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LETTER: Local leaders should evaluate performance
Letters - OPINION

Dear Editor,

Mark Funkhouser, writing in the Dec. 21, 2017, issue of Governing magazine, quotes Ralph Becker, former mayor of Salt Lake City, on the idea that former local government leaders should assess their job performance by documenting how they did in five areas: (1) finances; (2) social capital; (3) infrastructure; (4) shared prosperity; and (5) involvement in regional work. The question to be answered: “Did I leave my community in better shape than I found it?”

Funkhouser, himself a former mayor, suggests that current local government leaders should evaluate their performance in the same five areas. For them the question might be: “Will  my community be better off because of my service?”

I was interested in Funkhouser’s article as I was reviewing my local government service after 14 years on the Oxford City Council, including 12 years as mayor, and my 10 years representing Newton County’s municipalities on the Northeast Georgia Regional Commission – including two years as Regional Commission Board Chairman. 

Funkhouser emphasized that evaluations should be evidence based. For example, if you say you lowered cost and improved service, then provide data in support of your claim.

Listed below are the suggested five areas for self-evaluation. I have added a few sub-topics to start the process.  


Financial Sustainability Plan (1 – 5 years) (10 years)

Management of Government Funds and Enterprise Funds 


Social Capital - Community Trust in Leadership

Building Trust with Communication, Compromise, and Collaboration


Planning Short-term and Long-term Infrastructure needs

Selecting the best Financial tool - Loans, Bonds, SPLOST, Grants, Taxes


Providing Public Services Equitably

Providing opportunities for self-improvement



Regional, Municipal, and County participation in Leadership Collaboration

Intergovernmental Agreements to improve delivery of services


Is your community better off because of your service?

Serving as an elected official is an honor and a privilege granted by those who render final evaluations  – the voters.

Jerry Roseberry