As we wrap up 2008 I’ve tallied the hours that City Council spent working for the 4th and final quarter of the year. It probably comes as no surprise given the current state of the economy that the leading areas of City Council focus were City finances and economic development — combining for whopping 77% of their Committee work session time. All of that comes together in the annual budget deliberation which is a critical end of year activity for City Council and sets the stage for everything we do in 2009. Even with the usual holiday season slowdown, City Council still managed to squeeze in 11 meetings for the quarter.
The point of tracking Council activity is to help us stay focused on matters of most importance to the community. In the world of public service every issue has a consituent out there somewhere but if we chased every constituent interest equally we’d never be able to accomplish much of anything which is why the City has spent so much time trying to identify and define the top community priorities.
Through surveys, planning sessions and data analysis we’ve been able to broadly categorize the top issues facing the City and we use those categories to hold ourselves accountable to produce the results that matter most to the residents of Kent. Certainly every constituent interest matters but those interests that matter most to the greatest number of constituents are the ones that receive the most attention. That’s the logic behind the community performance framework below that illustrates the work of City Council on those issues that matter most to the Kent community.
I’m currently working on summarizing each quarter report to produce a final year end summary of Council activity that will be basis of our 2008 Annual Report. I happen to agree with management guru Edward Demming’s belief of “that which gets measured gets improved” and in that spirit we are working to integrate and communicate this data to the public so that everyone has a sense of where we’re going and what we’re trying to achieve.