Michael Grass

Executive Editor Michael Grass, who joined the Government Executive Media Group in June 2014, is the founding co-editor of and worked as a copy editor at Roll Call, local and online editor at The Washington Post's Express newspaper, deputy managing editor at The New York Observer's, deputy managing editor at Washington City Paper and the D.C., Maryland and Virginia local editor for The Huffington Post. He also managed a non-profit network of state-based policy news sites in Colorado, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota and New Mexico.
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Embracing a Priority-Focused Approach to Local Government Budgeting

February 22, 2017 SNOQUALMIE, Wash. — While observing a recent workshop focused on priority-based budgeting in local governments in this picturesque city near Seattle earlier this month, I couldn’t help think back to a moment in mid-November at the Pittsburgh International Airport. While waiting for delayed luggage to show up, I ended up...

Welcome to the New and Improved Route Fifty

February 22, 2017 Route Fifty’s regular readers may have noticed a few changes around our homepage and article pages. This week, we launched a redesigned home for Route Fifty’s editorial content, which will offer new ways to explore our blog posts, articles and in-depth features through a cleaner interface, on desktop and mobile...

Albuquerque Leverages P3 to Restore a ‘Special But Difficult’ Historic Route 66 Landmark

February 19, 2017 A redevelopment site like the El Vado Motel, an abandoned landmark along historic Route 66 in Albuquerque, can be challenging. Across the nation, countless motor court motels from the mid-20th century sit abandoned, especially on roads that were bypassed by interstate highways. I’ve seen plenty of them over the years,...

A New Path to Authorize an Income Tax in Washington State May Start in Seattle

February 17, 2017 SEATTLE — For a state that’s often associated with progressive policy, Washington also has what’s considered the nation’s most regressive state and local tax structure. The Evergreen State is among a handful of states—Alaska, Florida, Nevada, South Dakota and Texas—that don’t collect an income tax. (New Hampshire and Tennessee don’t...

Route Fifty Special Report: The Health Data Equation

February 15, 2017 The effective delivery of health services, like many of the other responsibilities state and local governments have, depends on strong data practices. The insights and discoveries that emerge from data and analytics are critical for agency leaders, frontline employees and other important stakeholders to make informed decisions while facing tough...

Northern California Dam Emergency Prompts Widespread Downriver Evacuations

February 13, 2017 Upwards of 160,000 residents living downriver from the Oroville Dam in Northern California were ordered to leave Sunday after officials warned that an auxiliary spillway was quickly eroding and could suffer a complete failure, potentially leading to an uncontrolled release of water from the second-largest reservoir in the Golden State....

Cleveland’s ‘Moral Dilemma’ on Lead Poisoning; ‘We Just Don’t Have the Money’ in Kansas

February 12, 2017 HOUSING | Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson last week cited a “moral dilemma” when it comes to housing inspections during a discussion with local reporters. An investigation by The Plain Dealer into lead poisoning in Cleveland had discovered that the city government had only inspected less than half of the homes...

When Highway Traffic Is Dizzying ... But Not in the Way You Might Think

February 7, 2017 SEATTLE — Across the nation, traffic centers run by state and local governments keep their eyes on their roadway networks using traffic cameras and other monitoring devices. In the congested Puget Sound region, that includes the departments of transportation for the city of Seattle and Washington state. Regularly updated traffic...

1st Month Shows Strong Start for 2nd Ave. Subway

February 2, 2017 Last year was a big year for transit openings in the U.S., including major light-rail expansions in Los Angeles and Seattle, new commuter rail routes in Denver and streetcar lines in Cincinnati and Kansas City. Capping off 2016 was a special New Year’s Eve ceremony in New York City to...

In the ‘New Un-Normal’ of Trump, Cities Will Continue to Be Beacons of Progress

January 31, 2017 LONG BEACH, Calif. — Robert Garcia admits that like many big-city mayors, Donald Trump’s presidential victory in November took him by surprise. “Most urban mayors were expecting Secretary Clinton to win,” the mayor of Long Beach told Route Fifty in an interview last week. A White House led by Hillary...

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