Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle stood with County elected officials today to announce the “Set Targets, Achieve Results” (STAR) initiative, which will inform residents on how their County performs.
Earlier this year, the Cook County Board passed an ordinance outlining new standards for performance management within the County. Through the “Set Targets, Achieve Results” (STAR) initiative, Cook County will begin providing quality, results-oriented data that shows how services are delivered, resources are used and whether outcomes are achieved. The data will be released in the first report to be published the first week of July.
“This is the first opportunity for all of the separate agencies of Cook County to stand together and report system-wide data—in public safety, healthcare, property and tax, and general finance and administration. We have continually emphasized the importance of collaboration and that means working together to meet these challenges together. Reporting system-wide data allows us to have frank conversations about the cost and quality of services we provide residents,” Preckwinkle said.
With pro bono support from the Civic Consulting Alliance and its partners, the President’s Office has been working with all County agencies to establish goals and metrics.
“All of here today have pledged to work collaboratively with each other to increase efficiency, improve services and make government more accountable to its residents. I want to thank them for the considerable commitment and effort they have put into this process,” said Preckwinkle.
As part of the STAR Initiative, managers representing all County agencies attended training sessions presented by the Civic Consulting Alliance and its partners. Over 200 managers from every elected office attended the training sessions. Individual working sessions with County departments and separately elected agencies were held to help refine goals and identify measures.
“This initiative touches all four of this administration’s goals: fiscal responsibility, innovative leadership, transparency & accountability and improved services. It will be a cornerstone of my administration and will help inform the County budget process in the short-term and set the County up for long-term financial success,” said Preckwinkle.
The STAR initiative will play a considerable role in the upcoming budget process.
“The work we do now is laying the foundation for more fiscally responsible operations. During the budget process, we were shocked to find that only one office under the President’s office kept regular, data-based metrics on performance.”
The County has already seen results stem from the STAR initiative. One example: through the implementation of proper tracking and accountability measures, POET (prior to being Cook County Works) worked to decrease absences due to sick days by over half (from 8.2 hours per employee per month to 3.4 hours per employee per month). In a department of roughly 50 employees, this is the equivalent of having six additional workers for one additional week.
“The broader goal here is that, with regular performance metrics being reported, we will be able to identify the underlying issues affecting County operations and, in turn, better allocate resources in the budget process,” said Preckwinkle. “We can analyze what your tax dollars are being used for throughout the County”
Information from the STAR report will also be published online in an open data format as part of the Open Cook County Plan.