Ouch from the Globe on state performance

Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Share on

The editorial page of today’s Globe takes up a favorite theme of Pioneer: the use of data to drive performance through measurement and benchmarking. On April 25th, you can see the cities working on this, at Pioneer’s Center for Economic Opportunity conference in Worcester. It promises to be a great event. Register quickly as the RSVPs are coming in early and strong.

The Globe editorial highlights the Rappaport Institute’s good work on this subject, but it is also a rather ironic and tough statement on the Governor’s focus on “the rhetoric of hope” rather than the nuts and bolts of ensuring high quality services. Entitled “Together we can manage better,” it opens with what is possible and what other states are already doing:

Public managers in some states, notably Washington (A-) and Maryland (B), are making a serious study of ways to improve the operation of state government. They have adopted the so-called PerformanceStat model first used by New York City police to map and target crime hot spots. The method uses precise data to analyze achievements and glitches on the delivery of state services. Top officials, including governors, attend regular meetings where participants follow up on previous findings and set specific targets for future performance. It’s not the stuff that might normally raise the pulse of politicians or the public. But it means that what government does gets measured – and can then be improved.

But it touches a nerve:

For Governor Patrick, the appeal should be even greater. The PerformanceStat strategy is, above all, a way to establish clear and attainable goals. That plan of action mostly eluded the Patrick administration during its first year in office.

And it closes with a pop:

Patrick’s rhetoric of hope isn’t much of a management tool. Data might work better.