Elmer Boyd Staats and the Pursuit of Good Government


Kathe Callahan is an assistant professor of public administration at Rutgers University–Newark. She publishes on the topics of citizen participation, government performance, and accountability. E-mail:kathe@andromeda.rutgers.edu.


After more than a quarter-century of service at the Bureau of the Budget, Dr. Elmer Staats accepted a 15-year appointment as head of the General Accounting Office. Prior to his retirement in 1981, Staats oversaw an expansion and modernization of the GAO. He introduced sophisticated data processing, program evaluation beyond mere efficiency, as well as a more diverse workforce. Improving relationships with Congress and agency clients significantly advanced public accountability throughout government. His remarkable career achievements contain invaluable lessons for today's administrators involved with initiating organizational reforms.