Friday Fab Five: Government-ese, Rebuilding Joplin, and How to Woo a Govie

Before you clock out for a long Memorial Day weekend, be sure to check out the…

Friday Fab 5!

Yes, it’s Friday yet again, and I’m sure everyone is itching to get away (if you haven’t already). So before you break out the barbeque, it’s time to take a look back at the week here on GovLoop and highlight some of its greatest moments.

Today’s Blog of the Week comes to us from Steve Radick and his post, Why Implementing the Plain Writing Act Will Take Decades. As many of you are probably already aware, the Obama administration signed into law (back in 2010) the Plain Writing Act. Now take a few moments to consider how your agency or organization is doing in holding up this new law? Is it working? Well hopefully you can take some consolation in knowing that Obama is not the first president to attempt to implement such a law. So how can we make sure this new law avoids the same downfall as the others? What are you doing in your organization to cut through the bureaucratic techy-lingo and start using human-speak? Here’s one of Steve’s suggestions:

No Reward, No Punishment. Government employees aren’t just going to start writing in plain English because you told them to. Think of the alcoholic who takes Antabuse to punish himself if he takes a drink or the dog who gets a treat for sitting on command. Positive behaviors need to be positively reinforced and negative ones negatively reinforced. This is behavior modification 101. -Steve Radick

The Top Forum of the week is Mark Hammer‘s How do local governments “reconstitute” when under duress? In the wake of the tornadoes that tore across the midwest last week, thousands were left without homes, support, and even loved ones. Yet another thing they were left without, and something which we may not immediately recognize, is local leadership and all of the organization and infrastructure that goes along with it. So Mark’s question is especially poignant and real- how do smaller communities bounce back from such devastation? It’s a tough question, but someone has to ask it. Here’s some of Mark’s thoughts, and I would encourage you to read the many responses from the GovLoop community in an effort to give hope to a seemingly dim situation:

Still, there is some expectation that eventually the town of Joplin will once again have numbers to phone, websites that work (and have people attached to them), and services to provide. So I’m wondering, when a municipality faces such devastation, what is the “natural history” of how it pieces its public sector back together again? How on earth does a municipality once again have an annual budget to work with? Is the existing structure of the municipal public sector reinstated or does it undergo change? What are the first and last services to emerge from the catastrophe? Is there a different attitude towards the municipal government and public sector when things start returning to “normal”? -Mark Hammer

The Most Active Group award this week goes to Bill Greeves‘ group MuniGov 2.0. This also fits with the theme of our top forum of the week. Local governments are as different as the location and people that populate them. Along with that is their own individual set of problems and issues specific to their region. However, there is still quite a bit that is shared among them, and MuniGov 2.0 is the best place on GovLoop to share those similarities and collaborate with other local govies looking to learn from eachother and share best practices. So if you have any role in a local government, this is the group for you. MuniGov 2.0 continues to see growth and activity on all fronts- wall posts, discussions, etc. so head on over and join the conversation!

Our Quote of the Week comes to us from Sterling Whitehead and his clever post regarding Acquisition Pick Up Lines. If you’re in acquisition or have dealt with acquisition departments in any way, these will definitely bring a smile to your face as they did mine. If you have any of your own to share, join the other GovLoopers who commented with their own pick-up lines, and leave them in the blog’s comments section.

My friends came up with these, so I can’t take credit. Still they’re just way too much fun not to post. Some of my favorites are…

Nobody else can do what I do.

I’ll call you in the morning.

You are my first.

That really is my number.

Baby, we’re on a firm-fixed-price.


That’s okay. You’re cost reimbursing me. -Sterling Whitehead

And finally, Rockstar of the Week goes to none other than Neil McEvoy of Toronto, Canada. Neil has been a content powerhouse this past week, posting numerous blogs, sharing his own thoughts via comments, and even starting a new group. He is also an open government/gov 2.0 guru so go ahead and add him as a friend, and get connected to start sharing ideas, as Neil’s got a bunch of them. And in case you need more convincing, here’s a list of all the great blogs Neil has posted this week alone for you to check out:

High Performance Clusters – Unleashing an Innovation Nation

We’re on GovLoop

Open Linked Data as the foundation for Open Government

“No poverty reduction strategy proposed”

Fostering Social Innovation through Open Government

Can cyberinfrastructure end poverty?

Deloitte on Canadian Public Sector Innovation

Open Public Innovation, as a Service

Open Civic Engagement, as a Service

Have a great Memorial Day, and enjoy your weekend!

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