The Collins Center Offers City Help with Capital Improvement Plan

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With background in financial management and cost-saving solutions, Stephen Lisauskas serves as the Vice President of Government Affairs and the Regional Vice President of Municipal Partnerships at WasteZero. Stephen Lisauskas also leverages his experience in public administration to serve as a Senior Associate at the Edward J. Collins Center for Public Management at the University of Massachusetts Boston.

According to a recent news release, the Collins Center has partnered with the City of Marlborough to help the city identify and prioritize long-term initiatives that will advance a broad capital improvement plan. The partnership was formed after Marlborough received a $30,000 state grant through the Community Compact program to implement best practices and establish a multiyear capital improvement strategy.

Marlborough partnered with the Collins Center on the grant program because the center has experience helping municipalities develop planning initiatives and capital plans. In the early stages of the program, representatives from the Collins Center will work with city department heads to learn more about the City’s priorities and objectives, which will allow them to develop potential capital improvements. The capital improvement plan is expected to be completed by July of 2016.

WasteZero Programs Lead to Cost Savings in Brewer, Maine

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For more than five years, Stephen Lisauskas has served as a Senior Associate at the Edward J. Collins Center for Public Management at the University of Massachusetts Boston. Stephen Lisauskas balances this role with his responsibilities as the Vice President of Government Affairs and the Regional Vice President of Municipal Partnerships at WasteZero.

Committed to halving the amount of trash in America, WasteZero helps implement cutting-edge waste reduction programs in communities across the country, including the city of Brewer, Maine. WasteZero helped Brewer establish a pay-as-you-throw program in 2011 to decrease the amount of trash transported to a facility in another town.

Over the past five years, these programs have saved Brewer $370,000 by significantly increasing recycling rates and decreasing the tonnage of solid waste collected. Brewer reports that the WasteZero programs led to an almost six-fold increase in recycling rates and cut the amount of curbside waste collected by 50 percent. According to a representative from WasteZero, the programs are successful in part because they improve consumers’ awareness about the cost of trash.

The Detroit Municipal Bankruptcy

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Detroit Municipal Bankruptcy

Stephen Lisauskas has spent his career helping municipalities avoid bankruptcy and reorganizing local government to increase efficiency. In his work helping to turn around the finances of municipalities such as Springfield Massachusetts, Stephen Lisauskas has managed to help communities avoid bankruptcy. However, there are municipalities across the United States that have not managed to avoid declaring bankruptcy; Detroit filed for bankruptcy in 2013.

The right of a municipal government to file bankruptcy only applies to those municipal governments authorized by their state to file for bankruptcy. This authorization may come from a specific state laws, or by an officer of the government specifically empowered to determine whether a municipality may declare bankruptcy. Since 1937 there have been 665 municipal bankruptcies, of these 51 have occurred since 2010. This marked increase in the rate of municipal bankruptcies may be attributed to the increase in unfunded liabilities, especially pension liabilities, and the economic recession. Detroit is by far the largest municipal bankruptcy in US history with an estimated debt of $18-20 billion.

Detroit filed for bankruptcy on July 18th, 2013 after it became clear that the city was insolvent, with nearly a third of its outgoing payments to pensions. While the city was initially ruled ineligible to declare bankruptcy by a Michigan court, this decision was reversed in October. The Detroit bankruptcy is expected to result in a $7 billion loss to its creditors.

Distinguished Budget Presentation Awards for Public Finance Officials

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Distinguished Budget Presentation Award

In his work as an associate with University of Massachusetts’ Edward J. Collins Center for Public Management, Stephen Lisauskas works with municipalities in financial distress with a view to reforming municipal systems for maximum efficiency. For example, as executive director of the Springfield, Massachusetts Finance Control Board, Stephen Lisauskas increased energy efficiency of municipal buildings. While this program costs $1.1 million in debt service per year to maintain, it saves the government $1.17 million worth of wasted energy, a benefit set to increase as energy costs increase. His work on the Springfield Finance Board earned Mr. Lisauskas a Distinguished Budget Presentation Award.

Distinguished Budget Presentation Awards are presented by the Government Finance Officers Association, which includes American and Canadian public finance officials. Established in 1984, the awards aim at promoting and recognizing excellent public finance documents. In order to be eligible, budgets need to be available to the public either in hard-copy format or online. Winners of the award must have well-organized budgets that present both the financial and non-financial goals and also thoroughly explain the financing and budget schedule.

Stephen Lisauskas: The Unique Jujitsu Practices of the International Seirenkai Organization

International Seirenkai Organization pic
International Seirenkai Organization

A fifth-degree black belt, municipal finance expert Stephen Lisauskas serves as a founding member of the Board of Directors of the International Seirenkai Organization, or ISO. Founded in 2008, the Connecticut-based organization works to advance several martial arts traditions of karate, jujitsu, and kobudo, which focuses on the skillful use of Okinawan weapons. Through all of its practices, the ISO seeks to improve the physical health of its members while promoting self-confidence, leadership, and responsibility, as well as respect for others.

While many organizations teach competitive jujitsu, a traditional Japanese martial art, the ISO has developed its own unique form called Seirenkai Jujitsu. Unlike other approaches to the art, Seirenkai Jujitsu is wholly practical in its philosophy and design, and its sole goal is self-defense. As a result, the form focuses on a variety of defensive maneuvers, including throws, grappling, and pressure point techniques. Practitioners also master strikes, punches, kicks, and blocks.

Stephen Lisauskas Discusses the Distinguished Budget Presentation Award

Respected public administrator and consultant Stephen Lisauskas is the proud recipient of multiple industry awards, including two consecutive Distinguished Budget Presentation Awards from the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA). Lisauskas earned these prestigious designations in 2009 and 2010, while serving as Executive Director of the Springfield Finance Control Board – a government board responsible for financially restructuring the city of Springfield, the third largest city in Massachusetts.

The Distinguished Budget Presentation Awards have been given since 1984 as a means of promoting the highest standards in budgeting by state and local governments. All government entities below the federal level are eligible to compete for the award by submitting a publicly available budget. Entrants are evaluated by members of the GFOA staff and by outside experts in the field of public-sector finance. Three judges rigorously review each budget, measuring it carefully against a set of 27 individual criteria. Winning budgets are publicly announced by the GFOA as models of the best practices in the financial sector.

Maxwell School of Syracuse University Offers Unique Interdisciplinary Learning Environment

Stephen Lisauskas, a senior associate at the Edward J. Collins Center for Public Management, attended Maxwell School of Syracuse University, the nation’s top graduate school in public affairs. The Maxwell School’s master’s in public administration (MPA) program is consistently ranked number one by U.S. News & World Report. For Stephen Lisauskas, who earned the School’s prestigious Master’s Prize, his MPA from the Maxwell School helped launch a successful career in public administration and government consulting.

The Maxwell School holds distinction as the only public affairs program that also offers degrees in public administration, international relations (IR), and in the social sciences. In addition to its top-ranked MPA program, the Maxwell School’s IR program earned ranking in the nation’s top ten by Foreign Policy magazine. Maxwell also offers MA and PhD programs in the social sciences, along with undergraduate social science instruction.

The Maxwell School’s breadth and academic rigor attract top faculty with a wide range of interests, from pure scholarship to applied studies. The school nurtures interdisciplinary research through 10 centers and institutes focused on different aspects of public affairs.