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Accountability initiatives & institutions in Minnesota

Archibald Bush Foundation

An independent foundation serving Minnesota and the Dakotas, the Bush Foundation has realigned its priorities to include a major new focus on fostering courageous leadership and effective problem-solving in Minnesota communities.

Association of Minnesota Counties (AMC)

AMC serves as a central resource for Minnesota’s 87 counties, and it recently created the Minnesota Redesign Project, aimed at restoring trust, transparency and effectiveness to the relationship between state and county governments.

Minnesota Chamber of Commerce

The state’s largest membership association of business owners and managers recently undertook an effort to provide expertise on ways to save costs in highway and transportation construction. The Chamber often works with state and local governments in public-private partnerships to achieve goals and reduce costs.

Citizens League

A non-partisan civic organization with decades of experience and a solid reputation in “good-government” policy analysis and prescriptive recommendations, the Citizens League is committed to finding new solutions to common policy problems and increasing civic engagement in Minnesota. Recent work has focused on immigrant students and higher education, the governance of water in Minnesota, and poverty policy.

Drive to Excellence

Launched by Gov. Tim Pawlenty in 2005, the Drive to Excellence has focused on increasing quality, improving customer service and reducing costs in government. The program has more than a dozen initiatives completed or currently underway and has saved millions of dollars.

House-Senate Commitment to Government Accountability Group

Led by state Sen. Ann Rest, Rep. Steve Simon, and Rep. Ryan Winkler, this group of legislators has adopted five core principles to guide their legislative agenda. These principles state that Minnesota government should deliver straight talk and open books; use honest accounting and realistic budgeting; cut bureaucracy and reward innovation; be required to deliver results; and set clear priorities and plan for the long run. One of the proposals authored by group members calls for an improvement in the use of the Minnesota Milestones and other statewide goals and indicators in state planning.

League of Minnesota Cities

The League provides a wealth of accountability and performance-improving guidance and services for Minnesota’s 853 city governments. The League recognizes innovation and effectiveness through its annual City of Excellence Awards program. Recent winners include cities that have combined public safety and administrative functions.

Minnesota Colleges and Universities Dashboard

This new website quickly displays goals for the Minnesota Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) system and its progress toward key performance benchmarks.

Minnesota Business Partnership

Comprised of the leaders of more than 100 of Minnesota’s largest employers, the Partnership maintains a Partnering for Productivity initiative that connects corporate leaders with government leaders to share expertise and bring private-sector practices to the public sector.

Minnesota Coalition on Government Information

This coalition is a network of individuals and organizations committed to open access to public information in print, electronic and digital forms. Its members include librarians, media representatives, lawyers, community activists, computer professionals and educators.

Minnesota Council for Quality

The Council is a nonprofit corporation that believes that Minnesota’s socio-economic future depends largely on the effective management of organizations throughout the state. They are a resource for helping organizations in all sectors and in all communities throughout Minnesota improve their operations and their performance. They also collaborate with other nonprofits that focus on improvement.

Office of the Legislative Auditor

The Office of the Legislative Auditor serves as the largest and most prominent agency that analyzes and evaluates the effectiveness and integrity of state and local government programs and initiatives in Minnesota. It has long enjoyed a sterling reputation for thoroughness and toughness, and a wealth of audits and background information on public agencies, programs and entire public systems are available on its website.

State Auditor

The State Auditor, a statewide elected office, is responsible for oversight of the $20 billion spent by local governments throughout the state, and has recently undertaken efforts to make its research more easily accessible via the Internet. The office maintains a “Best Practices Review” function, and provides weekly e-updates containing important tips, information and reminders related to local government financial activities.

Twin Cities Compass

A partnership of Wilder Research and The Itasca Project, this resource tracks trends and gives unbiased information about how our region is faring in several key quality-of-life areas including civic engagement, early childhood, the economy, environment, health and transportation.

University of Minnesota Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs

The Humphrey Institute has created a “Governance and Accountability” focus area to research the current strengths and limitations of accountability mechanisms in government.

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