Deliver Results: The Problem, The Critique, & The Plan

I fundamentally believe government should deliver results for the community for all the tax dollars we pay to the government. We should hold the government accountable to improve the community.

The Problem

  • Governments don’t have an incentive to deliver results. Their incentive is to spend money and provide services, regardless of whether they improve the community. If they don’t spend the money, they lose it and they must provide certain services to be compliant. 
  • Unlike businesses which grow as they deliver more value to their customers, government spending keeps growing regardless of how effective it is. The county’s budget has grown from $500M to $660M in the last 5 years – and we’re not getting better results.
  • Elected officials don’t want to be accountable to deliver results because they are often focused more on getting re-elected than solving community problems and it is more difficult to deliver a benefit than to spend money and pass policies.
  • When government fails to deliver results, it’s easy for everyone involved to shirk the blame because there are so many factors contributing to community problems. As a result, it’s hard to hold any single person accountable.
  • People find it challenging to know what the county is trying to achieve and whether it has made progress on its goals.

 

The Critique

  • The County has no published goals. This means the county has no unified, stable vision for what it is trying to achieve and what the public can hold it accountable to achieve. 
  • The Board approved a 4.8% budget increase last year without telling us how the increased spending would improve our community.
  • The Board hasn’t focused on understanding how we’re performing on key measures of community health and whether we’re making progress.
  • The Board points to policies passed when it claims they have “gotten a lot of work done” rather than trying to justify their success with results for the community.

 

The Plan

  • Develop 5-10 countywide goals: Ask department heads to develop goals for their department and then share the goals with the public during a public workshop so the public can offer input. The Board would ultimately vote to approve 5-10 goals that would be published on the county website for everyone to see. 
  • Track progress toward goals: Relevant county staff would report on the progress on these goals at least quarterly and maybe more often and post updates to the county website. 
  • Develop success measures for each department: Ask each department to develop success measures for their work and have them present updates on these measures monthly or every other month. These success measures would be more detailed than the countywide goals and greater in number.
  • Develop annual plans to achieve those goals: County staff would develop plans for achieving the county goals and success measures and present those plans to the Board for review and approval. This would help the public and Board understand how the county expects to be able to deliver results.