Monday, June 22, 2015

At the Forefront of a New Mission in Local Government

"... you’ve completed the package of a “Mission Control Center” for every government leader, every elected official, every manager, and maybe every citizen!”

Mission Control

Something very interesting occurred at GFOA’s Annual Conference in Philadelphia just a few weeks ago. Yes, it was certainly interesting that over 800 people attended our session on Program Budgeting – interesting,  humbling and thrilling! 

But what was REALLY interesting is a comment that came from a CFO after the session – she said: “you’ve built a Mission Control for governments!” I asked her to explain, and she continued: “we’ve implemented Priority Based Budgeting (PBB), we’ll be launching Online PBB together and then implementing Online Fiscal Health too. With Online Program Costing [what we unveiled at GFOA’s Conference during our presentation] you’ve completed the package of a “Mission Control Center” for every government leader, every elected official, every manager, and maybe every citizen!”

Not only was I floored, but I was moved. She’s exactly right! As practitioners, when Jon and I developed these concepts and tools while working for Jefferson County, CO, we projected these models on the screens and walls of every Board meeting, staff meeting and every citizen town hall forum we supported.

After a while, to our surprise (and delight!), our own elected officials became addicted, insisting “put that red-line/blue-line thing back on the wall” every time there was a decision to be made that required a resource allocation decision. This was our dream! 

And now, with the suite of integrated, online tools for Fiscal Health, Program Costing and Priority Based Budgeting in action, Mission Control has launched (just like our audience members said) to every government, every school district, every board room of every organization!

 CPBB "Mission Control" video

The Eagle has landed

The dream of Mission Control arouses an image of Captain Kirk at the helm of the Enterprise, or the patchy radio feed as Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong landed the Apollo 11 on the moon, with the erupting team of directors and analysts back at “Houston” embracing each other with the triumph of their mission. The moon landing is such a vivid image, especially as it reminds us of one of government’s great moments – indeed this was a government program that got us to the moon!

As so many of us in local government know all too well, it seems like it’s been a while since government has been the source of such inspiration, such triumph, such promise!

And maybe…. Maybe this is what is so moving to us at CPBB about our audience member’s observation “you’ve created Mission Control for government.” As we prepare for the CPBB "Data-Focused Communities" Conference where the entire community of implementers of Fiscal Health, Program Costing and Priority Based Budgeting are assembling, we see it among our implementers and those who are coming on board: we’re all on a vastly important New Mission together. 

Our New Mission – Our Apollo Moment for Government

The opportunity we all have in front of us is here, to reverse the downward trend in public trust, to restore the faith in government as a leader in creating communities that are safer, healthier, smarter, economically thriving and enriching! 

As hard as it is to pick up a Time Magazine and be confronted with a fearful headline “Is your City next?” with the image of Detroit in the background; the opportunity we have is to re-imagine ourselves at the forefront of a new mission, with the very stake of our communities on the line.

For every desperately dedicated city or county manager, for every visionary finance director, for every ambitious and committed elected official who came to public service to create and inspire greatness in their communities – we are on your team! And bringing “Mission Control” to your organization is our contribution to your success. Let’s do this together!

Center for Priority Based Budgeting
2015 Annual Conference 
Denver, Colorado | August 4 - 6, 2015
Sheraton Downtown Denver Hotel