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Sep 2019 | September Issue

LETTER FROM THE EDITOR
Tyler Sutton, Editor-in-Chief

LETTER FROM THE EDITOR

 
One thing seems certain in politics these days; no one, not even the pollsters, can predict what will happen next. From Brexit and trade wars to impeachment inquiries and talk of another recession, global political uncertainty is leaving many feeling uneasy. It is times like these that truly demonstrate the importance of a strong public service. Regardless of political and economic turbulence, it is up to public administrators to stay the course and strive to improve service delivery.
 
The September issue of the Public Sector Digest features contributions from leading academics and public sector practitioners that are working to find new ways to make government run more efficiently, transparently, and securely. These authors provide concrete solutions for improving access to better data to enhance decision making. When politics can change so quickly, it is up to public servants to provide timely and accurate information to help nudge government toward the best possible policy decisions. 
 
Our featured Case Study “Review & Restate TCA” makes a compelling case for governments to align their financial and asset data, even if that means restating financial statements. “Improving the TCA data and adjusting the net-book-value on the statements is a worthwhile endeavor for every community” says Patrick Kelly, Director of Finance for the Township of Wilmot in Ontario. With one centralized asset dataset to reference, all departments in public sector organizations can make decisions using the most complete and accurate information. 
 
Dr. Sam Savage of Stanford University writes about the Flaw of Averages where uncertainties, like the impacts of climate change, are incorrectly replaced by single number average estimates. Savage explains that governments should be running simulations to represent uncertainties as arrays of thousands of potential outcomes, not just one average estimate. Savage’s non-profit, ProbabilityManagement.org, offers a freely available simulation tool that governments can start using today to calculate things like damage estimates from future flooding. With open source and automated resources now available to governments to conduct far more robust and accurate analysis, the problem of capacity limitations in the public sector should no longer serve as a barrier to making better informed policy decisions. 
 
Cyber security is one of the most complex challenges facing governments today, but it is also the area in which public sector practitioners have the opportunity to enhance the function and stability of government most profoundly. Graham Bushkes of Fortinet Canada provides clear steps that municipalities in particular can take to combat the growing threat of cyber attacks. “As municipalities embrace digital technologies to better serve their citizens, it’s important that they also put the right defenses up” explains Bushkes. 
 
Budgets and the political will to address issues like cyber security or the infrastructure deficit will continue to ebb and flow with the changing political winds. But with growing maturity in the public service, in areas like asset management, climate change adaptation, and long-term financial planning, we can rest easier knowing that our public administrators are working tirelessly behind the scenes.   
 

Tyler Sutton, Editor-in-Chief
Public Sector Digest