The scope of work for the Greater Baltimore Committee/Presidents’ Roundtable Management and Efficiency Reviews involved conducting comprehensive assessments of the City of Baltimore’s Fire and Health Departments, as well as its Departments of Housing and Community Development, Public Works, and Recreation and Parks. As the study progressed, it became evident that the study had to be extended to address the City’s overall use of information technology. These areas of City’s government, however, cannot exist and function in a vacuum. A myriad of external influences and internal processes exist that impact the studied departments’ abilities to operate efficiently and effectively’influences that are manifest in shared organizational needs and challenges that must be managed and confronted by the leadership of every department and the City’s collective workforce.
As the approximately 250 executive volunteers that comprised the six project teams advanced in their fieldwork, similar observations and reoccurring themes began to surface from the project teams’ 30 subcommittees. Recognizing that the project teams were addressing these issues and contemplating recommendations with implications that reached beyond the departments being studies or direct operational areas being considered, a decision was made to compile a list of ‘Citywide’ recommendations. These recommendations incorporate a combination of cost savings, organizational, revenue enhancement, and service improvement implications that cut across traditional departmental boundaries as established in the City’s budgets and organizational charts. Specifically, this set of recommendations identify tangible opportunities to:
– Establish accountability as a priority by setting quantifiable goals and regularly measuring performance;- Develop innovative strategies and organizational mechanisms to better manage scarce financial resources;
– Infuse the City’s leadership and workforce with an entrepreneurial spirit;
– Revise long-standing service-delivery models and bureaucratic practices; and
– Engage the public in the continual improvement of Baltimore’s government.
The ultimate success or failure of any organization’be it a small company with less than 10 employees or a municipal conglomerate with thousands of employees such as the City of Baltimore’s government’is dependent upon its ability to seize the above-mentioned opportunities and execute strategies designed to maximize financial and service impacts.
Finally, it must be acknowledged that some of the financial and operational challenges confronting the departments studied cannot be disassociated with internal organizational processes such as hiring, contracting, and procurement. While the departments primarily responsible for these functions fall outside the purview of these reviews, the Project Steering Committee would be remiss if it failed to identify the existence of these issues and neglected to offer limited recommendations regarding areas where additional study and evaluation are warranted.