360 Review with Josh Schoemann, Washington County, WI

Posted on April 21, 2015

We’re going to evaluate every single inch of the local government arena by talking to ourselves (a.k.a: other local government professionals), tech companies, journalists, professors, and anyone else who hasn’t blocked our email address.

Joshua Schoemann (LinkedIn and Twitter) is the County Administrator for Washington County. Prior to his position as the Washington County Administrator, Josh was the Administrator for the Village of Richfield from 2010 –2013. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree from UW-Whitewater and a Master of Public Administration from Northern Illinois University.

What I’m Listening to: Talk Radio; Classic Country

What I’m Reading: Will to Meaning by Victor Frankl

What I’m Watching: Blacklist; House of Cards

What I’m Doing: Serving

What I’m Proud of:  My Lord; My sons; My wife; My service

What I’m Thinking: Smaller, more efficient, effective and economical government (Priorities)

What I’m Afraid of: Fear

What I’m Missing: Like minded peers. I hope ELGL is the answer.

What I Want to Know From You: Innovation toward more sustainable government.  Can’t be all things to all people.


Best part of working in the local government arena. Most frustrating?

Problem solver.  Bureaucracy.

Describe the current state of local government. Grade?
I would describe the current state of local government as bloated and/or mediocre. My grade: C-.

Give us three areas in which local government is succeeding.

  • Most representative
  • Era of Innovation
  • Excellent Public Safety (generally speaking)

Give us three areas in which local government needs improvement.

  • Shared services/collaboration
  • Responding to the majority, not the vocal minority
  • Prioritize

For local government, was there any good that came from the Great Recession?

It forced us to either cut fat or get focused.

Evaluate whether local government is prepared for the ongoing wave of retirements. What could it do to prepare?

No, but no industry isn’t either.  One option to prepare is reduce service supply.

In your opinion, does local government have a lack of diversity in its workforce?

Yes, but my experience is limited.

“Innovation” is a trendy word and thrown around a lot in local government. What examples would you point to as government innovation?

  • Priority Based Budgeting
  • Shared Services
  • Internet/Social Media

Evaluate local government’s willingness to embrace new technologies.

Medium to High

Wave a magic wand – what three wishes would you grant local government?

  • Priorities (Hedgehog)
  • Proper Funding
  • 100% Public Input

What question(s) should we ask the next person that completes this questionnaire?

What current service could we not do, which could provide more resources for another service, and what would that service be?

Supplemental Reading

360 Review — The Archives

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