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O?Malley promotes StateStat to Congress

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Len Lazarick

Gov. Martin O?Malley touted Maryland?s StateStat performance measures on Capitol Hill on Thursday to a U.S. Senate subcommittee that hopes to recommend similar management improvement programs to the new U.S. president.

"It requires a tremendous amount of relentless commitment" from the chief executive to make it work, O?Malley said. Several government managers reinforced O?Malley?s statement later in the hearing.

"No matter who our next president is, when he takes office in January, he will face soaring federal deficits," said Sen. Tom Carper, a Delaware Democrat who chairs the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs subcommittee on federal financial management. "There?s only so much pie to go around, so how we determine who gets the next slice, and how big that slice will be, will become more and more important to Americans."

At the hearing, the Government Accountability Office also released a report on how performance measures were being used in the federal government. It concluded that while U.S. agencies were collecting a lot more information about the outcomes of their programs, "overall the use of performance information in management decision making has not changed over the last 10 years," according to testimony by Bernice Steinhardt, GAO?s director of strategic issues.

Carper, a former governor, was a friendly audience for O?Malley, who is considered an innovator in using frequent measures of results to improve how government services are delivered. It was pretty much taken as a given by legislators that StateStat and the CitiStat program he instituted as Baltimore mayor were effective.

O?Malley talked of their success at doing such things as reducing violent crime in the city "by 40 percent" or leading to the successful closing of the Jessup House of Correction in O?Malley?s second month as governor.

O?Malley said government managers need to measures results that matter ? such as reducing overtime hours or personnel vacancies. And then executives need to take actions quickly to improve results.

"Citizens care about results," but results that mean something to them, said Donald Kettl of the Fels Institute of Government at the University of Pennsylvania.

"There are too many meaningless measures" of performance in government agencies, he

added.

llazarick@baltimoreexaminer.com

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