May 4

Watch Now

Federal stimulus funds have increased grant dollars to jurisdictions across the country, but it’s also shed new light on existing challenges state and local governments need to urgently address if they hope to fully leverage this money.

The Center for Digital Government recently conducted a national survey of state and local government leaders to examine the ongoing challenges they face as they work to modernize grants administration. Join experts from Governing, eCivis and Grant Thornton on May 4 at 11:00am PT/2:00pm ET as we reveal what the survey told us about how state and local governments can optimize their processes, uncover more grant opportunities, increase funding levels to provide critical services to constituents and vulnerable populations, and lay the groundwork to support the country’s long-term economic recovery.

We’ll also explore:

- How to make grants management processes more technology-driven, automated and efficient
- How modern grants management processes can prevent and minimize waste, fraud, error and abuse and ensure program dollars are put to best use in local communities
- Case study examples of jurisdictions that have successfully modernized grants management processes


Paul Clanton

Paul Clanton — Moderator

Senior Fellow, Center for Digital Government

Paul Clanton has devoted his career to helping local governments be on the forefront of using technology to increase value delivered to the public. He has over 30 years in various Information technology roles in both the public and private sectors including 20 years leading Information Technology departments. He now helps local governments get the most value from their significant investment in people, process, and technology.

Hank Griffith

Hank Griffith

Sr. Manager – Budget Services/Grants Coordination, Harris County, TX

Hank Griffith graduated from Georgia Institute of Technology with a B.S. in Management with a dual major in Accounting and Economics. He also spent 14 years in the US Army Reserves as a Chemical Officer. He has over 32 years of experience in finance and accounting, ten years with Harris County as Sr. Manager-Budget Services/Grants Coordination for Harris County Texas, Hank oversees the management of one of the largest grant portfolios in the nation. Currently, Harris County has over $2,000,000,000 in active awarded funds (includes Hurricane Harvey Flood Mitigation and CARES), encompassing over 700 projects, and approximately $100,000,000,000 in pending funds (including pending allocation of American Rescue Plan funding of approx. $900M). His team coordinates the writing, submission, and management of all grants through the Harris County Commissioner’s Court. In addition he helps coordinate communication and grant audits with outside agencies and compliance audits within the County. He lives in Cypress, Texas and has been married for 22 years and currently has three step-children and two grand-children.

Joseph Ferrary Simon

Joseph Ferrary Simon

Manager, Public Sector, Risk Advisory Services, Grant Thornton

Joseph Simon specializes in the provision of grants management solutions for government. Having served clients at the federal, state, and local levels, he has cultivated a deep understanding of emergency management policy and regulation as well as of pervasive issues related to grants monitoring and compliance. Joseph uses that experience to train teammates on complex policy issues and challenges them to think deeply about legislative intent as well as the implications of implementation. He is a Project Management Professional (PMP), a Certified Grants Management Specialist (CGMS), and a Certified Government Financial Manager (CGFM). Joseph is the President of the New York / New Jersey Chapter of the National Grants Management Association (NGMA), as well as the Chair of the CGMS committee.

Merril Oliver

Merril Oliver

Chief Customer Officer, eCivis

As Chief Customer Officer for eCivis, Merril Oliver leads the company’s key business strategies, product development, and growth initiatives.
Having served four governors, both Democratic and Republican, Merril served as the Director of the Maryland Governor’s Grants Office, a nationally recognized “best practice” by the National Governors Association, where she revolutionized an enterprise approach to full lifecycle grants management during 2015-2017. In 2014, Merril served as the Deputy Director of the Puerto Rico Governor’s Office of Management and Budget in charge of the Federal Funds Management Office, where she spearheaded accountability measures, tools, and resources to position Puerto Rico as one of the leaders in federal funds management. Merril was also appointed to co-chair Presidential Executive Order 13520 Workgroup focused on reducing improper payments.