(Managing Results: Initiatives in Select American Cities, 1995, p.1) When asked as to what types of performance measures actually exist, Mr. Waldrop summarized the performance measures according to the type of measure, a description of the measures and an example for each. These have been arranged into a chart and are listed in the following labeled Figure 1.
Types of Measure/Description/Examples
Type of Measure
Resources used to carry out a program over a given period of time
Number of full-time employees
Amount of materials used
Amount of work accomplished or service provided over a given period of time
Number of applicants processed
Number of claims paid
Cost per unit of output
Cost per client served
Cost per square mile of grass cut
Impact or quality or work accomplished or services provided
Percent reduction in teen
Customer satisfaction with taxpayer services
Source: (Managing Results: Initiatives in Select American Cities, 1995)
The difference between these 'inputs', 'outputs', and 'outcomes', are stated by Mr. Waldrop to be that the inputs are comprised of such as '...materials, equipment cost, labor and production costs." (Managing Results: Initiatives in Select American Cities, 1995)
Mr. Waldrop explained in the course of the interview as well that the outputs are the numbers of items actually produced.
The outcome represents the profit or 'return-on-investment' (ROI). Therefore, in assessing the community organization the measures would be of that which the organization has as its stated mission, vision and goals. Mr. Waldrop states that "in almost all cases a Spectrum of results exists." (Managing Results: Initiatives in Select American Cities, 1995)
Selection of Most Appropriate Outcomes
When Mr. Waldrop was quizzed as to the process used for appropriately selecting the most important outcomes he stated that the organization should and must necessarily ask the key stakeholders because they have ownership in the results.
Stakeholders are stated to include groups such as the public, mayors, city council members, city managers as well as department heads and staff.
Methods for Acquiring Stakeholder Opinions
It was also noted by Mr. Waldrop that gaining this information is accomplished through such as "surveys, retreats, focus groups, special meetings, task forces, and public forums." (Managing Results: Initiatives in Select American Cities, 1995, p.1) Identification of outcomes for focus are of the nature that will require consideration "of whether or not an outcome can be measured and how expensive measuring it will be." (Managing Results: Initiatives in Select American Cities, 1995, p.1)
Performance Measurement Information Survey/Questionnaire
The following is an example of the performance measurement questionnaire that is used in measuring performance as stated in the interview with Mr. Waldrop reported in this study.
1. Does your city systematically collect output and/or outcome information?
____Yes. Please continue.
____No. Thank you, you need not complete this survey
2. Please check each of the areas for which your city is measuring outputs (e.g., number of arrests, number of building permits issued):
____airport management ____code enforcement ____economic development ____education ____employment training ____environment service ____fire services ____fleet/facility maintenance ____general management____health services ____recreation/parks ____police/corrections ____sanitation ____social services ____streets/highways
4. Please describe the process your city used to identify what performance measures (i.e., outputs and outcomes) were important to collect. For instance, were focus groups held, was a task force created, etc.
5. How are the performance measures you collect used? (examples include: to inform city-wide management decisions, as part of the budget process, for internal department use).
6. Do you publish information on your performance in terms of the outcomes or level of outputs you achieve?
____Yes. How do you publish them (i.e., annual report to citizens, etc.)?
7. Have you received any awards or recognition for the work you have done in the performance measurement arena?
8. Is there anything else we should know about? Please feel free to attach another page if you would like. Also, we welcome copies of any relevant documents
Source: (Managing Results: Initiatives in Select American Cities, 1995)
Mr. Waldrop stated in the interview that he would consider it "prudent to focus on outcomes that can be more readily measured as long as the measures are still meaningful, reliable, and valid measures." (Managing Results: Initiatives in Select American Cities, 1995, p.1)
Mr. Waldrop was quizzed in this interview as to how it is that the community organization could ensure that the performance measures, once having been collected were appropriate utilized and Mr. Waldrop stated that there are ways to ensure their usefulness and stated as an example the methods related in the 'Eleven Ways to Make Performance Measurements More Useful to Public Managers' in the September 1994 edition of Public Management." (Managing Results: Initiatives in Select American Cities, 1995, p.1)
Mr. Waldrop is quizzed during the course of the interview being reported in regards to 'benchmarking' and he stated as follows:
"Richard J. Fischer in the September 1994 edition of Public Management defines benchmarks as standard performance measures. Benchmarking involves comparing the performance of similar organizations using these standard measures. The comparison is made to determine who is best, to find out why, and then to use the best practices identified as a means of improving your own organization. As Mr. Fischer points out, benchmarks are everywhere: golf course pars, company earnings ratios, baseball bating averages. Several initiatives are underway to develop benchmarks for cities, including an effort on the part of ICMA and a consortium of cities." (Managing Results: Initiatives in Select American Cities, 1995, p.1)
Mr. Waldrop was also quizzed during the interview as to specifically "...what practices contribute to successful performance measurement systems?" And the response given was one that cited the work of Grifel (1994) published in 'Public Management' which stated as three key things to remember were: (1) Start with a few measures and do not be too concerned if initial targets are low. Targets can be tightened up once a system is in place and staff are comfortable with it. (2) Use existing data whenever possible. The value of reporting on a particular measure should be weighed against the effort of data collection; (3) Audit the data periodically; (4) Allow program managers to provide explanatory information on data gathering and reporting forms so that they can explain why performance has deviated if necessary; (5) Report measures that are meaningful at the various decision-making levels. Find a balance between reporting too few and too many measures; and (6) Ensure that the information is used at all levels, particularly, the operating mangers level. (Managing Results: Initiatives in Select American Cities, 1995, p.1)
Efforts in Leveraging Talent/Gifts of Community Members in Accomplishing Mission
Initiatives reported by the City of Atlanta that serve to leverage the talents and gifts of the community members and that optimize available resources are the initiatives stated as follows: (1) Embracing tolerance, civility and diversity as strengths; (2) Fostering community in all its neighborhoods; (3) Balancing business initiative with community values; (4) Preserving and conserving single family neighborhoods as a compelling priority; (5) Better connecting people to their retail and service centers and park and civic resources at neighborhood and larger scales; (6) Transforming abandoned and dilapidated fringe properties and parking lots into lively village centers; (7) Meeting community housing needs across generations, incomes and cultures; (8) Improving conditions for homeless people and the community as a whole by working collaboratively and inclusively with the provider community, neighborhoods, business and other jurisdictions; (9) Preparing to appropriately accommodate newly emergent residential markets and investment: baby boomers becoming empty nesters, generation-Xers growing up, suburban returnees and new comers; (10) Reflecting community to provide the continuity of life-style, housing types and incomes that reflects our progression through the stages of life, from kids to seniors; (11) Combining public and private resources to support development and enhancement of its different community needs; (12) Progressing toward government measured by continuous service improvements to support these community-building strategies; and (13) Connecting public education to community building and community-guided processes, including managing technological advances to guard against the "digital divide."
Analysis of Future Challenges
Future challenges for the city of Atlanta include but are in no way limited to the challenges represented by poverty, unemployment, general economic distress, high crime rates, high vacancy rates, designation as a disaster area or high intensity drug trafficking area." (City of Atlanta, 2009)