We’ve been concerned about the disconnect that sometimes exists between stimulus oversight offices and state performance measurement efforts. On March 15th, we wrote about this a bit, and the following day, we looked at how Maryland has connected its state’s performance effort with oversight and tracking of the stimulus.
Today, we move across the nation to Washington, another state that has doggedly pursued the stimulus-performance connection through its Government Management Accountability & Performance process. Like similar programs that were inspired by the New York City police department’s famous CompStat effort, Washington’s GMAP uses data to drive performance improvements through meetings that include intense analysis and discussion. This can sometimes be a brutal experience for agency managers who are challenged to explain and defend what they’re doing.
But it sure can drive results — at least if the people involved don’t like finding themselves square in the bulls-eye. In this clip, you’ll see a disappointed Gov. Christine Gregoire in action, expressing her dismay at the slow pace of weatherization that occurred in the first quarter of stimulus reporting. This particular GMAP session was held in November and focused entirely on the Recovery Act in Washington. (GMAP sessions are held frequently at the agency level and monthly with the state’s big brass; the next one that focuses exclusively on the stimulus will be in June.)
We can’t prove direct cause and effect, but it’s worth noting that the following month, the Governor gave the same department kudos for the work it did in speeding up the weatherization effort. While the state had barely made a dent on its weatherization plans last fall (47 out of 500 projected units), by last week it had completed 2419, surpassing its goal of 2400 by the end of March.
If you’re interested, you can see the full hour and ten minute GMAP Recovery Act session. In the full video, the part about weatherization begins at about 3:20 and ends at 20:47. It shows Department of Commerce Secretary Rogers Weed on the hot seat as he explains to the Governor how the state’s efforts fell dramatically short of initial projections. (This was a problem experienced in many other states, by the way.)