Connecting state and local government leaders
Establishing citywide policy priorities through proper benchmarking to improve quality of life.
This is the 18th in a series of profiles on the 50 finalists for Route Fifty’s Navigator Awards program. The first 10 finalists were from the Government Allies and Cross-Sector Partners category. Finalists 11-20 were from the Agency and Department Leadership category. Finalists 21-30 were from the Executive Leadership category. Finalists 31-40 were from the Next Generation category. Finalists 41-50 were from the Data and IT Innovators category. Explore our complete list of 50 finalists.
Like many municipal governments, the City of Dallas, Texas, has been actively pursuing ways to find cost savings while improving the delivery of public services and agency operations.
Sometimes, the folks leading these efforts take shape as part of small teams. 1500 Marilla, aka Dallas City Hall, has built an entire center around the idea of municipal innovation.
The Dallas Center for Performance Excellence boasts an integrated systems approach employing tools like performance analytics, survey research, strategic departmental planning, quality management systems, and benchmarking to cross-pollinate best practices.
“There certainly are local government organizations that have incorporated different ‘pieces’ of what CPE does, but we do not know of any other organization committing an entire local government center towards the pursuit of excellence, creativity, and innovation,” CPE writes in its Navigator Award nomination submission.
Kimberly Martin is CPE’s benchmarking coordinator and monitors the city’s progress on everything from public safety to economic vibrancy—typically comparing Dallas to other jurisdictions with populations of 500,000 or greater. Performance data gathered is published on the Dallas Data Points online dashboard, shared with department heads and used for business planning.
CPE recently announced the results of Dallas’ business and community surveys gauging satisfaction with city services and helping establish the citywide priorities of infrastructure maintenance, code enforcement and policing. Overall customer service satisfaction was up 5 percent from the 2014 community survey and 12 points above the large U.S. city average.
“I think we need to thank every city employee for these numbers … to beat all other cities around the country to that degree, that’s a significant difference and we don’t thank our employees enough,” said Mayor Mike Rawlings in the announcement.
Benchmarking helps Dallas track citizen quality of life and ultimately improve city livability, as do CPE’s special projects and strategic partnerships with ICMA Insights, the America Society for Quality, the Quality Texas Foundation and the Alliance for Innovation.
City departments have changed their processes because of CPE’s work enhancing employee skills with Lean Six Sigma methodology. CPE's Lean Six Sigma team has a master black belt and two black belts running 53 projects in Dallas for $3.1 million in projected savings. Blue belt, yellow belt and green belt training are available to city staff through the center.
Cross-departmental planning is coordinated by CPE using business plans and the Baldrige Framework, which provides agencies with an objective written assessment of their strengths and weak points.
Dave Nyczepir is a News Editor at Government Executive’s Route Fifty and is based in Washington D.C.