Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs
Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Lavigna briefs Philadelphia mayoral campaigns

Bob Lavigna Bob Lavigna

Public affairs professor Bob Lavigna recently participated in a briefing for the campaigns of two candidates for Philadelphia mayor.

In his part of the briefing, Lavigna focused on strategies for measuring and improving employee engagement in government. Candidate Jim Kenney and a campaign staff member for Melissa Murray Bailey consulted with Lavigna on drawing on his book, Engaging Government Employees: Motivate and Inspire Your People to Achieve Superior Performance.

“I shared ideas they could use to leverage the talents of Philadelphia’s public servants,” Lavigna says. “I emphasized that leaders must make an explicit long-term, strategic commitment to measuring and improving engagement. They should communicate this commitment, and the business case for engagement, throughout the organization to obtain the commitment of other leaders, managers and supervisors.”

Lavigna also emphasized that since the current incumbent is not running, the new mayor should be in a strong position politically to take the pulse of the city workforce.

Lavigna is assistant vice chancellor of human resources for the University of Wisconsin–Madison and he teaches the public personnel administration course for the La Follette School. He has more than 30 years of experience leading public sector human resources organizations and programs.

From 2006 until 2010, Lavigna was vice president of research for the Partnership for Public Service, a nonpartisan nonprofit dedicated to revitalizing public service by inspiring new generations to serve and helping to transform government. He directed research projects that found new ways for government to attract, develop and retain talent. His research portfolio included “Best Places to Work in the Federal Government.”

Lavigna is an elected fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration. His individual awards and honors include selection as a “Public Official of the Year” by Governing magazine, the IPMA-HR Stockberger and Honorary Life Membership awards, and the “Rooney Leadership Award” from NASPE. He was the first HR official to be awarded a “Henry Toll Fellowship” from the Council of State Governments.