The city of Louisville’s LouieStat system was created to help keep tabs on how the various departments of Metro Government have measured up to goals set by the city. It is overseen by the Office of Performance Improvement (OPI), which was established — along with LouieStat — in January 2012.
The goal is to shed light on how well Metro Government is performing, and how it can improve. The system has received some national praise, specifically from Harvard University’s Data-Smart City Solutions project.
LouieStat analyzes stats specific to each of the city’s 19 departments, while also applying consistent criterion across all departments. The city calls these criterion Key Performance Indicators, or KPI. There are four “enterprise” KPIs that OPI evaluates for every department in LouieStat: 1) unscheduled overtime, 2) sick time usage, 3) work related illness and injury, and 4) responsiveness to citizen concerns.
To make the system easier to understand the city added icons to mark the status of how each department is doing in each category. A green circle with a check mark means the department has met or exceeded the stated goal, a yellow triangle means it’s almost at its goal, and a red octagon means the goal has not been met. If there’s not enough information to make a goal there is a “To Be Determined” icon
“LouieStat has already made progress in helping save taxpayer dollars,” the city writes on the LouieStat site. “Metro Corrections, for example, has been able to better manage overtime and in recent months and has had lower overtime costs than any time during the last six years.”
This may be true, but there still is some ways to go before all city departments are close to meeting their set goals. To the city’s credit, LouieStat does make the process of monitoring government more transparent and easy-to-understand.
Here, in backwards order, are the five departments that so far have failed the most at meeting their goals.
5. Office of Management & Budget: The OMB doesn’t have a long column of things it does, but so far it’s not doing what few jobs it has all that well. Its main LouieStat measure and purpose is “Invoices Not Paid within 30 Days,” which is pretty self-explanatory. It’s goal for April 2013 through March 2014 was 7,730 such invoices, but it had a backlog of 10,181, enough to earn a red light. As they say, OMB, you had one job. OMB also had 14,085 hours not worked year-over-year–meaning hours its employees were not on the job–while the goal was 6,837. On the relatively OK side, its employees with high sick leave consumption stood at 40, close to the goal of 37.
4. Youth Detention Services: Not good — out of eight total categories they received a red light for five, one yellow, one green, and one category didn’t have enough information for a determination. Here are some failings: Youth detention is an overtime sink, with a goal of $508,320 in OT, but $641,913 spent from May 2013 through May 2014. It also had 12,883 hours not worked, when the goal was 6,856. They had 61 physical altercations, which earned a TBD designation. On the bright side they had 94 “alternative to detention program violations,” under the goal of 100.
3. Metro Corrections: Corrections had five red lights out of nine categories, three categories simply had no goals at all, and they earned one green circle. Overtime clocked in at $1.6 million, way above the goal of $736,848; there were also 55,407 overtime hours paid, versus the goal of 23,576. At the same time even as overtime accrued there were 74,592 hours not worked, when the goal was 40,962, and 6,066 hours lost to work-related illness and injury, versus a goal of 3,744.
Most of the Metro Corrections-specific ratings didn’t have enough data to actually compute a goal, other than inmate grievances, of which there were 1,430, while the goal was 804, earning them another red icon.
The one green circle was for employees with high sick leave consumption, which was 141, versus the goal of 160.
2. Public Works and Assets: Out of nine categories, Public Works earned seven red lights, one yellow and one green. Overtime, again, was a big problem, as the department spent $2.73 million versus the goal of $1.44 million, for the period of March 2013 through March 2014. What’s worse, the department has only met its monthly goal in this area twice, ever.
On a related note, overtime hours paid clocked in at 82,846, while the goal was 45,475.
The department earned its lone green circle for “sidewalk repair backlog,” where it has a current level of 26,154 feet, while the goal was 27,584. Awesome job guys!
“I don’t think anyone would agree that’s a good picture,” said Harold Adams, spokesman for Public Works, when I asked him about the department’s LouieStat failings.
He said the past year presented some very specific problems in regards to overtime, for example, as there was so much snow. But he also said there were problems with how the department set up overtime, noting that, for example, the department only had two “roll off operators,” meaning people allowed to empty Dumpsters. These people then logged in huge overtime. Since then the city has reclassified this job so 18 people are qualified to do it. This was necessary because the two roll off operators logged so much overtime it equaled their salaries.
Adams said it was a similar situation in solid-waste management. Again, there were two supervisors in this department who each earned the rough equivalent of their salaries due to overtime during the time measured by LouieStat, about $54,000. Since then these two have been promoted to managers, which came with a $6,000 annual raise, but they no longer qualify for overtime. The changes were enacted in late June of this year.
1. Emergency Management Agency: One of this agency’s stated goals is to “provide the citizens and visitors of Louisville Metro an effective, proactive approach to disaster management.” The first disaster it should attend to is itself. It failed in every single category for which it was measured, the only department in the LouieStat system to do so.
How did it fail? So many ways. Overtime? Of course! It logged $1.1 million when its goal was $723,000, measured from March 2013 through March 2014. Also, on this note, it has only met its monthly goal in this category one time, September 2012.
Hours not worked? It had 18,679, when its goal was 8,469, more than double.
It fared no better with its department-specific KPIs. It had a goal of 31 calls for service for Louisville Metro Police Department Priority 1 calls, but logged 68.
What does this mean? It’s supposed to measure the number of important calls that were not dispatched from 911 Dispatch to an LMPD unit within at least 105 seconds. The goal is 10 percent or less, but they’re not even close. Fire Department and EMS calls are also not on target, with EMS far from meeting its goal.
This could be a real problem as EMS itself exceeded its goal for 30 minute or fewer turnaround times to the hospital, many, many times over.
As they say in recovery, the first step is admitting you have a problem.