Former Indy Mayor Goldsmith writes book on gov't efficiency

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Rich Van Wyk/Eyewitness News

Indianapolis - A former Indianapolis mayor has a new book on idea for making government work better. Stephen Goldsmith says the secret is for governments to work less and privatize more. Goldsmith found "civic entrepreneurs" across the country solving problems local governments couldn't.

Although half their classmates quit school, some Manual High School students are intent on attending college. The independently-developed College Summit program has increased enrollment by 50 percent. It is an example of the civic entrepreneurship Steven Goldsmith promotes in his new book, The Power of Social Intervention.

"We are trying to find people who have made a difference, providing opportunity for folks who are left behind," he said.

Those programs are finding success where traditional government programs haven't.

"We just can't keep spending federal money in the same way without any results and think if we spend more money we will get better results," Goldsmith said.

In two terms as mayor, Goldsmith pioneered privatization. He saved millions of dollars by having trash collection and other government services performed by outside contractors.

As a Harvard University professor, Goldsmith is focused on what he calls the softer side of government.

"That means rethinking urban neighborhoods, how they are rebuilt, how are they preserved. It means looking at new ways to get young adults into community colleges," he said.

Successful cities, Goldsmith insists, thrive on the success of individual residents.

"There are certain things every mayor should keep in mind. One is education, two is education, three is education," he said.

Goldsmith says surrounding communities have a stake in a city's success. As he puts it, they can't be a suburb to nowhere.

Goldsmith's book focuses on the success stories of 100 so-called social entrepreneurs in cities across the country, accomplishing what governments alone could not.