Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs
Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Thurmaier applies management, development expertise locally, globally

Kurt Thurmaier

Thurmaier to share experiences

La Follette School alum Kurt Thurmaier was in Madison on Tuesday, March 23, to talk about his experiences with Tanzania Development Support at the La Follette School Seminar.

Sustainable friendship: Alumni Thurmaier, Kazeri collaborate to aid school in Tanzania, March 15, 2010, La Follette School News

After graduating in 1983 from what became the La Follette School of Public Affairs, Kurt Thurmaier spent his first years at the Wisconsin state budget office as a budget and management analyst. He advised the governor on economic development and local government legislation. After four years, he again heard the cry of academe, and he headed off to New York state, where he earned a Ph.D. in public administration from the Maxwell School at Syracuse University.

Thurmaier is now professor and director of the Division Public Administration at Northern Illinois University. His research interests include state and local public budgeting and finance, intergovernmental relations, comparative public management, and financing e-government, in which he has done extensive research, publication and teaching.

In 2008, Thurmaier helped to start Tanzania Development Support to aid the work of public administration classmate Leo Kazeri in Nyegina, Tanzania. The nonprofit organization supports Nyegina's strategic plan for meeting its community goals and builds on Thurmaier's graduate work at the Maxwell School in development administration.

"Tanzania is one of the world's poorest countries with a gross domestic product of $21 billion for 41 million people," Thurmaier says."Despite overwhelming poverty, Tanzanians are making great strides to lift themselves out of poverty through education, training, and community development. Tanzania is home to a lot of opportunity. It is exciting to be able to help one village achieve its goals for itself and its children."

Thurmaier's career includes a Fulbright Scholarship at Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland, consultant work with Polish local governments through the International City/County Management Association, and consultant work on U.S. city-county consolidation efforts.

In addition to numerous published articles, his books include Policy and Politics in State Budgeting and Case Studies of City-County Consolidations: Reshaping the Local Government Landscape, which analyzes the factors that lead to successful city-county consolidation elections in the United States. His latest book, in production at Georgetown University Press, is an evaluation of city-county consolidation promises. The title is Case Studies of City-County Consolidations: Promises Made, Promises Kept?