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View from the Cordillera

A Commentary on Achieving Excellence in Local Government
Read by Municipal Leaders on 4 Continents
Published by the Cordillera Institute
(Vol. 4, Issue 35)
A Recommended Agenda for Local-Government Reform (part 2): The Case for Improving Performance
To order the full text of this commentary or to become a subscriber, see the notes below.

Summary of This Commentary
We live in interesting times.  A municipality which made some unwise decisions in the past is forced to declare bankruptcy.  Another municipality, strapped for cash, lays off its entire workforce.  For your organization to avoid an unwanted outcome like bankruptcy, mass layoffs, or extinction by merger or annexation, your organization needs to be performing at or above par.  When the economy is weakened to the point that the flow of funds from senior government slows, former at-par performers risk slipping below par.  To remain at par, they're forced to resort to some combination of spending cuts, tax hikes, or going hat-in-hand to senior government.  Since at-par performers are forced to face this unpleasant scenario with each economic downturn, is there a better way?  Yes, it's to make your organization an above-par performer.  This commentary explains what that means, notes why taking that step is so important, describes the benefits of taking it, offers tips on where to start, and provides an overview of how to do it — with references to where you can find more details.  This issue also answers questions about job security and how long this current funding crisis is likely to last.  If it ended to tomorrow, would an investment in performance improvement be misspent?  That would only be the case if we ignored all of its benefits — and only if we expect that there will never be another economic downturn which has so many local-government agencies scrambling to stay afloat.  In summary, performance improvement offers too many benefits, whether in good economic times or in bad, to be passed over.  An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

As always, we welcome your comments.

David Barber
Director
Cordillera Institute
(416) 293-9300
CordInst@istar.ca
http://pages.istar.ca/~cordinst/



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To Inform Your Colleagues and Associates
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About This Publication
Each issue of View from the Cordillera covers some aspect of excellence in local government.  It may examine one of the success elements; it may present a case study; it may introduce a resource (an individual, a group, a publication, etc.) which is advancing excellence; it may advocate a new direction for local government; or it may identify a wrong turn in public policy and offer an appropriate remedy.  This electronic publication is read by those who govern, manage, support, and sustain our local governments.  For more information, just click on the About VFC button below.

About the Cordillera Institute
The Cordillera Institute is an independent research and public policy organization dedicated to excellence in local government.  Since our founding in 1994, we have studied many high-performance organizations to learn what makes them successful.  From this research, we have distilled a set of principles, paradigms, policies, programs, and practices which are the key elements of their success.  Our mission is to be a catalyst — to empower municipalities, school boards, public utilities, and other local public agencies to achieve excellence by adopting and applying these success elements.  For more information, just click on the About CI button below.

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