12 thoughts on “PFM Group report available

  1. Patrick

    According to Wikipedia: “Operationalization is the process of defining a fuzzy concept so as to make the concept measurable in form of variables consisting of specific observations.” In other words, Oakland voted for a strong mayor form of government. Since that basically means nothing without a strong Mayor, we’ll cite specific observations of our own choosing, to make the mayor happy, so that we can charge the citizens for the results in this report.

  2. Patrick

    Let’s see here – Page 16: Mayor’s Office Current Organizational Structure. The first four positions, who work directly for the Mayor are:

    1. Security. It is nice to know that at least one person in this town has adequate security protection. Is it me? Isn’t this kind of like saying “Our police force cannot protect me so I need a personal guard”.

    2. Driver. Wouldn’t want to have our Mayor navigate those pesky potholes on our 100 year paving schedule roadways himself, now would we?

    3. Executive Assistant/Scheduler. Is this the person who calls the travel agent to make the arrangements for Dellum’s frequent out-of-town trips? One would also presume that a person would require working on a schedule prior to having someone hired to perform that function. I can imagine this person’s grueling day at the office: “9:30ish to 10:00: write “Dellums at City Hall, 11:00 – 4:00, on several weekdays each month” on a cocktail napkin. “10:00 – 11:00: negotiate first class frequent flyer upgrades earned with City credit card”. “11:00 to the end of the month: LUNCH!”

    4. Administrative Assistant to the Executive Assistant/Scheduler. Perhaps this is the person who orders the fresh flowers so in demand by the Mayor?

  3. len raphael

    i was prepared to be cynical, but compared to a couple of other studies oakland has commissioned, this one has some good ideas that (even) dellums could implement without waiting for 5 task forces to convene and agree.

    flattening dellum’s own staff sb easy if he didn’t value loyality more than gwb. it’s quite a little convoluted kingdom he has going now.

    the common sense recommendations on a 5 year budget process confirms what i had feared: Oakland doesn’t do long term budgets. But better late than ..

    connecting the city administrator org chart to the mayor’s, makes me half belief that under the current setup dellums really was kept in the dark about the deficits (but then he probably never asked either).

    my first read left me vague on implementing baltimore’s “citistat” but seems to be some kind of basic performance monitoring of service delivery. can’t remember any oakland mayor talking about customer service.

    other than a big reduction in mayor’s own staff, i didn’t see specific recommendations on where to cut, even though report kept alluding to needed cuts.

    i don’t know the pro’s con’s of moving the resident’s assistence center staff around. that seems to me one of the few depts in city hall that performs well.

    worrisome that bobb wants outside forensic audits of payroll, fines/fees, inspections, and parking. what does he know that he ain’t saying and why wouldn’t you first beef up internal city audit dept to do that?

    he passes on suggesting improvements for opd but appropriately kisses butt for the geographic reorg which as far i can tell didn’t do diddly except run cops ragged. similarly lauds citizen task forces which seem to be either hand picked love fests or stalemates.

    Dellums must not forget that:
    “Until this battle station is fully operational, we are vulnerable. The Rebel Alliance is too well equipped, they’re more dangerous than you realize.”

  4. 94610BizMan

    Len,
    I read the PDF and I generally agree with you. I think this is a solid management consulting report. However throughout the text of the report are those bland statements that don’t capture what I think are the on the ground realities. I’ll just give a few examples.

    On page 60 there is the evaluation of the Budget Office. Nowhere in this section does the report mention that the department managed to be off by about $100 million in their projections.

    On page 72, Department of Human Services with 300 FTE… “Its list of responsibilities continues to grow at a pace that exceeds growth in available resources.”

    Or how the police are supposed to be reducing “quality of life crimes”

    Not to mention finding a whopping $1.1 million in savings for a city government that is facing in round numbers a $100 million budget deficit over the next two years.

    Of course since we are in a” no place to go but up” situation any reasonable implementation of some suggestions can’t help but be an improvement.

  5. len raphael

    946, same old, it’s a consultant who can’t bite the hand that pays him, but wants to do a good job. but yes it’s still humorous to see how the report tiptoes around the elephants in the rooms.

    do you have a sense who/what the main obstacles to doing the personnel reorg of the managers? eg. what stake do city council members have in the status quo?

  6. Frank

    I’m tired of hearing Dellums talk about his “vision” of a Model City. This term is mentioned 55 times in the report. Almost every recommendation in this report talks about how the particular department must be “aligned with the Mayor’s vision”. How about plain old fashioned goal setting, e.g., it should be our goal with X years to achieve (blank). As long as you have such an empty and meaningless terms such as a “model city”, you can never really be made accountable. Also, I found quite amusing the discussion about how the Mayor’s vision needs to be communicated to all government employees as well as the community. How can we know what the Mayor is thinking when he NEVER holds press conferences and routinely shuns the press? My bet is that this situation will not change and the people with not be granted more access to the Mayor. I think he is just biding his time until his term expires (just like Bush) and will dump the problem on the next mayor.

  7. Michael H

    I just thought about this while reading one of the earlier comments, and realized that many on the city council have been leaders of oakland for quite sometime now. I am in no way attempting to defend the mayor in this case, but he is not the sole leader of the community, and they should also take responsibility for the pitfalls which oakland has presented itself. I just moved to the area and this is all new to me, but it doesn’t appear as though the city has progressed much utilizing the model of top down leadership. The roads are inadequate, crime is rampant in many areas, and poverty is an everyday struggle.

    To me it seems like the bright points of oakland have been brought forth by the people through organizations like the people’s grocery. Real change happens with all you reading and writing blogs out there, and not from some lawyer that has no perspective of what everyday people go through.

    Sorry this whole thing started as a poke at city council, but streamed into a motivational rant.

  8. Colleen

    One caveat to this report. Robert Bobb presented recommendations to the Mayor in October. (This is from a conversation with Robert Bobb) which should have been in the format of a report. He said the Mayor was going to hear his plans and the report would be revised based on ‘feedback’. So I’m afraid that the version we’re seeing is a ‘watered down’ or edited version is probably much tamer than what was given to the Mayor. I’d be very much interested in what the unedited version looked like. It may have many more recommendations and criticisms than we are aware of, including the police.

    I hope that Dellums has the cajones to really clean house and bring accountability our city government.

  9. Patrick

    Dellums doesn’t have the cajones to drive himself down an Oakland street without a personal guard – I wouldn’t hold your breath.

  10. Greg

    This report is a parting gift to the scandolous Assistant City Administrator, Miss Marysheva-Martinez. If anyone has had the unfortune to meet this woman, I hope you get that sharp pain in your back checked out. To focus on the Budget Office, Miss Marysheva was only gone a few years. While she was in Oakland in the first installment, she delayed the pain year after year. Who really thinks a $100 million dollar hole just appeared within the past year? It was a ticking timebomb and now she is back. CityStat is a joke. I hope the Council wises up and require the City to go through its due dilligence before paying hundreds of thousands of dollars for a product no one believes in and no programs to measure.