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405 Busson1983 the Need for Program and Performance Evaluation InLG

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  THE NEED FOR PROGRAM AND PERFORMANCE EVALUATION m  LOCAL GOVERNMENT Terrv L- Busson, Eastern Kentucky University The article makes the case for evaluatirai sp ?cifie to localgovernment. The article examines the impact of Proposition13 in CalifOTnia with an eye toward the usefuini^ss of programand performance evaluaticm. In an era of resiiurce scarcitythere is a need for enhanced fserformance. Performanceevaluation is one way  t t  local government administrators toenhance their programs and improve The city manager of Zenith, a small midwestern city, is raced witha ma-or budget crisis. The cost of everything the city buys continues to ^ise,   the cost of providing services  LS  more expensive than ever and cityworkers are expecting pay increases thut at least meet the cost of living.All o:' these items would be difficult to cope with, but two other factorsmake it almost impossible - a tax cap allowing no more than a 3% increasein property taxes voted in by the state legislature and a 15% cutback infederal monies provided to t'he city. The end result is that changes willhave to be made. Services must be redjced or cut out altogether, staffingchang'es must be nmde, work assignmerts must be re-examined and poten-tial new sources of revenue explored.What does the managei- do, what services should be reduced or cutout. whieh staff should be let go or reassigned, where should changes inoperations occur, and how should the decision making process proceed?These are all questions that can be answered by the use of program and/orperi'ormance evaluation.The purpose of this paper will be to present the rationale forperforming evaluations, to describe the uses of evaluation, to considersome of the steps necessary to eondud program and performance evalua- tions,  and to examine the benefits and abuses of evaluation. The paper isnot intended as an exhaustive treatment of any of tlie topics above, sinceeach has been the subject of several books on program evaluation (see, forexaniple, Hatry, 1977, 1981; Nachmias. 1980). Rather this paper is intendedto convince the local government administrator of the need for, and useful-ness of. program and performance evaluation.Most local government administrators want to know if they are mak-in£{ the best and most efficient use of their employees, money, equipmentand materiaL Further, these local government administratof^; want to beable to evaluate new and existing programs and to examine the cost,feasibility and long-term effects of these programs. The difficulty is irconvincing the administrators that the benefits that can result fromprogram or performance evaluation are worth tlK-; time and effort requiredto gain the knowledge and the skills required to conduct these evaluations,This is where we find the < ity manager of Zenith. He knows he must solvethe problem, but he doesn't know where to begin. Does he make aeross-the-  u'd cuts or decisions based on political expediency? Wiil ne react t;>those that make the most noise, or wiO he attempt to make tbe decisionsbased on the best information availa ?ie for each prograin'?The city manager of Zenith is suftering from some  of  ihe resuli.>  :ã Proposition 13 which began in r'aiifornia and spread to dozens of otheres during- the past fe^is useful to examine what tiappenedProposition .13 in California.n IJ and its 'nany oitsprin ^  m  otncH* statesastrous results to many local governmcnls (Golden).,  inIS  a sledge hammer on local govornnienlocal governments which had been raising taxes (usually propertyK^et their service needs suddenly faced the loss of tip to one-revenue. How did they react to this massive reduetiun?ã;alifornia governments waited' and hoped that the state treasuryial and most ('alifornia cities had to make si) ten by ehmnãffset by various types of user fee^elsarges.It is notably apparent that ('aiifornia administraiors made lit tie'or was much en'ori10 loss of employees. Nor did they realizethat increased productivity would also allow administrators to reduce theirwork force while at the same time maintaining the level of .service theyhad at the time Proposition 13 was introduced. Without the knowledge thaineir sescounties in California had separate program eval'ialiori departmee of doing either proE^ratn or performance evaluations/}in using techniques of evaluation in order to make rational IS  to improve performance  am}';.  No city has announced Mial It  IS istrator's office.  Oo the  other hand,  in  order  to  '/. ã; L;:V-;  ã-.ãã: ., Alameda Coonty abolished  the  office  and  released  all of its  str:'': ã->:-,r^i-  -'ã The Alameda ease  is  particularly ironic because  in t'T :;.-- ã v. ã; prior  to  Proposition  13. its  Office  of  Program Kvaluati  ãã(ã  :.