Policy, Leadership and Management Initiatives

New Organizational Initiatives for the City of Woodland

In 2007, the Woodland City Council met in a Study Session to review new organizational initiatives proposed by the City Manager and Senior Staff. Representatives of Woodland’s employee associations were invited by the Mayor, City Council and City Manager to attend the meeting and all were represented. Other managers, supervisors and various employees at all levels of the organization and from all departments were also in attendance.

City Council Support for New Initiatives

The City Council has expressed interest in supporting a transition that will move the City of Woodland to an outcome oriented, customer driven, efficient and effective local government organization. In order to accomplish this transition, comprehensive organizational change must be planned, implemented and sustained. It must be supported by all levels of the organization and led by people who are focused on implementing certain key initiatives that, when completed, will have lasting impact on the organization. As these key initiatives are completed, others will be initiated that build upon the success of the earlier efforts and the organization will be able to sustain positive change.

In order to begin this process, staff has outlined the Policy, Leadership and Management Initiatives that summarize the key elements required to transition Woodland to the organization described above. It is impossible to implement all of these initiatives at the same time; such an effort would not generate comprehensive change because employees do not have enough time to devote their efforts to everything at once. However, certain initiatives should be implemented in advance of others in order to lay the foundation for future success. Therefore, Senior Staff have developed a transition that focuses on the critical first steps that will facilitate comprehensive change and allow the City organization to create a foundation for future, long term success.

What are Policy, Leadership and Management Initiatives?

The Policy, Leadership and Management Initiatives provide a framework that will guide the City organization in conducting the public’s business. There are several ways that these Initiatives will positively impact the operation of City programs and services. First, the Initiatives seek to align the City Council’s policy direction with the day to day activities of the organization. Second, the Initiatives establish the foundation for what staff seeks to achieve by conducting the business of the City. Third, the Initiatives define the organizational culture which guides how staff interacts with the City Council, the community and each other. Fourth, the Initiatives provide the leadership and management tools that will be used by all employees in order to conduct the public’s business. Finally, the Initiatives provide the means for the City organization to evolve and change in a manner that meets the present and future needs of Woodland.

In order to illustrate how the Initiatives will be applied, the following elements are defined:

Vision, Values & Mission establishes a new or renewed vision for the organization, provides a list of organizational values that become the framework for conducting business and creates a common mission that is easily identified by all stakeholders, including the City Council, organizational leaders, employees, business/community partners and residents. The Vision, Values & Mission must be used, practiced and modeled constantly, especially by the organization’s leaders, in order for it to become relevant.

2011 Update: An employee task force completed a Vision Values and Mission (VVM) statement in late 2008. The statement was approved by the City Council in January 2009. As the organization has changed primarily due to the loss of staff over the last three years, a renewed effort to refocus on VVM needs to be implemented as the foundation of a comprehensive organizational development strategy.

City/Community Goals outline the most significant and desired outcomes for the City working together as a cohesive organization in collaboration with the community. The goals are intended to cross departmental lines and foster collaboration between work units and community stakeholders in order to be achieved. Periodic assessment of the progress toward meeting the City/Community Goals is critical to evaluating the organization’s performance.

2011 Update: City/Community Goals were presented to the City Council on October 12, 2010 as part of a discussion of Organizational Initiatives focused on achieving the City’s highest priority outcomes. Progress on these Goals will be reviewed and presented again to the City Council in October 2011.

Comprehensive General Plan is a complete, long term and internally consistent set of goals and objectives that directs the environmental and land use development of the City. The General Plan must incorporate regional and state planning requirements and the realities associated with fiscal analysis for elements such as infrastructure, parks and housing. This document serves as the City’s “constitution” for development and redevelopment.

2011 Update: The Comprehensive General Plan has not initiated due to lack of resources. This must remain a high priority for the City and staff is reviewing alternatives to develop funding for this important project.

Despite the fact this important project has not been implemented, the City is making progress in certain land use issues. These include review of the Gateway II Environmental Impact Report, revision to the deep flood policy and updating the conditions associated with the Knaggs Industrial property.

Departmental Strategic Plans are more focused documents that need to translate the overall policy direction of the City into specific outcome focused strategies and actions implemented by departments. Strategic Plans must link to the high priority outcomes identified by the community (as identified by the City/Community Goals and other relevant policy documents) by listing specific strategies and actions, scheduling their implementation and evaluating progress. A Strategic Plan is a living document and a tool for establishing performance plans and charting progress.

2011 Update: Department strategic plans are in the process of being updated to reflect current funding and service levels. 

10 Year Financial Plans are a fiscal management approach to linking the community’s high priority outcomes to the long term allocation of resources. These plans are created by developing long range revenue and expenditure projections that reflect the prioritization of service levels, capital projects and related fiscal activities. The 10 Year planning window is intended to facilitate long term thinking in the evaluation of priorities and to identify potential resource issues that will occur over time. Every fund should have a 10 Year Plan, including enterprise, internal service, special district and capital improvement funds.

2011 Update:  10-Year Financial Plans have been implemented and are the cornerstone of all financial decisions. The FY 2012 budget approval process included the City Council’s review of updated 10-Year Plans for the General Fund, Water Enterprise Fund, Sewer Enterprise Fund, Redevelopment Fund, Combined Transportation Funds and the 10-Year Capital Improvement Program.

Outcome/Performance Management is an approach that focuses on the outcomes desired for a program and service and the principle that managers will be held accountable for achieving the outcomes. Stated simply, outcome management asks the question: “What are the results we are trying to achieve?” These results need to be stated in measurable terms and if implemented correctly will transmit to all stakeholders that their City government is making progress toward meeting the City/Community Goals. Performance Management links the outcomes to a specific manager through a system that establishes an annual performance plan, tracks progress toward meeting the outcomes, allows for evaluation and adjustment and requires a final Year-end Report that summarizes the results in measurable terms.

2011 Update: Outcome/Performance Management has been implemented between the City Manager and all Department Heads. Each year the City Manager and Department Heads negotiate a Management Achievement Plan that commits each partner to a series of actions and achievements. The results of each year’s actions are transmitted by each Department Head to the City Manager through Departmental Year End Reports. The City Manager provides a Year End Report to the City Council that summarizes these achievements. This document provides the City Council with its primary tool for evaluating the City Manager and the performance of the entire organization.

The next evolution of Outcome/Performance Management is to implement the concept consistently through all levels of the organization beginning with mid-level managers.

Performance Based Budget links the annual allocation of resources to the achievement of results that correspond to service levels and defined in measurable terms. A Performance Based Budget (PBB) provides data that allows program managers to shift resources in order to achieve the results that are expressed in both qualitative and quantitative measures. In summary, PBB is the foundation for building a data driven, results oriented, customer focused and responsive local government organization.

2011 Update: PBB is scheduled for full implementation in FY 2014. This initiative requires the organization to be restructured with a commitment to program and service levels. Long-tem fiscal sustainability must be achieved before PBB can be initiated.