Make Oakland Better Now!’s Mayoral Candidate Questionnaire was answered by 8 of the ten candidates. All of the completed questionnaires are available for viewing at our web site, here. Since some Oaklanders may want to compare candidate responses to each of the questions, we will be publishing the responses sorted by question here at Oaktalk over the coming days. You’ll find these posts for the first eleven questions directly below this one.
In our last post, we asked candidates what criteria they would use in selecting Oakland’s city administrator. Here, we post their answers to another management and leadership question: How do you make sure city employees make your agenda happen?
Question No. 12: What will you do as mayor to ensure that your agenda is being executed?
In Oakland’s “strong mayor” system, the mayor hires all department heads in city government – those with the responsibility for executing her or his agenda. I rate their performances. It is unambiguous and excuse proof.
First of all I plan to be out in the field listening to both workers and residents. I will hold monthly community town hall meetings. I will hold regular cabinet meetings and collaborative forums on major issues to track progress on main city initiatives. I hope to establish clear performance measure for departments and track them.
As Mayor, I will do the same thing that any effective executive must do to ensure his agenda is being executed – I will actively manage those under my office. What this means is taking the initiative to effectively oversee departmental operations. I will not fall victim to the micro-management curse, which would only lessen my effectiveness as Mayor, but I will insist on regular meetings with department heads that will require them to present me with firm, verifiable data as to capacity of their department, including a history of the performance of their employees, from the most senior managers to the lowest worker. When I set a goal for a particular department, I will do so pragmatically. Prior to setting any goal, I will advise each department head involved of my intention regarding that particular goal and require them to prepare a feasibility report, which includes available manpower, financing, and any known impediments to achieving that goal. I will then meet with those department heads to work out any problems that may have arisen but were not necessarily accounted for in the initial assessment. I will listen to the counsel of those with whom I consult, but will not be swayed by intransigence or inertia by established management. Instead, I will insist that each department head push the limits of their department’s capabilities in defining the particular goal involving that department or departments for the betterment of our City.
Once a reachable goal has been agreed upon, I will insist that daily progress reports be sent to my office and will personally review each such report.
Additionally, I will meet weekly with each involved department head both to review the progress reports and rectify any unforeseen complications that might arise during implementation of the particular initiative, so as to ensure that continued progress is maintained in reaching the set goal.
For those policy goals that depend on the cooperation of the City Council, I will actively participate in all City Council meetings in order to advocate for the action necessary to achieve the goal. I will maintain constant contact with our Council members to ensure that progress is made in completion of the goal, and, if I face intransigence on the part of the Council, will turn to you, our citizens, to rectify this barrier to the advancement of the policies I know are vital, not only to the restoration of Oakland as a world-class destination and city, but also for the improvement of the lives of all Oaklanders.
Asked and answered (#11)
People within my administration and who are in charge of our various departments will be held accountable by me personally. They are to support the functions of the city and insuring a level playing field and fairness for everyone, regardless rich, poor, black, white, the entire rainbow will be represented with our administration.
In the beginning I will meet daily with the administrator and department heads to make sure my agenda is on track and goals are being met.
As Mayor I will actively monitor the progress of the City administration. I will create a 311 system to take and track citizen complaints and service requests. I will meet regularly with my City Administrator and department heads to examine progress to our goals. I will be actively out in the community, and plugged in to the community through my staff, non-government institutions, and regular public engagements. I will generate specific goals to provide for the revitalization of our city, hire the best and brightest for vital roles, expect and require accountability, and hold scheduled updates from key staff/leaders to ensure that progress is being made, and that changes are implemented as needed.
Outreach. I will be the kind of mayor who is at the council meeting, goes to Sacramento when needed, meets with the business community, who reviews all the open contracts for compliance, who calls, comes and acts. In other words, a mayor who is on campaign for the agenda all the time.