-?:'  ã -ã, ãã  ^.valuaticm for  Local Government 281commended for reducing tbe county budget by some 5 million dollars. Itsoffice, established m 1975, was charged with evaluating existing programs^emphasizing planning as a part of endeavors, relating resource allocation toprogram performance and effectiveness, and providing positive directionfor the improvement of service delivery. From the very beginning theAiameda Office of Program Evaluation established a ix)liey of cooperationand involvement with all county departments in the evaluation process,I'he goal of this evaluation unit was to make program evaluation a signifi-cant part of the policy-making and management system/'Tho Alameda County Program Evaluation Office revised previousstudies and conducted new ones in an attempt to suggest changes thativould be cost effective for the service delivery system. Their goal was to'^eliminate waste and promote increased performance and productivity, find thus minimize the need to either reduce services cr to make significantreductions in the size of the work force..But when it became apparent that Proposition 13 would probably pass,instead of calling on the Office of Program PIvaluation. .^lameda CountyOfficials overreacted to the proposed lass of 20% of the budget. No onewaited to see what the state was going to do. Instead,Immediately began to cut programs and  staff Most areas of the budget had their constituencies,or lacked internal support, found that they woulnated altogether. Second, because the lociil neswspapers did notthe work of the Office of Program Evahjation, they made the office-with other soft non-service programs—into w^ipping boys, primeexamples of high management costs and waste in ioeal government. In fact,newspapers asked that the elimination of smch programs come'6 direct services were reduced.. -\s a result, the battlecentered on meeting the demand for immediate services, withor no concern for the long-term ramifications of Propostiionterm rational decision-making analysis was out; snort-term emotionalreact'on was in. Also out was the Otfice of Program Evaluation.1-he real crisis for locai government in California will come duringthe next few years when the state, facing a budget deficit, reduces itsefforts to bail-out local governinenis. This reduction will force most localgovernments to make difheult choices concerning how much to reduceservices and how much to increase user fees and service charges.During the past two decades new services, programs and policies haveexparded rapidly not oniy for local governments in California, but for localgovernments throughout the country. I^ow well do thsy work? What needsare they meeting? Are they meeting the intended needs? These questionstiave not been answered satisfactorily, particulariy because of lack ofperfonnance measurements and ongoing- program measurements and evalu-ation, Local governments have been either unabie or unwilling to expendthe fjnds necessary to assess either how efi'icient o.;' how effective theirservice programs are. Because of high costs, poor service, and the difficul-ty of seeing results there have recently been nationwide demands for tascuts, budget cuts, and even the abolition of entire programs. Many of thesecuts were demanded because governments and agencies could not evaluatethe v*orth of their programs; nobody knew which programs to save ancwhich to aboUsh—since nobodv knew *^or sure which programs were  ãH'  to (= -Sliofis it IS necessary to iissciiss iwo ^termine how we /low of a specific i^overaspects of a program, iand most important of an. The purpose of the ^is doing, what  It  was itarge num )er ofjials to examinestudies  ffTP  avflilablp fore The oroblern  K  not a b fcpfs fnp f xaniolp HatfV 1979:  PAR, 1979).thoaluation is toed to do, aridal governmentof studies,  bul 1,  Comparison of before and after data — compares programresults measured at two pomts  m time:  the period before theprogram was implemented, iinii at some appropriate Timeafter implementation.with actual post-program data -~ compares actual postprogram data with estimates projected from  n  nuinber otime periods prior to the programs,ãn segments not segment' >ernT with data on otherti bv  tt\c  Program,ion — compares siirdiar'e serveci by a program;1 in different wavs)*The critical factor is that the comparison group.'-; aroassigned (before program implementation) sor the pfogf lepends on  mmis  tiiciors. ^.VSii.le performance is both an individual and a group phenoinenon. cnvironmcntpJvariables effect the determinants of performance   ahility and/or motivation (Wholey). The following model will demonstrate tlie environmenLa]  am individual determinants of perfornmnce.

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Oct 8, 2019

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Oct 8, 2019
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