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City Administrator Testifies at Fiscal Year 2014 Performance Oversight Hearing

Thursday, March 12, 2015
Written testimony of City Administrator Rashad Young

Government of the District of Columbia
Office of the City Administrator

Public Oversight Hearing
on the Performance of the
Office of the City Administrator
During Fiscal Year 2014 and
Fiscal Year 2015 to Date

Testimony of
Rashad M. Young
City Administrator

Before the
Committee of the Whole
Council of the District of Columbia
The Honorable Phil Mendelson, Chairperson

Room 412
John A. Wilson Building
1350 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20004
March 12, 2015
10:00 a.m.

Good morning, Chairman Mendelson and members of the Council.  My name is Rashad M. Young and I am the City Administrator of the District of Columbia.  Thank you for this opportunity to provide testimony on the performance and activities of the Office of the City Administrator (OCA) during fiscal year 2014 and fiscal year 2015 to date.  Joining me today are members of my staff including Kevin Donahue, Deputy City Administrator, and Christopher Shorter, Director of Agency Operations.

The mission of the Office of the City Administrator is to facilitate the effective and efficient implementation of the Mayor’s policies by providing leadership, support, coordination, and oversight of District agencies.  

To help achieve this mission, the Deputy Mayor for Education, Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services, and Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development all report to the City Administrator and the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Public Safety and Justice is located within the Office of the City Administrator.  

OCA is also the main liaison with many of the District’s independent agencies, including the Office of the Chief Financial Officer, as well as with the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments.

OCA Organization
To carry out its mission, OCA is composed of the following functions:

1.    Agency Operations: The agency operations function of OCA is composed of program analysts who work across agency clusters.  The staff in this division oversee agency performance management and accountability activities, assist in continuous quality improvement efforts, help coordinate multi-agency and cross-cluster projects, implement District-wide operational initiatives, and provide agencies with operational guidance throughout the year.

2.    Government Operations:  The government operations function of OCA is responsible for in-depth oversight of agencies in the government operations cluster, including agencies that focus on internal operations of the government, such as the Department of Human Resources, Office of Contracting and Procurement, and Office of the Chief Technology Officer, and public-facing agencies, such as the Department of Motor Vehicles and the Department of Public Works.  
3.    Public Safety:  The public safety function of OCA is responsible for in-depth oversight of agencies in the public safety cluster, including the Metropolitan Police Department, the Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department, the Department of Corrections, and the Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency.  This Division also incorporates the functions of the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Public Safety and Justice.

4.    Budget and Finance: The Office of Budget and Finance (OBF) is responsible for formulating the District’s annual budget submission and monitoring and facilitating budget actions throughout the year.  In addition, OBF provides advice on ways to achieve the goal of making District’s budget and budget process more accessible, inclusive, and transparent to the public.  The budget and finance function was moved from the Executive Office of the Mayor to OCA at the start of the Bowser administration.

5.    Legal and Policy: The legal and policy function of OCA is responsible for legislative and regulatory review and formulation within the Office, provides legal and policy analysis and advice to the City Administrator and staff, serves as the Office’s ethics counselor and Freedom of Information Act officer, and coordinates legal and policy issues with the Office of the Attorney General, the Mayor’s Office of Legal Counsel, and the Mayor’s General Counsel.

6.    Office of Labor Relations and Collective Bargaining:  The Office of Labor Relations and Collective Bargaining (OLRCB) administers the District’s labor relations program.  OLRCB’s areas of responsibility include representing the District as the principal management advocate during labor negotiations, representing the Mayor and District agencies in collective bargaining negotiations, developing and presenting cases in mediation and arbitration proceedings, and advising the Mayor and District agencies concerning all aspects of labor relations.

Initiatives and Goals
In FY 2014 and FY 2015 to date the OCA led a number of both subject-specific and District-wide initiatives.  Some of the larger initiatives included power-line undergrounding, the development of a major league soccer stadium, contracting reform, and the labor-management partnership council.

Although discrete projects such as power line undergrounding and the soccer stadium are certainly important achievements—and these types of initiatives will be continued—one of my main goals for the Office is to bring a renewed focus on performance management, service delivery improvement, and operational issues that cut across all clusters and agencies.
Establish a robust performance management program
One of the Office’s major goals for the remainder of FY15 and beyond is to reinvigorate the performance management program across the District government. The Mayor is adamant that we must close gaps in education, jobs, housing and economic development, and she is determined to make specific, tangible improvements to the government’s operations.  For each of these priorities, we must rely on timely, accurate data to inform our analysis and guide our decision making.

