Government & Politics

Landrieu administration to take data-driven approach

Mayor Mitch Landrieu plans to boost efficiency at City Hall with a data-driven performance-management system modeled after one pioneered in Baltimore, his top appointee said Tuesday.

Landrieu’s quantitative approach to governing, something long advocated by open-government advocates, came out during a news conference announcing the creation of new deputy mayor positions and the appointees to these top cabinet positions. Newly announced Deputy Mayor and Chief Administrative Officer Andy Kopplin mentioned the program as one in a set of leadership tools that will help him “drive the execution of the mayor’s big ideas.”

Kopplin did not elaborate on how the performance-measuring system will operate, or who will manage it. In Baltimore, the system, known as CitiStat, works through a process of regular interagency meetings, goal-setting and analysis. Harvard University recognized the program in 2004 with an award for innovation in government.

“CitiStat is a leadership strategy that permits the mayor and his management team to track, analyze, appraise, diagnose, and improve the results produced by every city agency,” wrote Harvard lecturer Robert Behn in a 2007 report put out by the IBM Center for the Business of Governance. That year, the program’s annual operating budget was $509,000, all but $6,000 of which was for salaries and benefits, according to Behn’s report.

Open-government advocate Brian Denzer said that the new program would take the data-driven approach that helped former New Orleans Police Department Superintendent Richard Pennington halve its murder rate in the late 1990s and apply it to all city agencies and departments.

“It’s a tool that is proven to improve accountability,” Denzer said Tuesday. Implementing the program is one of two reforms recommended by Nolastat, a pro-transparency project spearheaded by Denzer. The other is increasing access to public records, a topic that the new mayor has not broached voluntarily since winning the election in January.

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