Local Government Performance Measurement Pilot Project

Survey Results as of July 2014, reported on March 16, 2015

New Survey & Data coming 2017-2018

This report includes the results of a pilot survey administered through a partnership between East-West Gateway Council of Governments (EWG) and the International City/County Management Association, Center for Performance Measurement (ICMA-CPM). ICMA-CPM has collected objective local government performance measures nationally for nearly 20 years. St. Louis was selected by ICMA-CPM to offer a program of comparative performance measurement customized for the local governments in the St. Louis metropolitan region at no charge. This is the first time ICMA-CPM has agreed to this type of collaboration. This pilot project was chaired by the city manager of Clayton, who has served on the ICMA-CPM national advisory board.

Local governments in the St. Louis region, large and small, provide quality services in different ways. Performance measurement helps understand the cost of the services local governments provide as well as the level of results they are achieving for the money spent.

The purpose of this pilot program is to build a simple, reliable, accessible, local database of the key performance statistics in primary areas of local government service. The results allow local governments to report basic measures and compare results to those of peer jurisdictions.

* Important Consideration *
The Local Government Performance Measurement pilot survey results do not provide an evaluation or imply judgment on the appropriate level of service for jurisdictions. There are many factors that influence the comparability of the data and each jurisdiction provides service based on a unique set of needs, circumstances, and priorities. Additionally, the results include responses only from self-selected local governments – those who chose to complete the survey. Therefore, the data (including the mean and median statistics) should not be interpreted as representative of local governments in the St. Louis region.

EWG and Center for Ethics in Public Life will not be making any judgment about the appropriate level of service for your jurisdiction. An evaluation of this nature is more appropriately performed by individual municipalities and local governments.

EWG worked with a team of local subject matter experts, current and former municipal and county staff and academicians to narrow the ICMA-CPM survey questions down to three or four per service delivery area. Data definitions and questions came directly from tools developed and used by ICMA over the past 20 years.

In April 2014 a letter was sent to all units of municipal, county, and fire district governments in the St. Louis eight-county region (city of St. Louis and Franklin, Jefferson, St. Charles and St. Louis counties in Missouri and Madison, Monroe and St. Clair counties in Illinois). The letter contained an explanation of the program and encouraged local officials to fill out the survey via an online tool, Survey Monkey. Local officials were also given the option to complete the survey using a PDF version and then mailing or emailing it to EWG. If the latter method was used, EWG entered the results into the Survey Monkey tool. Local officials were asked to fill out as much of the survey as possible and to participate even if all questions could not be answered.

As of July 2014, 18 local governments in the St. Louis region participated in the pilot program by completing some portion of the survey. Data is based on the 2013 fiscal year. EWG identified two errors in the questions of the survey and several potential errors in the responses to survey questions. EWG staff contacted local governments to try to resolve any errors. When an error was obvious and could not be resolved, it was removed. Errors may still exist.

The survey results are provided in the following two formats:

A. Summary Tables and Charts (Pages 3 to 15): EWG staff generated tables and charts for a sample of the survey questions in order to provide pilot program participants an idea of how the results could be displayed. Many of the measures are based on responses to more than one question (e.g. expenditures per acre of developed parks.) EWG staff determined which responses to include in the tables or charts based on the questions that received the most responses, those for which there was no immediately apparent error in the response or in the survey question, and on how data is reported in ICMA reports. Data that is not applicable or not collected by a particular jurisdiction is left blank in the tables.

B. Database: Survey responses are provided through an online database available at the University of Missouri –St. Louis Center for Ethics in Public Life website at CEPL.UMSL.EDU under “Research”