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February 6, 2001

Reinventing Government Author Takes Aim at Counties

California counties don't need to wait for help from the state to begin solving their financial troubles or regaining public confidence, argues Ted Gaebler in a new publication from the California Institute for County Government.

The institute is affiliated with the Center for California Studies at California State University, Sacramento.

In the CICG Perspectives essay, "Reinventing County Government," Gaebler says counties must encourage creativity and shrug off bureaucratic impulses. They should encourage their employees to develop a new entrepreneurial attitude, much like the U.S. auto industry did in the 1980s, he says.

Gaebler is best known as the co-author of the influential book Reinventing Government. He has been an author, city manager and consultant, and is now the chief administrative officer of Nevada County.

"By 'mining the minds' of our existing employees to improve efficiency, generating additional revenue from activities we are already doing, and vigorously shedding service offerings that are past their prime, we can find the resources necessary to transform our county governments," Gaebler writes.

As an example, he cites Inglewood's successful parking fines collection system, which the city now sells at a profit to other local governments.

The California Institute for County Government, which published the essay, studies county policy and fiscal issues and offers consulting to county government. In addition to publishing occasional Perspectives and Research Briefs, the institute maintains extensive county statistical information, much of which is available on its website.

Copies of "Reinventing County Government," or additional information, are available by contacting the institute's director, Matthew Newman, at (916) 806-7127, sending an e-mail to or visiting the institute's website at


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