Our performance management framework will have four pillars:

1.    A re-envisioning of the District’s performance planning and monitoring process to ensure all agencies’ work is aligned to the Mayor’s strategic priorities for the District;
2.    The re-constitution of CapStat for near-term intensive interventions to tackle specific, high-priority performance deficits;
3.    A recommitment to transparency and citizen engagement through programs like OpenData DC and TrackDCand better integration of these tools into our overall performance management approach; and
4.    A deliberate effort to build a culture and practice of performance management across the government so that performance and results data are used by managers and agency directors to inform their day-to-day operations.

Taken together, these priorities help ensure that we will be steadily progressing toward our long-term goals, are engaging citizens in an ongoing conversation about their concerns, and are building the foundation for data-driven decision making long into the future.  Through this vigorous performance management, we will be able to improve District services and align our resources to where they are needed most, while being transparent with our assessments of where we are and where we aim to be.

Better integrate the budget process with program analysis, performance management, and policy-making
Another key goal I have is to better integrate the budget process with program analysis, performance management, and policy-making.  One of the first steps we took as part of the new administration was to move the staff of the Office of Budget and Finance to within the Office of the City Administrator.  Our goal in making this change is to ensure that decisions about budget allocations can be more closely based on specific program goals and budget allocations can be more closely tied to agency performance.  In the end, this will help us identify ways to allocate taxpayer dollars more effectively and to improve the efficiency  and effectiveness of agency operations.

Another major goal aligned with OBF is to make the District’s budget process more accessible, inclusive, and transparent to the public.  Last month, we hosted three public budget engagement forums across the District to inform residents about the FY16 budget and to seek their input on budget priorities and suggestions for gap-closing measures. The feedback we received was very positive, and we will to continue to engage the public each year before the budget is delivered to the Council.  We are also committed to finding other ways to improve budget transparency by reviewing the layout of the District’s budget books and by looking for ways to improve how the public can access budget information in a user-friendly manner.

Implement innovative service delivery methods and create a culture of innovation across the District government
Another important goal I have for the Office of the City Administrator is to help agencies implement innovative service delivery methods in order to improve the quality, responsiveness, and efficiency of government services.

One of the realities of government operations is that agencies often are so engaged in implementing their day-to-day responsibilities that they don’t have the time or expertise to consider new practices and procedures.  Because of that, we often are not leveraging best practices from the private sector or other jurisdictions — with the result being that we aren’t providing the most efficient or highest level of services to our residents.

To address this issue, OCA will establish an Office of Innovation during FY15.  Individuals in the innovation office will be able to focus exclusively on examining why the government is providing a service in a certain way and how we can provide it more effectively and more efficiently.

The Office of Innovation will closely partner with agencies to ensure that the solutions they develop are realistic, implementable, sustainable on a long-term basis, and are likely to achieve the expected results.  I am excited about the new possibilities this office will bring to the District’s operations.

Leverage public-private partnerships to revitalize and expand the District’s infrastructure
Like most cities and states, the District has billions of dollars in infrastructure needs, including schools, affordable housing, transportation projects, libraries, police stations, and fire stations.  These critical investments are sometimes difficult to finance with existing resources, but the involvement of the private sector can bring creativity, efficiency, and capital to address this infrastructure challenge.
Public-private partnerships, or P3s, are an innovative procurement model that leverages private-sector expertise, shifts risk, and achieves life-cycle efficiencies on projects that have historically been procured by traditional methods and operated and maintained by government entities.  In our region, Virginia has procured several transportation projects through P3s, including the I-495 Beltway express lanes, and   Maryland is expected to procure the Purple Line light rail project through a P3.   

In order to develop P3 projects in the District, OCA will establish a new Office of Public-Private Partnerships, based on legislation that was introduced by Mayor Bowser and approved when she was a member of the Council.  Our team is currently planning the structure of the office, budgeting the necessary resources, and working to identify personnel to staff the office.  I’m excited to see this important work begin and look forward to continuing to work with the Council on this innovative procurement method.

That concludes my testimony.  Thank you for the opportunity to testify today.  I am available to answer any questions you may have.