University of Vermont

At Issue: Replacing top leadership

MPA Program Director and CDAE Prof, Chris Koliba, Interviewed on WCAX

By Cat Viglienzoni - bio | email | Burlington Free Press August 15, 2014

BURLINGTON, Vt. - Governor Shumlin's decision to fire Vermont Human Services Secretary Doug Racine comes during high-profile troubles for the state's largest agency, including with Vermont Health Connect and the Department for Children and Families. But UVM Public Administration experts say the move is likely political.

The Vermont Human Services Agency is the largest agency in the state, employing nearly half of state workers and pulling in about 40 percent of the state's budget to provide a range of services for Vermonters.

"Basically, you're dealing with a large bureaucracy," says University of Vermont Public Administration professor Chris Koliba.

He says that agency faces challenges ranging from outdated technological systems to an internal culture that has been entrenched for decades. Steering it isn't easy.

"Sometimes new blood can be a very useful thing. When someone comes in and sees the culture with fresh eyes, perhaps they can plot a course ahead with a new leadership style," he says...

Continue reading the full story and see the video at the Burlington Free Press Website