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King County strategic plan proposed: Will it matter?
Posted by Keith Ervin
King County has completed the opening act of a process that could profoundly change the way the government works.
Or that could make little difference at all.
County Executive Dow Constantine delivered to the County Council Tuesday a five-year strategic plan that sets government goals and ways to measure progress toward achieving them.
It is the first such plan to incorporate goals for the executive, judicial and legislative branches of government. "Immediate priorities" include improvements to customer service, building relationships with cities and unincorporated areas and stabilizing the budget.
Measures of progress are concrete: the percentage of residents who say in surveys they feel safe in their neighborhoods, incarceration rates, child vaccination rates, county bond ratings among them.
Developed during 18 months of surveys, leadership meetings and public workshops under three executives, the plan will become county policy if the council adopts it by ordinance.
"This plan focuses on results, not process," Contantine wrote in an introduction. . . . "This is the plan that, when completed, can frame our work to change the way we do business in King County."
Not very sexy, headline-grabbing stuff. But exactly the kind of thoughtful approach Constantine and Deputy Executive Fred Jarrett promised during last year's executive race -- when they ran against each other in the primary -- to cut the cost of government and make it more efficient.
The County Council in 2008 called for creation of a strategic planning office and directed the executive to develop a plan for "performance management." It's been a long time in the making. The council in 1995 created a performance measurement oversight committee that sunsetted in 2001 after the county auditor said it had little support from then-Executive Ron Sims.
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