Olathe Recognized as One of Nation's Best at Measuring Performance

In today's economy, the adage "you can't evaluate what you don't measure" is truer than ever. For nearly eight years, the City of Olathe has been developing and refining a performance measurement system that tracks the effectiveness and value of various city programs. In essence, it measures program results and impacts against the cost of providing them. It has become an invaluable tool to ensure limited resources are being used as effectively and efficiently as possible, and it provides the public with a dashboard to understand and track city programs.

This effort has been recognized as one of the premier programs in the country as Olathe is 1 of only 14 local governments in America to be awarded the International City/County Managers Association (ICMA) Center for Performance Measurement (CPM) "Certificate of Excellence", the highest level of achievement. According to ICMA, the achievement sets the standard in managing performance. Criteria for the Certificate of Excellence include:

  • Reporting of performance data to the public through budgets, newsletters, and/or information provided to elected officials, with sufficient context to judge past performance
  • Verification efforts to ensure the data's reliability
  • Staff training in the principles of performance measurement
  • Using performance data in strategic planning and management decision-making
  • Sharing of performance measurement knowledge with other local governments through presentations, site-visits, and other networking
  • A commitment to tracking and reporting to the public key outcome measures
  • Surveying of both residents and local government employees
  • Communicating data via public-focused and timely reports such as performance dashboards.

According to City Manager Michael Wilkes, this award speaks to the culture of the City's organization. He said, "We are driven to work better and smarter each and every day." "The City Council has made that a priority....providing the best city services even in the face of the challenging economy and beyond," he stated.

Measuring performance has become critical to City operations and projects. Performance measurement has been incorporated into its 5-year business planning and budgeting process to meet community and organizational objectives and target resources to drive success.

Business planning and performance measurement transform the City's annual budget into an actionable document and shift the focus from dollars to results. Ultimately a good performance measurement program works to communicate trust and accountability to citizens, answering the questions of where are resources being spent, what are the services being provided, and what results are being achieved.

To learn more about Olathe's performance measures and/or to view the Balanced Scorecard "performance dashboard," visit www.olatheks.org/Council/Accountability.

The complete ICMA press release and list of other cities receiving the Certificate of Excellence is available on the City's website at www.olatheks.org/CityAwards.