, POLIS explored restructuring options from legal and geographic standpoints, highlighting best opportunities. 

Divisional Transition Project (2006-2009)
POLIS worked with the Office of the State Comptroller, Division of Local Government and School Accountability to study a large-scale business and staffing transition.  This partnership project resulted in five proprietary reports.

Municipal Cooperation and Consolidation: Mapping Albany County (April 2008)
The Mapping Albany County project explores shared services activity within a single county.  The study’s primary objective was to collect rich, detailed information on cooperative practices among municipalities in Albany County. Our interests included current practices, attitudes toward shared services, and officials’ perceptions of factors that limit or support cooperative activities. POLIS learned, for example, that many successful cooperative activities in Albany County had high fiscal returns and low administrative costs. 

Local Governance Dialogue Project
The Local Governance Dialogue Project is an intergovernmental partnership project concerned with the sustainability of municipalities in New York State. The Dialogue study addresses the marked decline in the fiscal conditions and economic outlook of communities across the state.  It was POLIS’s objective that the project’s open and inclusive dialogue elicit key stakeholder perspectives on the urgency of municipal conditions, and the causes of those conditions, so that critical issues could be framed by those on the ground, namely local officials. The project was commissioned by the Office of the New York State Comptroller, Division of Local Government Services and Economic Development.

NYS Office of Real Property Services (2004-05)
POLIS investigated how the NYS Office of Real Property Services helped build the capacity of county and local units to improve delivery of assessment services across municipalities, and incentivize voluntary movement toward full market valuation of real property. 

NYS Office of Real Property Services (2005)
POLIS worked with the Office of Real Property Services executive team to create strategic objectives for intergovernmental development.

Intermunicipal Cooperation & Consolidation Activities in New York State: A Snapshot (October 2004)
In support of legislative interest in intermunicipal cooperation, POLIS agreed to assemble a snapshot of consolidation activities among municipalities in New York State. The work was conducted over a ten-day period in late September 2004. While neither rigorous nor exhaustive, the POLIS snapshot offers a glimpse of such activities using news media sources from across the state.  POLIS is currently working on an updated and extended version of this study.

Public Need to Know: Emergencies, Government Organizations, and Public Information  (Fall 2003)
This article provides a theoretical framework outlining key variables that help explain public sector information strategies in response to emergency situations.

Fostering Social Equity and Economic Opportunity Through Citizen Participation: An Innovative Approach to Municipal Service Delivery (June 2003)
This paper outlines an alternative approach to framing issues of social and economic equity in the context of local government administration and responsibilities.  Reluctantly or not, cities are on the front line of government jurisdictions in handling these issues. If cities fail to address inequities they risk continued deterioration of the urban environment, decreased citizen support for government, and diminished quality of life.

Primers

Role Transitions in Organizations (September 2006)
This primer discusses the processes of adapting to a new professional role or organization, and was prepared as a supplementary deliverable to the Office of the Comptroller of New York State. It is meant to clarify the dynamics of this transition and support the processes that build effective employees.

Transfer of Learning and Training (September 2006)
This primer provides an introduction to the topic of learning or training transfer, and was prepared as a supplementary deliverable to the Office of the New York State Comptroller.  Organizations spend significant amounts of their time and resources on training new and current employees.  The impact training has is a vital matter for organizations, given the enhanced capacity it can and should build.  However, it is estimated that as little as 10 to 20 percent of the knowledge or skills taught in training programs are effectively transferred to the workplace.  Some of the approaches or techniques organizations might utilize to increase those percentages are offered here.   

Understanding the Nature of Intergovernmental Work (April 2004)
Viewed through the lens of government practice, the Program on Local and Intergovernmental Studiesexamined the essential characteristics of intergovernmental work and the challenges it presents.