Make Oakland Better's first Budget Bits report looks at the beginning of the budget process, the challenges, priorities, and decisions being made as Mayor Libby Schaaf, City Administrator, and City Council draft Oakland's 2017-2019 budget.
In our last post we analyzed Mayor Libby Schaaf’s strategy for “holistic community safety” outlined in her State of the City address. Today, we’ll continue our discussion, looking at her other three stated top priorities: responsive, trustworthy government, sustainable infrastructure, and equitable jobs and housing.
Responsive, trustworthy government
The Mayor’s total policy discussion on accountability was as follows:
“I could tell you about our transparency and ‘gov 2.0’ projects—like our Digital Front Door website redesign, our employee civic lab or plans for a 3-1-1 call center, but it really starts with the people.”
She then praised top staff members, the City Administrator, and other recent additions to her team.
Our take: We don’t criticize the Mayor for publicly and openly supporting her people—that’s an important part of leadership. But we call for more emphasis on policy. A starting point might be these initiatives from her campaign white paper on how to “bring Oakland government intothe 21st Century”:
What I Will Do
Implement 311 System for better service delivery: Do you know what number to call to report illegal dumping or a pothole? Most big cities use a 3-1-1 system to make it easy for residents to request help from their government. As Mayor I will implement a world-class 311 customer service center that transitions the City to a new generation of technology that centralizes citizen requests and makes the process and resolution of each request accessible to the public 24/7 on our website.
CityStat and the Office of Strategic Performance:
I will link the 311 service request system with a CityStat performance accountability system led by a newly established Office of Strategic Performance (see Louisville, Kentucky for a good model). I will work with department heads to establish clear performance measures and nurture a culture of continuous improvement within City Hall. In pursuit of this goal, OSP will help City departments and agencies deliver high quality services to citizens in a cost-efficient and transparent manner. Three core efforts include strategic planning, performance management, continuous improvement consulting and training. We can save on technology procurement dollars by conducting internal and external user research to scope projects more efficiently, determine what the needs are and design a scope of work to fulfill those needs. Too often contracts are signed without a clear understanding of the pain points, and key opportunities to solve actual problems are missed.
Sometime soon, Oaklanders should hear about where we stand on these efforts.
Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf gave her first State of the City address and outlined her plan for "holistic community safety." Make Oakland Better Now! weighs in on strengthening OPD, the city's Comprehensive Public Safety Plan, and more.