Editor’s note: The following commentary appeared on TheDailyRecord.com on September 17, 2015.
By Donald C. Fry
No sooner had Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake announced last Friday that she would not seek re-election than pronouncements assessing her tenure in office started rolling in from pundits and the public alike.
These assessments of her tenure continue to a degree. A recent news report examined how economic indicators, like unemployment and housing construction, have performed under Rawlings-Blake.
With the mayor’s recent announcement, instead of looking back, let’s look ahead to the upcoming mayoral election and begin a dialogue about ensuring the next administration has a more sophisticated and concrete way to measure what it delivers.
What specific goals and metrics to improve resident’s lives should Baltimore voters expect of the next mayor? None are inked on paper. But promises and expectations are very likely to be identified during the campaign cycle by either the candidates or through public input.
Those promises and expectations should be tracked and help drive the initiative of the next mayoral administration. That is common in the private sector. When a major corporation hires a new top chief executive officer, the job often comes with a specific set of goals or metrics to meet as he or she moves forward.
These may range from improving the company’s profitability by a certain percentage to reducing overhead costs by a specific amount. At the end of the day, the company’s board of directors and shareholders lay out what they want the company to be — or to become — under the leadership of the new chief executive.
And so perhaps Baltimore voters should adopt the same approach as they look to 2016.
Collectively we should pose the question: What do we want Baltimore to be four years from now?
From there, specific goals or accomplishments need to be set for the next mayor to meet so the city is striving toward that grand collective vision.
Some areas of high public interest that a mayor could be asked to focus on by voters: