New Leadership in the Public Sector

ImageI am aware of the change that is occurring in government as heads of departments are reaching the age of retirement. I seem to receive more and more invitations to retirement parties for individuals who have served county or city government for many decades.  I am mindful of the contributions that many of these individuals have made to improve our public systems, and I am also keenly aware of both the challenge and the opportunity that their departures create.  Continue reading

Mental Health Celebration

ImageLast night, we had the privilege of attending a celebration for the restoration of mental health funding in the California state budget.  For the first time in history, mental health funding was increased after decades of devastating cuts that have undermined the infrastructure and capacity of the public mental health system. The idea for the party was hatched by Senate President Pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg, a mental health advocate and champion for mental health and disability rights, and hosted by Rusty Selix, leader of the California Mental Health Association and California Council of Community Mental Health Agencies (CCCMHA).  Continue reading

RDA Presents Case Study at International Conferences on Management

We are very pleased to have been chosen to present a paper entitled Improving System-level Outcomes through Shared Managerial Understanding – A Case Study of A Group Process Strategy. The paper describes how local government jurisdictions in the United States face revenue loss due to our economic recession, and are experiencing a loss of institutional knowledge as a cluster of veteran managers reach retirement age.  Scarcity of resources coupled with the loss of long term leaders compounds the isolation and lack of communication departments within the larger organization experience.  There is often a lack of shared understanding of how the system operates as a whole and how individuals working within the system are, in fact, interdependent.

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RDA has been nominated for an Oakland Indie Award as a Social Changemaker!  The Oakland Indie Awards is a One PacificCoast Foundation initiative, in partnership with East Bay Express, encouraging people to recognize the community, economic, environmental and political impacts of supporting locally owned businesses and local artists.  For more information about the event, you can visit  In the meantime, please enjoy our video submission to the judge’s panel and see you at the awards!


patricia-bennettThe Public Safety Realignment Act, known as AB 109 or “Realignment”, has given our local communities a chance to implement “the most significant change in criminal justice in California in more than three decades”.[1] California is requiring counties to oversee all non-violent, non-serious, non-sex offenders by either putting them on county-supervised probation or by having them serve their time in county jails instead of sending them to State prison. Counties will also be responsible for post-release supervision and rehabilitative programming. Realignment is based on “a fundamental acknowledgement that counties are better positioned to integrate public health and social services as part of rehabilitation and reentry”[2] than the State as a whole.

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Child Welfare and Immigrant Families


Last month, I had one of those wonderful opportunities to step outside of my day-to-day work life and refresh my brain by attending a workshop. The topic of discussion was the social impact of the global economy and the fracturing of immigrant families. I learned some alarming facts regarding the disposition of children of undocumented parents who are discovered and detained by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency (ICE).

While both immigration and child welfare laws are based on the assumption that families will be, and should be, reunited, this is far from the practice. When undocumented parents are detained and deported, their children are relegated to foster care.  According to a study conducted by The Applied Research Center[1], these children often never see their parents again.

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