Performance Management Conference

By:  Deval Patrick
Date: March 20, 2013
Location: Boston, MA

Thank you, Ira, for that warm welcome and for hosting us today. I also want to thank Secretary Shor and his team at ANF for leading this important work across state government.

I realize I am disrupting your breakout sessions, but I wanted to come by and thank you all for all you do to make government better.

Last year, as you know, I signed an Executive Order to establish a framework for strategic planning and performance management in state government.

It required each Secretariat to develop a two-year plan that lists tasks we want to complete, and what is necessary to achieve the outcomes we expect.

And critically, it required that those plans be made public -- so that the people we serve are able to hold us accountable for results.

Alongside strategic plans, it also required us to present the budget in a way that showed people not just how much we proposed to spend, but what that spending was meant to achieve.

A year later, I am happy to report that we achieved these important milestones. Each Secretariat has published a strategic plan and my recent budget proposal, through the launch of the MassResults program, was presented in a new program-based format -- all of which is available online, and intended to show the public where their government is driving to go and how we are trying to get there. These are critical benchmarks to enable us and the public as well to evaluate our progress over time, to adjust, and to make "doing better" a part of the culture of state government.

This is always worthy work. It is even more important right now.

As you know, we are asking our citizens to pay a little more and to grow a lot more jobs and create a Commonwealth that is a lot stronger now, and for the next generation. That, I am convinced, is what comes from investments in a first-rate education and transportation system. Business leaders, economists, policy makers and regular moms and dads agree. And though the conversation about taxes is never easy, the time is at hand to have it if we want faster and more broad-based growth.

That's why MassResults and initiatives like it are so critically important right now. We must be able to show that people are getting the government that they deserve, including the most out of the taxes they pay already. That's why it was the right thing to do, however painful, to close loopholes and extend the retirement age in the public pension; to ask public employees to shoulder a larger share of their health care costs; to replace police details with civilian flaggers; to simplify the transportation bureaucracy and shut down the Turnpike Authority; to systematically comb through and discard or update old regulations; to cut full time headcount by 6,000 positions; and so much more. These reforms will save the Commonwealth billions of dollars. We have others awaiting action by the Legislature. In each case, the fiscal reality demands it. Our citizens deserve it.

Reform alone will never be enough to fund the transportation and education systems a leading-edge economy like ours needs. Indeed, the call for continuous reform and the call for new revenue are not mutually exclusive. But the daily business of better managing the people's business is about rebuilding people's faith in their government. In every large organization, public or private, there are going to be mistakes and mis-steps. And it frustrates me as much as it does you to see how those outliers are held up to discredit the good work overwhelmingly done day in and day out by everybody else in state government. But as the ethic of constant self-improvement and accountability becomes ingrained in our work, the public's confidence in state government will slowly but surely be restored.

Remember: "government" is not some abstract entity out there. It's us, you and me and every other citizen. It ought to reflect the best of what and who we are, and to help people help themselves.

So, in service of those values and that mission, we are going to keep trying new things and new approaches. If something's not working, let's fix it. If something's no longer vital, let's end it. This is about seizing greater efficiencies, driving better outcomes, and more accountability - and engaging the public as we do.

I have no intention of letting up and neither should you. If we work together, and we continue to keep our sights set on results, we will bear our generational responsibility and leave behind a better Commonwealth than we found.