My research led me to "Outcome Based Budgeting". As I learned more about this approach to budgeting, I knew it would help us make better financial decisions for taxpayers. I have studied the implementation of Outcome Based Budgeting in various cities and am committed to moving more fully towards this approach. A great summary of one city's approach to Outcome Based Budgeting is provided in this video.
On May 9, 2023 I introduced a first step towards Outcome Based Budgeting - a resolution to bring management studies back to our city. Here is the messaging I shared with my council colleagues when introducing this resolution:1. Our community deserves to see its local government chasing continuous improvement. Local government impact residents very directly. The more we model best practices in fiscal oversight, the more trust we build within our community. We continually have "outside eyes" conduct financial audits with glowing results. I am so grateful for everything our teams do to contribute to that important process. Similarly, there is value in having "outside eyes" take a look at our use of resources and staff. As a consultant, I provide "outside eyes" to leadership teams in education. I help them celebrate what is working and improve what is not. I help them discover opportunities they may not have identified on their own. I often share the example of the potted plant on my front porch. I pass it every day and overlook it...it was dead for months and I simply stopped seeing it. It took the "outside eyes" of a friend who noticed the plant and asked about it for me to realize that it was time to remove the plant which had become an eye sore. I simply stopped seeing it because it was a part of my every day experience. I am confident that our community will appreciate our efforts to have "outside eyes" partner with us in discovering efficiencies that are working as well as opportunities to improve.
2. Our department heads work hard to oversee their budgets and advocate for departmental needs. They collect and analyze data to determine priorities. The define action plans for addressing those priorities. And yet, they potentially feel like they are alone in their advocacy. "Outside eyes" can provide additional data that reinforces the identified priorities. As future budgets are deliberated, a triangulation of internal and external data will give our department heads clear and compelling reasoning to support them in their advocacy. A recurring approach to management studies will set in motion a reliable partnership that will set department heads up for success as they prepare their budgets.
On May 30, 2023, my council colleagues voted to support my efforts to bring management studies to our city. You can watch our May 30th discussion of management studies here.
Here is our council defined purpose for management studies:
"For the City Council to be appropriately informed that each department has adequate resources, organizational structure, and staffing levels it is essential the Council uses its powers, as outlined in Utah Code 10-3b-203, to periodically review municipal administration. In order to properly review municipal administration and to make prudent decisions related to appropriations and legislative policy the Council shall involve a third-party subject matter expert to perform periodic administrative management studies of each department."
Here is our council defined outcome for management studies:
"The management study reports will be used by both the City Council, the Administration, and the department to provide information and context for ensuing organizational planning, personnel decisions, and budget requests. In addition to the benefits provided to each department, elected officials, and city leadership, Sandy residents will benefit from enhanced trust that each city department is being effective and efficient with their tax dollars."
As your watchdog, I am committed to embracing the best practices of budgeting - which includes budgeting with outcomes in mind. The outcomes we achieve for you are a true measure of our leadership.