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Mayor Anthony A. Williams testimony on management reform
House of Representatives, Committee on Appropriations, Subcommittee on the District of Columbia
June 30, 2000




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From Management Reform To Performance Management
Testimony of Mayor Anthony A. Williams
Committee on Appropriations
Subcommittee on the District of Columbia
U.S. House of Representatives

June 30, 2000


Chairman Istook, Congressman Moran and other members of the Committee, thank you for the opportunity to testify before you today on management reform in the District of Columbia. The original management reform agenda was an ambitious attempt to revise the way the District government did business. Its objectives were the right ones, but there were flaws in the agenda's execution. Furthermore, when I became Mayor I recognized that the remaining management reform initiatives alone were not sufficient to make this government work for the residents of the District of Columbia.

Upon assuming office I initiated a comprehensive approach to performance management that focused on defining goals, getting results and holding people accountable for achieving those results. We incorporated selected management reform initiatives into agency strategic plans and, more importantly, agency strategic plans addressed many of the goals of the management reform agenda if not all of the specific initiatives. Finally, the management reform agenda promised substantial cost-savings that have yet to be met. My administration is committed to achieving significant and lasting productivity savings this year, in FY 2001 and beyond.

Assessing Management Reform

The Management Reform agenda pre-dates my administration — it was established by the District of Columbia Financial Responsibility and Management Assistance Authority ("the Authority") and the Chief Management Officer (CMO) in FY 1998. The Office of Budget and Planning tracked management reform expenditures closely in FY 1998 and 1999 and has shared those records with the General Accounting Office (GAO) over the last several months. The Office of the Chief Financial Officer issued a report assessing FY 1998 Management Reform results that was shared with Committee staff in July 1999 and with GAO in February 2000. The key shortcomings of the Management Reform agenda that report identified included:

  • Unclear definitions of management reform and unclear criteria for project selection
  • Division of accountability for programmatic and financial results
  • Delay in implementation after initial plans were submitted to Congress
  • Emphasis on expenditures within a set time frame over achieving project results, even if it meant completing projects later than expected
  • Performance measures that were unclear or unmeasurable

Rebuilding from the Ground Up

When I took office, the management challenges my administration inherited were daunting:

  1. A workforce rarely held accountable in a consistent manner.
  2. An organizational culture that is resistant to change.
  3. An infrastructure devastated by years of deferred maintenance and disinvestment, and
  4. A lack of adequate technology.

Faced with these conditions, I ordered agency directors to stop for a moment and to take a fresh look at the condition of their agencies from top to bottom. How did the people, processes and systems they had in place support our commitment to providing better services of all kinds to the residents of the District of Columbia? This included:

  • Assessing which of their senior managers could contribute to retooling their agencies and which could not;
  • Identifying agency practices and processes that made sense versus those that were continued out of habit;
  • Determining which information systems were state-of-the-art, adequate to support the agency's mission, or at-risk of not making it through the Y2K transition.

Comprehensive Approach to Performance Management

Throughout my campaign and in my first days in office, I recognized that the District lacked a unifying strategic vision that incorporated the priorities of the residents and the best thinking of agency directors and their staff. At the same time, I knew that the residents had little patience for a long planning cycle-we needed immediate results. We initiated the Short-term Action agenda, a set of initiatives to demonstrate rapid, visible improvements in basic services within one year or less.

As agency directors implemented the Short-term Action agenda, I also instructed them to develop long-term strategic plans. The unfinished management reform initiatives were among the many options directors were to consider, but not all of the projects were going to continue in FY 1999. In establishing strategic plans, directors were to make tough assessments of their organizations' strengths and competencies; question what businesses their agencies were in and what businesses they should get out of; and identify strategies for innovation.

Most importantly, agency strategic plans were to include concrete deliverables, specific deadlines and meaningful measures of progress and success. I've set up performance contracts based on these strategic plans with my Agency Directors so that they know exactly what they are responsible for delivering. I'm going to evaluate their progress twice a year and their job security depends on their effectiveness.

However, in formulating my strategic priorities I needed to be certain that we were establishing and achieving goals that mattered to the residents. I decided to do something a little untraditional and empowered citizens to set priorities for our government. So I held a citizen summit in November. More than 3,000 residents answered the call and came to help me set priorities for the city and their neighborhoods.

We compiled those comments and used citizen priorities to put together the FY 2001 budget. I also used them to develop a citywide strategic plan-with a set of very specific, measurable goals for every agency of our government. Using the citywide plan as a template, throughout 2000-2001 residents will be engaged in a Neighborhood Action planning process that provides communities an opportunity to establish their own unique neighborhood priorities.

