An Analysis of Local Government Performance Measurement Reports
McCall, Sam M. (Sam Michael) (author)
Klay, William Earle (professor directing dissertation)
Icerman, Rhoda C. (outside committee member)
Berry, Frances Stokes (committee member)
Eger, Robert J. (committee member)
School of Public Administration and Policy (degree granting department)
Florida State University (degree granting institution)
This research has shown that the theory underlying the responsibility for government to report on its performance with both financial and nonfinancial information goes back over 100 years. Public reporting to citizens on government's performance is supported by efficient citizenship, bureaucratic politics, and democracy theory in public administration. Prior to the establishment of the GASB in 1984, the Financial Accounting Standards Board and leading governmental accounting organizations recognized that measures other than shareholder wealth were needed for government. The measures could be financial and nonfinancial and should focus on resources provided and services rendered. To manage the ambiguities inherent in performance reporting (also referred to as Service Efforts and Accomplishment reporting), the GASB has nurtured SEA reporting by calling for experimentation and conducting issuing research on the topic for almost 25 years. In 2003, the GASB identified sixteen suggested criteria for external SEA reporting. There have been significant objections to GASB's involvement in SEA notwithstanding authority granted to the Board by the Financial Accounting Foundation. In 2008, the GASB issued new and revised Concept Statements describing the GASB's role in SEA and providing guidance for governments that voluntarily choose to externally report SEA to citizens and others. The research has shown GASB's sixteen suggested criteria for SEA reporting are attainable as demonstrated by several local governments participating in the Association of Government Accountants SEA certificate program. At the same time, SEA reporting has not received widespread acceptance and adoption by local governments. Additional research is need to identify whether the lack of widespread reporting is related to resource availability, the lack of a model reporting format, reluctance to externally report the government's performance by management and/or elected officials, or a lack of demand on the part of citizens. It could be that citizens are not aware such information exists or governments may not be aware the information could be provided with some additional guidance and effort. New and revised Concepts Statement 5 and 2 have addressed many of the objections to GASB's involvement in SEA. In addition, this research has shown that several local government SEA reports have responded and/or overcome objections put forward by leading public organizations. However, there continues to be a need for verification of reported data. Lastly, both the GASB and the Government Finance Officers Association have defined the term "accountability" differently. The GASB definition more clearly identifies with issuing SEA reports for citizen consumption. Ways need to be identified to allow "an ordinary citizen" to be able to access and easily understand their government's performance. This research has significant implications for public administration, governmental accounting, budgeting, policymaking, accountability, and citizenship.
Performance Reporting, Local Government, Governmental Accounting Standards Board, Performance Measurement
March 24, 2009.
A Dissertation submitted to the Askew School of Public Administration and Public Policy in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Includes bibliographical references.
William Earle Klay, Professor Directing Dissertation; Rhoda C. Icerman, Outside Committee Member; Frances Stokes Berry, Committee Member; Robert J. Eger, III, Committee Member.
Florida State University
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