Commentary

Innovators in Action 2009

Now more than ever, governments at all levels are looking for ways to reduce spending and improve the services delivered to taxpayers. As such, I’m pleased to announce the release of Reason Foundation’s Innovators in Action 2009, which profiles nine innovators who have demonstrated leadership through action on privatization, competition, government re-invention and other market-based reforms designed to reduce the costs of government and deliver more value to taxpayers:

  • Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue created the Commission on a New Georgia, an advisory group of corporate executives partnering with the state to re-engineer its bureaucratic machinery.
  • Former New South Wales, Australia Premier Bob Carr embraced privately financed toll roads as a means of delivering infrastructure better, faster and cheaper than traditional government approaches.
  • Louisiana Commissioner of Administration Angele Davis is playing a central implementation role in Gov. Bobby Jindal’s wide-ranging efforts to streamline the state bureaucracy.
  • Under the leadership of State Superintendent of Education Paul Pastorek, Louisiana’s burgeoning school choice movement is using transparency, standards and accountability to improve student achievement and turn around low-performing schools.
  • Indianapolis Mayor Gregory Ballard has advanced an array of competition and government reform initiatives designed to control costs, improve government performance, and bring best business practices to government.
  • Former Florida Council on Efficient Government Executive Director Henry Garrigo helped to create a national model for a state center of excellence in privatization to ensure sound decisionmaking on outsourcing proposals.
  • Chicago’s Chief Financial Officer Gene Saffold oversaw the Windy City’s $1.15 billion lease of the city’s downtown parking meter system in 2009.
  • Former AT&T executive Oliver Porter led a citizen task force that created the template for the largely privatized government in Sandy Springs, Georgia.
  • Chief Information Officer Eric Gillespie and his colleagues at Onvia saw major gaps in the federal government’s commitment and ability to deliver on stimulus spending transparencyâ?? and they stepped in to fill it by creating Recovery.org at a fraction of the cost it took the feds to create their own Recovery.gov.

Amidst today’s massive deficits and red ink, we need government leaders who are willing to ditch the failed status quo and seek out better ways of doing things. We hope the examples and experiences offered by these innovators will inspire reform-minded officials at all levels of government to provide better, leaner and cheaper government to taxpayers.

Leonard Gilroy is Senior Managing Director of the Pension Integrity Project at Reason Foundation, a nonprofit think tank advancing free minds and free markets. The Pension Integrity Project assists policymakers and other stakeholders in designing, analyzing and implementing public sector pension reforms.

The project aims to promote solvent, sustainable retirement systems that provide retirement security for government workers while reducing taxpayer and pension system exposure to financial risk and reducing long-term costs for employers/taxpayers and employees. The project team provides education, reform policy options, and actuarial analysis for policymakers and stakeholders to help them design reform proposals that are practical and viable.

In 2016 and 2017, Reason's Pension Integrity Project helped design, negotiate and draft pension reforms for the state of Arizona's Public Safety Personnel Retirement System and Corrections Officer Retirement Plan, which both passed with overwhelming bipartisan support in the state legislature and were signed into law by Gov. Doug Ducey.

Gilroy is also the Director of Government Reform at Reason Foundation, researching privatization, public-private partnerships, infrastructure and urban policy issues.

Gilroy has a diversified background in policy research and implementation, with particular emphases on competition, government efficiency, transparency, accountability, and government performance. Gilroy has worked closely with legislators and elected officials in Texas, Arizona, Louisiana, New Jersey, Utah, Virginia, California and several other states and local governments in efforts to design and implement market-based policy approaches, improve government performance, enhance accountability in government programs, and reduce government spending.

In 2010 and 2011, Gilroy served as a gubernatorial appointee to the Arizona Commission on Privatization and Efficiency, and in 2010 he served as an advisor to the New Jersey Privatization Task Force, created by Gov. Chris Christie.

Gilroy is the editor of the widely-read Annual Privatization Report, which examines trends and chronicles the experiences of local, state, and federal governments in bringing competition to public services. Gilroy also edits Reason's Innovators in Action interview series, which profiles public sector innovators in their own words, including former U.S. Transportation Secretary Mary Peters, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, former Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, former New York City Mayor Rudy Guiliani and more.

Gilroy's articles have been featured in such leading publications as The Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, New York Post, The Weekly Standard, Washington Times, Houston Chronicle, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Arizona Republic, San Francisco Examiner, San Diego Union-Tribune, Philadelphia Inquirer, Sacramento Bee and The Salt Lake Tribune. He has also appeared on CNN, Fox News Channel, Fox Business, CNBC, National Public Radio and other media outlets.

Prior to joining Reason, Gilroy was a senior planner at a Louisiana-based urban planning consulting firm. He also worked as a research assistant at the Virginia Center for Coal and Energy Research at Virginia Tech. Gilroy earned a B.A. and M.A. in Urban and Regional Planning from Virginia Tech.