A Government That Works Better

The Short-term Action Agenda was critical to regaining the faith of our residents and energizing District employees. Initiatives included reducing electrical and building permit processing times, targeting open-air drug markets in six communities, eliminating backlogs of home improvement loans, and establishing extended hours at District agencies which residents could not conveniently visit during the working day. We achieved a gratifying 90 percent success rate on the Short-term Action agenda, but short-term initiatives were only a down payment. They built trust and confidence, and they gave us a little momentum.

The District is also achieving success in tackling long-standing problems. While my administration did not pursue many of the original management reform initiatives, we have addressed and continue to address the broad themes of customer service, business process improvement, financial management, and workforce investment. We have successes we can point to in all of these areas and delays we can cite as well. I will only describe a few examples today.

The Citywide Call Center: While management reform initiatives addressed customer service agency-by-agency, a common refrain among residents was that there was no one place to call for help from the District government. We committed to establish "One Number" for agencies and launched the Citywide Call Center in April 1999. Residents now have an easy-to-remember number — 727-1000 — and we track performance data on frequently requested services and how long it takes to resolve them. Lessons learned in the operation of the Call Center have helped us to establish uniform standards for phone service quality District-wide. During FY 2000, we are tracking the quality of service of call center operators and of operators at selected District agencies.

Establishing a Department of Motor Vehicles: Poor quality customer service at the Bureau of Motor Vehicles was legendary when the agency was a division of the Department of Public Works. Under Management Reform, the District created a separate DMV and set ambitious goals for the reduction of wait and service times for drivers license, registration, auto inspection and traffic adjudication transactions. The agency struggled in achieving its performance targets during FY 1999, but over the last eight months DMV has taken innovative and aggressive steps to drastically reduce service times including extended hours, express lines, satellite centers, credit card transactions and customer service training. As recently as February average service times (the time to wait on line and complete the transaction) for drivers' licenses exceeded 80 minutes — as of May 2000 the average service time has dropped to 35 minutes. Average registration renewal service times have dropped from more than 40 minutes in March to less than 19 minutes in May. We need to sustain these improvements and improve performance in other areas including adjudication, but I truly believe DMV has turned the corner.

Personnel Management: Since the arrival of the new Director of the D.C. Office of Personnel, we have made significant progress in initiatives related to the classification, compensation and evaluation of District employees-many of which originated as management reform initiatives.

  • The Management Supervisory Service, authorized by Council in 1998, will be implemented in August 2000. This workforce realignment will enable approximately 1,300 non-unionized managers and supervisors to become members of a new at-will, merit-based senior service. Participants will receive salary increases that will bring their salaries in line with the 1999 Federal salary scales for managers and supervisors. However, they will forego the cumbersome career protection rights that make real accountability for results difficult.
  • Performance Management Program: More than 2,000 management, supervisory and excepted service personnel in agencies under the personnel authority of the Mayor, independent entities and the receiverships completed training in the new Performance Management Program from March-May 2000. Personnel in agencies under the personnel authority of the Mayor are completing FY 2000 Performance Plans this summer and will complete FY 2001 Performance Plans by October 2000.
  • Rightsizing the District Government: The Office of Personnel is also spearheading the District's rightsizing efforts in partnership with my Chief of Staff, the four Deputy Mayors, and the Office of Budget and Planning. The initiative is described in more detail in the discussion of productivity savings below.

A Government That Costs Less

One of the unrealized promises of the management reform agenda was achieving real and lasting productivity savings. My administration is committed to making the District government more efficient and to ensuring that savings targets projected for FY 2000 and FY 2001 are both realized and recurring.

We are committed to achieving the $7.0 million productivity savings target in FY 2000. We have already saved approximately $1.0 million as a result of an audit of unused telephone lines and unnecessary service options this year. We project additional savings from recouping Medicaid reimbursements that the DC Public Schools Special Education division has historically failed to pursue and through better management of disability claims throughout District government agencies. Further savings will come from cell phone account management, energy savings and one-time revenue from vehicles identified for disposition in the District-wide Fleet Management initiative launched in June 2000.

