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.