Public Works


A Rewarding Year for Consulting

Eric Schnurer2015 has been a good year for my consulting firm, Public Works LLC.  We’ve had 23 consultants and staff at work on over a dozen projects stretching from Alaska to Puerto Rico, and covering all the firm’s major areas of traditional strength.

As always, the bulk of our work has come in government spending and efficiency.  We were retained to help close budget gaps in two of the most high-profile fiscal challenges in the country:  Over the late spring and early summer, we worked with Puerto Rico Senate President Eduardo Bhatia to help stanch the flow of red ink in the Commonwealth’s budget.  I wrote about the Puerto Rico budget situation this past summer  and appeared on a panel to discuss possible solutions on Capitol Hill last month.

Meanwhile, we undertook similar work in late summer and early fall to address the City of Chicago’s budget gap.  Thanks to union leaders like Chicago Federation of Labor President Jorge Ramirez and conscientious city officials like budget director Alexandra Holt, we helped to develop a package totaling over $100 million in savings.  We rounded out the year improving the fleet efficiency of one of the largest independent public authorities in the country, and launching an efficiency review of the county government in Travis County (Austin), Texas.

The year opened with finishing development of a strategic plan for human services in Broward County (Ft. Lauderdale) Florida, and launching a review of the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services.  Our final report in Alaska was just released publicly last week.  Meanwhile, we’re providing the subject-matter and analytic expertise on a 5-year, federally-funded study of minority health disparities in Virginia.

We’ve also been expanding our education footprint, with a performance review of four school districts in South Carolina, and two more reviews now underway in Alaska, of both the state’s preK-12 and higher ed systems.  Meanwhile, we’ve spent the latter half of 2015 preparing the Comprehensive System Improvement Plan for Rhode Island’s workforce investment system, the subject area in which we’ve probably undertaken the most work in recent years.

We’re expecting 2016 to be even better:  Half of these contracts extend well into the New Year, totaling 70% as much work signed on already for 2016 as we had for all of 2015.  We’re therefore expecting a close-to-record year in 2016.  We’re also expecting some major announcements early in the New Year, so stay tuned!

In the meantime, all of us at Public Works wish all of you, and your families, a healthy and happy holiday season.


Public Works Selected for Louisiana Early Childhood System Implementation

Because of Public Work’s successful work on the Louisiana GEMS project, the company has been brought in to facilitate implementation of Louisiana’s unified Early Childhood System of Local Networks.  This will provide families across Louisiana with access to high-quality early childhood programs by bringing the multiple current early childhood programs – including pre-kindergarten in public schools, the Nonpublic School Early Childhood Development Program, Head Start, Early Head Start, Early Steps and the Child Care and Assistance Program (CCAP) – together under one roof within the Department of Education.

This project is an example of Public Works’ unique capacity to work closely with and within government agencies to implement public policy and programmatic objectives and to being desired outcomes to fruition.  Public Works is working with the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) and the Louisiana Department of Education (LDOE) to help transition the Child Care and Development Fund from DCFS to LDOE.

Public Works is accomplishing this by managing an extensive work plan to transition the CCDF fund and programs tied to CCDF, including the licensing of day care facilities, CCAP payments, and client eligibility.  Bringing together both agencies, Public Works is working to seamlessly transition budget, programs, personnel, and computer systems from one to the other without interruption to the services they provide.  In conjunction with agency leadership and staff, Public Works is managing the creation and drafting of Cooperative Endeavor Agreements and ensuring that operational and statutory deadlines are met