- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 30, 2006

A signature initiative of D.C. Mayor Anthony A. Williams that was designed to let the public track the performance of city agencies has fallen into disrepair.

A series of “scorecards” rolled out in April 2000 and posted on the city’s Web site, at www.dc.gov/mayor/scorecards/index.shtm, has not been updated since October 2004.

So, if you are curious to check on the performance of Stanley Jackson, deputy mayor for planning and economic development, forget about it. He was hired in January 2005.

Or if you want to see how effectively E. Michael Latessa is running the Office of Unified Communications, you can forget that, too. That agency did not even exist the last time the scorecards were updated 18 months ago.

In fact, 19 of the 41 city agencies and three of the four deputy mayor posts under the city administrator that are graded in the scorecards have changed leadership since the last time the site was updated.

The site itself provides no explanation for the lapse, stating only that “FY 2005 results will be posted in early 2006.”

Vincent Morris, a spokesman for Mr. Williams, said yesterday that it was not clear why the updates have lagged.

After its inception, the mayor touted the scorecard initiative in business journals, council testimony and even during an appearance before the U.S. Senate.

“If every citizen can see the score every day, then this government will become more accountable to the public,” Mr. Williams said in April 2000. “It’s a management tool to maintain a sense of urgency in this government.”

The initiative was lauded when the scorecards revealed what residents knew from experience: that many D.C. agencies were falling short of their goals.

But the scorecards proved problematic, with some agency benchmarks changing or disappearing from year to year.

When the fire department failed on an annual basis to increase the number of paramedics assigned to fire engines, the benchmark tracking that goal vanished from the scorecard.

And in addition to measuring whether agencies were meeting the goals the mayor had established, the scorecards also could be used to track the mayor’s expectations for his agencies.

After the Metropolitan Police Department twice missed its target of a 65 percent closure rate for homicide cases in both 2000 and 2001, a 2002 scorecard lowered the mayor’s expectations to a 50.9 percent target.

The performance measures contained on the scorecards, which originally were updated quarterly, were selected from priorities expressed at Citizen Summit in November 1999 and January 2000.

The information was gathered from internal monthly reports submitted to the mayor by his agency heads. Those reports contained, but were not limited to, the information contained in the scorecards.

In 2003, then-City Administrator John Koskinen used the scorecards to justify the proliferation of government jobs paying salaries in excess of $100,000. Mr. Koskinen said “performance information is readily available to the general public,” and cited the Web-based scorecards.

There were 39,088 employees on the District’s payroll for all or part of last year.

In 2004, the mayor expressed an interest in setting up a similar initiative for the public schools.


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