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Jason Stilwell

Below are my research interests and publications.




Municipal Home Rule

The study of municipal home rule is interesting to me as it involves the continual quest upon local governments to pursue certain authority, power, and autonomy from the state governments.


County split

While working in Santa Barbara County a voter initiated process considered splitting the County into two thereby creating a new County to be named Mission County.  A Governor appointed body studied the issue and put the question to voters who voted the idea down.


Performance Management

Performance management, gathering and utilizing performance data for local government decision making, is a rapidly developing expertise being applied to governments around the world.  I believe this wave indicates the growth of a trend that will become a standard of professional government and an expected practice much as the innovations of the annual budget or audit are today. 






Analysis and Reporting Leads to Community Change

Professional Analysis and Reporting Remains Vitally Important,” CSMFO MiniNews (January 2013), 1.

This article in the official newsletter of the California Society of Municipal Finance Officers makes the case that the financial analysis and reporting prepared by staff remains a vitally important link between diagnosing a community’s health and setting the stage for voter approval of new revenues.


Monitoring Cost Center Performance Management

“Monitoring Performance at the Program Level Helps with Budget Reductions,” Government Finance Review 27:3 (June 2011), 55-59.

Effective performance management requires managing resources (funding and staffing) and performance at the program cost center level of an organization.  This article highlights how Santa Barbara County's cost center performance plan helps measure and monitor resources and activities at the lower levels of an organization. 


The Ethical Foundation of Performance Management:  Performance Management is Ethical Management

With Michael F. Brown, “The Ethical Foundation of Performance Measurement and Management,” Public Management 87:5 (June 2005), 22-25.

This article highlights the intimate relationship among professional local government management, ethics, and performance measurement. Describes performance measurement as a practical tool to meet core ethical values—trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring, and citizenship. Explores responsibilities resulting from these relationships. 


Home Rule in Colorado

With Robert Gage, "Home Rule in Colorado," in Home Rule in America: A Fifty State Handbook.  Dale Krane, Platon Rigos, Melvin B. Hill (eds.).  Congressional Quarterly Publishing, 2001.

Home rule powers are essential parts of the American governing process, but they vary widely from state to state. This authoritative reference work examines the powers and functions of municipalities and counties that operate under home rule within each state. 


The Sales Tax Revenue Implications and Administrative Efficacy of Colorado Municipal Home Rule

Doctoral dissertation, University of Colorado, Denver, 2000.

This dissertation examines the contemporary impact of municipal home rule on municipal sales tax revenue and on municipal policy as viewed by administrators.  This study finds Colorado home rule municipalities do not generate more revenue than their non-home rule counterparts and demonstrates Colorado home rule municipalities are able to ameliorate service to their residents as perceived by municipal administrators.   


Superior:  A Folk History

With Cynda Collins Arsenault, Superior a Folk History Private Publication, 1997.

This book covers the history of the Town of Superior, Colorado from a coal mining town founded in 1896 to its growth in the 1990s.


Managing Chaos

"Managing Chaos: Use It to Your Advantage," Public Management 78:9 (September 1996), 6-8.

This article examines the management of chaos. It suggests that chaos must be recognized, that chaos comes in differing levels, and provides five lessons to be learned from dealing with the ever-changing environment of the manager. References are provided. 



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Jason Stilwell
PO Box 91132
Santa Barbara, CA  93190-1132