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SEA Reporting Project – Case Studies

In 1999, GASB researchers visited 26 state and local governments to determine the following:

  • the depth and breadth of actual use of SEA performance measures by these governments for budgeting, management, and reporting,
  • the effect of their use,
  • the extent to which governments are ensuring the relevance and reliability of SEA performance measures.

Through a comprehensive series of in-depth interviews at each site, the GASB researchers gathered information concerning:

  • the reasons they were using SEA performance measures,
  • how SEA performance measures were being used,
  • the degree to which SEA performance measures were being reported to citizens and other users,
  • the effect(s) of SEA performance measures and the reporting thereof,
  • what changes in the use of SEA performance measurement they believe would improve their effectiveness.


  • David Bernstein
  • Julia Melkers
  • Wilson Campbell
  • Laura Tucker
  • Paul Epstein
  • Katherine Willoughby
  • Jay Fountain

About our site visits:

The GASB researchers developed four standardized interview instruments for program directors and staff, legislators and elected officials, citizens, and the media. They conducted 15 to 20 interviews at each site, and identified several critical roles in managing for results; they tried to interview someone in each of these roles at every site visit.

The site visits produced a rich number of useful examples of the use and effects of using SEA performance measures for decision making in budgeting, management, and reporting. The GASB researchers prepared individual case studies for many of the state and local governments they visited which included an overview and a detailed text.


The GASB researchers tried to get several different perspectives including the legislature, the state auditor, the executive office of budget and planning, the comptroller or chief financial officer, human resources, and key people responsible for major information systems including the SEA performance measure information system. The GASB researchers interviewed the key champion of the SEA performance measures initiative and program directors and managers in public education, transportation, corrections, economic development, and human resources. When possible, the GASB researchers interviewed key citizen or taxpayer groups and media representatives.

State site visits included:

  • Arizona
  • Iowa
  • Oregon
  • California
  • Louisiana
  • Texas
  • Florida
  • Maine
  • Washington
  • Illinois
  • Minnesota
  • Wisconsin
    (Visits to Florida, Minnesota, Oregon, and Texas were made jointly with The Urban Institute and the National Conference of State Legislatures.)


A similar format was used for local government. The GASB researchers interviewed members of the city council; the city manager; and budget, finance, and audit personnel. The GASB researchers also interviewed individuals in the functional areas of police, fire, infrastructure, and community services, as well as citizens and the media. All of the functional areas were included in the International City/County Management Association (ICMA) Comparative Performance Measures Project.

Local site visits included:

  • Phoenix, AZ
  • Winston-Salem, NC
  • Tucson, AZ
  • Portland, OR
  • Sacramento, CA
  • Multnomah County, OR
  • San Jose, CA
  • Austin, TX
  • Sunnyvale, CA
  • Prince William County, VA
  • DeKalb County, GA
  • Richmond, VA
  • Greensboro, NC

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