If you like statistics and municipal policy, then it's a good day to be a Hyattsvillian.
Tonight, the Hyattsville City Council will be reviewing the performance of city departments over the first three months of the fiscal year. For the first time, city leaders will be tracking each department according to customized sets of performance measures agreed upon earlier in the year during the budget deliberations.
Depending on the depth of the presentations, it could be a revealing night for the city's departments. This is a special work session for the city council, too. The only real agenda item at tonight's meeting is the quarterly departmental performance presentation.
In total, there are more than 155 different performance measures which the city is tracking, variously, among its departments. Each performance measure is designed to work towards 18 "action-items" which support five overall city goals.
For instance, the Hyattsville City Police Department administration will be tracking the number and outcome of external and internal complaints against city police officers and the hours and costs used to investigate or defend against those complaints. That's to support goal number one, ensuring transparent and accessible governance.
In support of goal number two–ensuring the long-term health of the city–the Department of Public Works will be tracking a number of statistics related to the expansion of the city's bicycle infrastructure. The Department of Community and Economic Development will be tacking investment in development partnership projects.
That is, of course, just a partial list. To see the full list of goals, action items and performance measures, just scroll down to page 79 of the city council agenda packet for Feb. 13, 2012.
The more detailed number crunching is designed to give city leaders and administrators a set of benchmark statistics to base future budget decisions on.
"We have found that government entities who do this type of measurement are also in a continual improvement process, and while we have tried to make the measurements relevant, we may need to make adjustments for future years," reads a memo accompanying a motion from earlier this year sponsored by Mayor Marc Tartaro to adopt the slate of performance measures.
Hyattsville's City Council meets tonight at 8 p.m. in the Hyattsville Municipal Building. The meeting is broadcast on Hyattsville Community Television, channel 71 on Comcast, channel 12 on Verizon.