March | April 2017

CSG Leadership OKs New Governance Structure

“Since our founding in 1933, CSG has seen unprecedented change in
America’s states, and today’s fiscal and policy challenges require us as
an organization to look inward and reflect on the ways CSG can better
connect with state leaders around the country as they wrestle with these
tough issues.”

–Deputy Speaker Bob Godfrey, ConnecticutChair, CSG National Governance Working Group

The Council of State Governments has retooled its governance structure to make it more streamlined to better serve and represent members. The changes reflect best practices for organizations such as CSG.
The new governance structure reflects what has always been CSG’s mission—a member-driven, regionally focused organization serving all three branches of state government.
It includes the addition of a new, more agile leadership council charged with casting the strategic vision for CSG and acting, along with CSG’s senior staff leaders, as a “quick reaction force” for urgent organizational matters. The council can make interim changes to the budget after the executive committee has approved it and can adopt interim policy resolutions. The council is expected to meet three to four times annually and will play a key role in strategic planning for the organization.
For the first time, CSG officially recognized the creation of its regions and the Justice Center in its governance document. It also recognized the 21st Century Foundation as its own group, rather than a standing committee.
The new structure codifies many CSG practices into officially sanctioned processes, including the regional rotation of CSG’s national leadership. It reinforces regional autonomy and the important nature of that regional work.
It also reinforces the interbranch nature of CSG and, to that end, established a new Interbranch Affairs Committee that will include members of all three branches of state government and will focus on improving interbranch relations. That includes an enhanced role for the judicial branch in CSG’s leadership and governance structure.
The governance document also established a new process to recognize international partners, such as Canadian provinces and Mexican states.
“I commend the leaders of CSG for producing a governance document that reinforces and strengthens CSG’s purpose and mission,” said CSG Executive Director/CEO David Adkins. “CSG was created by and has always been an organization of the states and territories.”
The CSG Governing Board at its meeting in December approved the changes recommended by the National Governance Working Group—leaders from across CSG’s national, regional and affiliate organizations that met over the past two years to examine the organization’s governance model.
“The changes enacted by CSG leadership in Austin underscore the importance of our regional focus and our unique multi-branch perspective. The creation of a CSG Leadership Council provides us with greater agility while enhancing the role our members play in establishing and pursuing their priorities through CSG. The new articles of organization position us well for the future,” Adkins said.
To learn more about the CSG governance, including the articles of organization, visit