The largest source of the FY 2001 projected savings of $47 million will be the District's rightsizing initiative. The District will reduce its workforce through the elimination of long-standing funded vacancies and attrition through regular and early retirement during FY 2000. We project that this effort will reduce the District government by 1,000 FTEs and yield $37 million in savings during FY 2001. Features of this effort include:

  • Agency Staffing Structures: Agencies are creating accurate organizational chart and position list that can be used in planning over this summer and into the new fiscal year.
  • Vacancy Management: Representatives of each Deputy Mayor, the Chief of Staff, the Budget Director and the Personnel Director meet weekly to review each critical hire and promotional request submitted by agencies under the personnel authority of the Mayor.
  • Retirement Incentives: Employees under the full personnel authority of the Mayor who are eligible for regular or early retirement on or before September 8, 2000 may be eligible for a lump-sum payment of 50% of an employee's salary, up to a maximum of $25,000 (pre-tax). A fact sheet that summarizes the key components of the retirement incentive program is attached.

The remaining $10 million in productivity savings will consist of initiatives launched this year that will yield continuing savings in FY 2001, including disability claims management; Medicaid reimbursements; reduced fleet acquisition and management costs; reduced energy and utility payments; telephone lines and service options management; and cell-phone account management.

In conclusion, I have not come here to tell you we have met all of our challenges in the District. I am not even going to tell you we have met half of them. We are tackling problems that have been more than 20 years in the making. For all of the successes I can point to with pride, there are 10 more problems to address. However, through continued diligence I am confident we will reach our goals.

Thank you. I will be glad to answer any questions you may have.

As of 6/19/00

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  Vacancy Management Retirement Incentives Management Supervisory Service (MSS)
JUNE 2000
  • June 5 — Vacancy management begins
  • Org. Charts/Schedule A's completed
  • Analysis & oversight by Agencies, Budget, Personnel, Deputy Mayors.
  • Retirement incentive rules released
  • Retirement calculations printed and available at Servicing Personnel Offices
  • Agencies prepare for retirement requests
  • MSS pay resolution approved by Council
  • Informational memo sent to each MSS candidate publicizing implementation timeline.
JULY 2000
  • Vacancy management continues thru Oct 1
  • July 10-14 — Requests for retirement incentives accepted; Incentives granted in seniority order until funding is exhausted.
  • By July 27 — Retirement requests reviewed by agencies to determine "critical" and "essential" positions. Employees notified of their status by August 4
  • July 28 — MSS letters delivered to agency directors for signature
AUG 2000
  • Vacancy management continues thru Oct 1
  • August 15 — Proposed PS and FTE reduction allocations for each agency completed; for review by EOM, CA's OFFICE, OCFO
  • August 8 — Sept. 8: Employees retire (unless they are deemed "critical" or "essential")
  • August 4 — MSS letters distributed
  • August 18 — MSS decisions due
  • August 27 — MSS pay in effect
SEPT 2000
  • Vacancy management continues thru Oct 1
  • Sept 1 — Final PS and FTE reductions allocated to agencies' FY01 budgets
  • Sept 22 — Final day for retirements to be effective for "essential" employees
  • MSS KICK OFF EVENT with the Mayor, Deputy Mayors and Cabinet (after Labor Day)

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  • Employees under the full personnel authority of the Mayor who are eligible for regular or early retirement on or before September 8, 2000 will be eligible for the retirement incentive. Uniformed members of the Police and Fire Departments are excluded.
  • Agencies not under the full authority of the Mayor who wish to offer retirement incentives must first identify the funding source.
  • Employees whose positions are deemed "critical" (see below) can be denied the incentive payment; they cannot, however, be denied retirement should they choose to retire without the incentive.
  • Employees receiving the incentive who are considered "essential" can be required to stay employed through September 22, 2000.


  • Is the only position of its kind;
  • Is a sole supervisory position;
  • Is a court-ordered position; OR
  • Is essential to carrying out the mission or functions of the agency.


  • The incentive is a lump-sum payment of 50% of an employee's salary, up to a maximum of $25,000 (pre-tax).
  • Funding for the incentive payment, as well as annual leave lump sum payments, is available centrally, through a fund managed by the OCFO and the Financial Authority.
  • Incentives will be offered as long as sufficient funding is available. The District expects to retire approximately 600-1,000 individuals through this program. Agencies that wish to contribute to the funding of the program should notify their CFO and Personnel.


  • Employees can submit their requests for the retirement incentive July 10-14, 2000. Applications will be prioritized in order of employees' seniority. Positions designated by agencies as "critical" will be excluded.


  • The designated departure period for retirees receiving the incentive is AUGUST 8, 2000 — SEPTEMBER 8, 2000. Employees who have been deemed "essential" by their agency directors can stay through SEPTEMBER 22, 2000.

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