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Michael Grass

Executive Editor

Michael Grass, who joined the Government Executive Media Group in June 2014, is the founding co-editor of DCist.com 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 Politicker.com, 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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Rethinking Hazard Mapping After Wildfires Entered Urban Areas Thought to Be ‘Unburnable’

October 16, 2017 While California is no stranger to wildfire disasters, the recent blazes in Napa and Sonoma counties and elsewhere will be remembered for years for their ferociousness, destruction and death toll, which as of Sunday night stood at 41, including many elderly people who weren’t able to escape the flames. That...

The Necessity of Creating Fictitious People to Improve Digital Government

October 9, 2017 AUSTIN, Texas — Often in public-sector organizations, creating fictitious people might suggest something nefarious is going on or someone is trying to take advantage of a lax bureaucracy. But in the world of citizen-centric design, agency leaders should encourage teams to create fake people—or personas based on real users—to think...

When an Unnamed Storm Brings Far More Destruction Than a Named Hurricane

October 8, 2017 In the busy and destructive 2017 hurricane season, Hurricane Nate will likely end up as a relatively minor footnote compared to Harvey, Irma and Maria. The quickly moving storm didn’t have time to grow into a ferocious hurricane as it moved across the Gulf of Mexico and made landfall near...

The Immediate Need to Close the Daunting Cyber Workforce Gap

October 5, 2017 AUSTIN, Texas — Here’s an eye-popping statistic to think about: By 2020, there will be a 1.5 million cybersecurity workforce shortage around the world. And that is something being felt acutely in public sector organizations, including U.S. state government agencies. “We have an issue, ladies and gentlemen,” Stanton Gatewood, Georgia’s...

Annual State CIO Survey Shows a Continued Shift Away From Mainframes

October 3, 2017 AUSTIN, Texas — The release of the state CIO survey is always a highly anticipated moment during the annual National Association of State Chief Information Officers conference, which has been underway this week here in the capital of the Lone Star State. Although the survey is anonymous, it does provide...

If States Are Going to Be Agile, CIOs Need to Get Their Workforces Onboard

October 2, 2017 AUSTIN, Texas — As “agile” IT project management continues to gain steam in U.S. state governments, there are many important questions to ask about how to best embrace that methodology over the traditional “waterfall” approach. That was a topic of conversation at the National Association of State Chief Information Officers...

West Coast Cities and States Should Be More Worried About the Crisis in Puerto Rico

October 1, 2017 SEATTLE — Here in the Pacific Northwest’s largest city, Puerto Rico is just about as far away as you can get in the United States—Alaska and Hawaii are closer than the far-away U.S. commonwealth, home to 3.4 million people. The disaster that has followed Hurricane Maria may seem incredibly distant...

Check Out These Giant Pumpkins and Cabbages From 2017 State Fairs

September 21, 2017 PUYALLUP, Wash. — State fairs across the nation are known for their various individual traditions, whether it’s the famous Butter Cow in Iowa, the Milk Chug-a-Lug and Milk Mustache contests in Oregon or hot dish on a stick plus various other “hidden” food options in Minnesota. Here at the Washington...

Florida’s Largest City Faces ‘Trifecta’ of Problems as Irma Exits the State

September 11, 2017 With Hurricane Irma, much of the attention has been focused on Florida’s southwestern coast, where storm surge and winds were the strongest closest to where the eye came ashore, the weakened storm had an unanticipated surprise for Jacksonville, around 350 miles to the north near the state’s border with Georgia....

Disaster Risk and Economic Growth Create Uncomfortable Questions for Civic Boosters

September 11, 2017 SEATTLE — When Amazon.com, Inc. unexpectedly announced last week that it was seeking to build a second headquarters campus somewhere outside its home base in the Pacific Northwest’s largest city, it sent municipal leaders and regional economic development boosters across North America into overdrive to pull together proposals to help...