USC Sol Price School of Public Policy ‘State of the Service’ Survey

The State of the Service Survey is a statewide survey of local public servants, conducted by University of Southern California (USC) Sol Price School of Public Policy faculty and researchers with funding from the John Randolph Haynes and Dora Haynes Foundation and the Judy and John Bedrosian Center on Governance and the Public Enterprise.

SS: What is the ‘State of the Service’ Survey?
FZ: We seek to assess how local public servants fare on a variety of critical concepts in public management, including different citizen engagement approaches, performance management practices, leadership, employee motivations, and attitudes like job satisfaction and different forms of turnover intention and burnout.

SS: Why should people participate in the survey?
FZ: We would like to learn about what motivates public servants to do their job, the support they receive, their experiences serving the public, their levels of satisfaction in doing their job as well as the pressures, stresses, and challenges that they face on a daily basis.

SS: What will the survey be comprised of?
FZ: This survey will form part of a two-year comparative study, with 3 waves of surveys over the two years. The project team will provide ongoing feedback to all participating municipalities after each wave of data is collected, to assist participating municipalities in identifying best practices in public human resource management. We will produce a summative report at the end of the project that will be disseminated to all interested parties, through local government organizations like the League of California Cities, the California Contract Cities Association and the Independent Cities Association.

SS: How will cities benefit from the results of your efforts?
FZ: The proposed “State of the Service” reports and data promulgation will provide the participating city governments with actionable information on the state of their respective workforce in terms of employee satisfaction, responsiveness to citizen engagement, and potential turnover pressures.

SS: Why is this survey so important?
FZ: We know that over the past decade diminished revenues and increasing expenses have hit local governments especially hard. At the same time, local governments face state mandates, mostly not funded, and experience increased demands from the public to provide efficient public services. In light of these difficult challenges, local governments need data on how to improve their practices and improve the workplace experiences of public servants. Human capital remains the most important capital for local governments to deliver their public mission. By participating in this survey, you can help inform policy changes and shape the nature of your current workplace creating opportunities for all.

The State of the Service Survey is your opportunity to make your voice heard on issues that matter to you! We appreciate you for taking the time to help us. Your participation is completely anonymous, as we will not share your name with your municipalities or with the public.

To thank you for your participation in this survey, we will enter your name, if you so chose, in a lottery to be eligible to win a gift card of up to $100!

If you have any questions or would like more information please visit their web site at or contact Frank Zerunyan at or Professor Resh at otherwise take the survey by clicking here.

Click here to take the survey.