Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker visited the John A. Wilson Building this morning — D.C.’s city hall — to visit with his fellow new leader, Mayor Vincent C. Gray. Afterward, Baker tweeted Gray a thank-you: “Appreciate DC Mayor Gray showing me CapStat and the DC 311 center.”
Baker is in the process of creating a “CountyStat” apparatus for Prince George’s, based on the data-driven management models pioneered by William Bratton for New York City police and Martin O’Malley in the Baltimore city government, and later adopted by Mayor Adrian Fenty in the District.
But “CapStat,” as Fenty called his accountability regime, might not be long for Gray’s government — under that name, at least.
Gray’s city administrator, Allen Y. Lew, said in an interview last month that he’s looking to establish “more of a management relationship rather than dealing with every nook and cranny.”
CapStat under Fenty was a fairly rigid process of goal-setting and goal-meeting and goal-revising, whose centerpiece were high-pressure meetings gathering top agency officials, the city administrator and staff, and, at least early on, Fenty himself. Early meetings, in fact, were videotaped and put on the Internet before Attorney General Peter Nickles put a stop to it.
Lew said that method is no more.
“We do have meetings similar to that, but we’re certainly not calling it that,” Lew said. “We’re going to have metrics, measurement goals, where we have to fit, what we have to fit, things like that.”
The term “CapStat” appears to have been scrubbed from the OCA web site.
The demise of CapStat accompanies a broader change in how the government is being run. Fenty’s first city administrator, Dan Tangherlini, introduced a rigorous management model that fused the structure seen in the federal Office of Management and Budget (where he had once worked) with the data-driven focus of Bratton and O’Malley. A corps of “analysts” reporting to Tangherlini (who is now the chief financial and management officer for the U.S. Treasury Department) worked regularly with the agency or agencies they covered, digging to reap performance efficiencies that turf-conscious agencies might not be able or willing to identify themselves.
That structure is now all but gone. Where the city administrator once had unified responsibility for budget preparation and performance management — under the theory that the two go hand in hand — Lew’s office no longer has direct say over budgeting. Gray’s budget chief, Eric Goulet, instead reports to Chief of Staff Gerri Mason Hall, and many of the staff positions that once belonged to the CA now belong to Goulet.
The new accountability process, Lew said, is “similar [to CapStat] but it’s not the the same process.”
“I deal directly with the cabinet members and their staffs,” he said. “And then our staffs deal with the various layers of folks that are overseeing these various groups.”