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Posted at 2:23 PM ET, 03/ 3/2011

Did Gray give Baker CapStat's last hurrah?

By Mike DeBonis

Prince George's County Executive Rushern Baker visited the John A. Wilson Building this morning -- D.C.'s city hall -- to visit with his fellow new leader, Mayor Vincent C. Gray. Afterward, Baker tweeted Gray a thank-you: "Appreciate DC Mayor Gray showing me CapStat and the DC 311 center."

Baker is in the process of creating a "CountyStat" apparatus for Prince George's, based on the data-driven management models pioneered by William Bratton for New York City police and Martin O'Malley in the Baltimore city government, and later adopted by Mayor Adrian Fenty in the District.

But "CapStat," as Fenty called his accountability regime, might not be long for Gray's government -- under that name, at least.

Gray's city administrator, Allen Y. Lew, said in an interview last month that he's looking to establish "more of a management relationship rather than dealing with every nook and cranny."

CapStat under Fenty was a fairly rigid process of goal-setting and goal-meeting and goal-revising, whose centerpiece were high-pressure meetings gathering top agency officials, the city administrator and staff, and, at least early on, Fenty himself. Early meetings, in fact, were videotaped and put on the Internet before Attorney General Peter Nickles put a stop to it.

Lew said that method is no more.

"We do have meetings similar to that, but we're certainly not calling it that," Lew said. "We're going to have metrics, measurement goals, where we have to fit, what we have to fit, things like that."

The term "CapStat" appears to have been scrubbed from the OCA web site.

The demise of CapStat accompanies a broader change in how the government is being run. Fenty's first city administrator, Dan Tangherlini, introduced a rigorous management model that fused the structure seen in the federal Office of Management and Budget (where he had once worked) with the data-driven focus of Bratton and O'Malley. A corps of "analysts" reporting to Tangherlini (who is now the chief financial and management officer for the U.S. Treasury Department) worked regularly with the agency or agencies they covered, digging to reap performance efficiencies that turf-conscious agencies might not be able or willing to identify themselves.

That structure is now all but gone. Where the city administrator once had unified responsibility for budget preparation and performance management -- under the theory that the two go hand in hand -- Lew's office no longer has direct say over budgeting. Gray's budget chief, Eric Goulet, instead reports to Chief of Staff Gerri Mason Hall, and many of the staff positions that once belonged to the CA now belong to Goulet.

The new accountability process, Lew said, is "similar [to CapStat] but it's not the the same process."

"I deal directly with the cabinet members and their staffs," he said. "And then our staffs deal with the various layers of folks that are overseeing these various groups."

By Mike DeBonis  | March 3, 2011; 2:23 PM ET
Categories:  Adrian Fenty, Martin O'Malley, Natwar Gandhi, Prince George's County, Rushern Baker, The District, Vincent Gray  
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Comments

What exactly is the "new accountability process?"

Posted by: AmericanWade | March 3, 2011 2:47 PM | Report abuse

Lew: "I deal directly with the cabinet members and their staffs," he said. "And then our staffs deal with the various layers of folks that are overseeing these various groups." Whaaaaaa?

This reminds me of this scene from Office Space: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JUipWNw0new

Why can't we just say "Gov't fail" and move on? It's all about proving that Fenty's results oriented government was too "new fangled" and the old way is just fine and dandy thank you. That's why we are putting the walls back up in the bull pen.

What a crock of insecurity.

Posted by: _concernedaboutdc | March 3, 2011 3:00 PM | Report abuse

Allen Lew is a fantastic project manager. One of the best in the business. However, I am getting the sense that he really isn't in to dealing with the intricate details of city government. It is interesting that he isn't handeling the city's budget when he is intrusted with the responsibility of managing the city. Hall has no experience in this area.

I am trying to get over my buyers remorse of the current Administration, thus far. I don't regret Fenty not being in office, but I see some of his worst attributes being replicated in this administration. Will I always have to revert back to the Williams Administration to find competency in local government?

Posted by: concernedaboutdc | March 4, 2011 8:11 AM | Report abuse

Allen Lew is a fantastic project manager. One of the best in the business. However, I am getting the sense that he really isn't in to dealing with the intricate details of city government. It is interesting that he isn't handeling the city's budget when he is intrusted with the responsibility of managing the city. Hall has no experience in this area.

I am trying to get over my buyers remorse of the current Administration, thus far. I don't regret Fenty not being in office, but I see some of his worst attributes being replicated in this administration. Will I always have to revert back to the Williams Administration to find competency in local government?

Posted by: concernedaboutdc | March 4, 2011 8:13 AM | Report abuse

I like Allen Lew. I think he's a great project manager. I don't think he'll be a good City Administrator. Especially since Geri Mason Hall is the de-facto City Administrator.

And exactly what does the City Administrator's office do now? Policy? No. Budget? No. All that's left is performance planning. Do we really need a CA's office for that???

Posted by: max1970 | March 4, 2011 4:39 PM | Report abuse

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