Government accountability is about more than just transparency. Accountability is about making sure that our actions are producing the outcomes needed to achieve our goals. As a City, we are spending too much time and money on projects and processes that don't help us get to where we need to be. When the time comes to make tough or controversial decisions to take action, our leaders delay. That needs to stop. As our residents continue to find innovative ways to address the biggest challenges we face, in many ways the City itself has stagnated—it takes us years of public process and pilot programs to build a bike lane just like the ones we have on multiple other streets. We are asking our residents to make hard choices without many options every day. We can’t expect less from our city leaders.
We need to rebuild trust with our residents so they know that when the City sets big goals and creates progressive visions, we are going to follow through, and make sure that we are hearing from and being accountable to all of our residents, not just those with the most ability to reach out.
- We need to align our city budget and departmental structure with our community’s priorities. Our residents, and our Council, has said time and time again that it is our priority as a community to mitigate our climate impact, to address homelessness, to ensure diverse and affordable housing in a compact way that helps preserve our natural areas, and to create a more equitable Eugene. And yet, the programs and efforts to confront these challenges exist on the fringes of our City budget and departmental structure. For more information, please see Focusing on Our Priorities.
- As a City, we do have limited resources—we don’t have an infinite pool of money, and addressing our challenges will require funds. So how can we do more? By figuring out ways to accomplish the things we are already doing in more effective and efficient ways, so that our limited revenues can stretch further. I think staff in the City do their best work to use the funds they are provided wisely. But when you are working in an area every day, it can be hard to take a step back and think about how things can be improved. An internal performance auditor function can provide another set of eyes on key city processes, projects, and programs to help determine how they can be done better. It can help ensure more continuous improvement of our governmental functions. The auditor is not going to find some unknown pot of gold somewhere, but the city is facing difficult challenges that will require substantial effort and funds to resolve. To address these problems in a fiscally responsible fashion, we will be required to carefully examine how we accomplish our goals and deliver city services, so that we are able to meet existing needs more efficiently and have space to confront the challenges on the horizon.