Browsing the archives for the government tag.


Tampa gets quality right

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I live in Tampa, Florida. It’s beautiful here.

A 2012 estimate shows the Tampa Bay area population to have 4,310,524 people and a 2017 projection of 4,536,854 people. This doesn’t make ensuring quality easy, but overall I can say both Hillsborough County and the City of Tampa are doing a great job.  Paul Borawski is asking why this month?

1) Mission

The county’s mission focuses on quality and is consistent.  As quality professionals, we know this is where it starts.

The mission of Hillsborough County government is to provide effective quality service at a reasonable cost with courtesy, integrity and accountability in a manner that protects and enhances the quality of life of our diverse population.

The mayor of Tampa, Bob Buckhorn, continues to focus on “quality of life” in his State of the City and other communications and has succeeded with many initiatives, for example the Tampa Walk-Bike Plan among others.

2) Sustainability

In 2008, Tampa was ranked as the 5th best outdoor city by Forbes.

In 2012, Clean City removed over 1,237 tons of litter and debris including 14,131 snipe signs from major thoroughfares and residential corridors. In addition, 2,800 volunteers completed 91 clean-up projects and collected over 2.22 tons of litter and recyclables as part of the Annual Clean City Day.

In 2012, Tampa ranked in the Top 25 U.S. Cities with the Most ENERGY STAR Buildings.

Recently, the Traffic Signal Section completed the conversion of incandescent bulbs to LED for both traffic signals and pedestrian crossing signals. The conversion is saving the City more than 70% on the electric cost per year by converting the 65W incandescent bulbs to 15W LEDs.

St. Petersburg has gone all out with their efforts as well, and you can see it taking shape.

St. Petersburg is the first city in the state to receive the Green Building Coalition’s Green City designation, and has been recognized for energy conservation, recycling, water conservation, fuel efficiency, landscaping and preservation of open spaces, and other environmental programs.

3) Transparency & Accessibility 

If anything, people in Tampa can’t say there’s limited information available to them about what’s going on in their local government.  You wouldn’t have to look much farther than either the county or city websites for most things.

Hillsborough County

City of Tampa

The city is conveniently accessible via social media as well and actually posts consistent, useful information.  And, of course, City of Tampa Television (CTTV) is pretty cool.

If that’s not enough, as I was digging through their websites, I was impressed to see that the 2011 Quality Control Review Audit Report included praise to the government staff for their use of Risk Analysis!

Of course, continuous improvement is key and I’d likely have an earful to tell my local officials if they were standing right here.  But, I’d also add that I think they’re doing a great job.  Of course, community involvement and support is key.

I’ve travelled all over the world and must say Tampa makes a great home.

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The 800lb gorilla – government accountability

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The latest View from the Q post brings up the 800lb gorilla in the room.  Paul Borawski wants to know why citizens expect and demand so little accountability for the poor use of resources in government? I do too.

Let’s face it, everyone has an opinion regarding government these days.  But, the difference is that we go to sleep at night with a sense of complacency.  Whether it’s a mass case of learned helpless or that we’re just too lazy to really do anything about it, overall accountability and general quality is indeed a laughing (crying) matter.  If public were private, we would be asking for a bailout about right now, which is optimistic in the face of insolvency.

The issue itself is overwhelming, but I have to believe there are small things each of us can do to affect the future of policy.  Little things…

1) Learn – As citizens, we need to spend time knowing and understanding what’s going on around us.  The government needs someone to be accountable to and “we” are it.

2) Vote – Many of us drag ourselves to the polls every four years, but we fail to get involved in the more local and smaller elections.  We should consider it our civic responsibility to make sure the right people land in public positions.  We’re counting on these people to be the champions of quality and the leaders of our nation, even on the smallest scale.

3) Talk – We shouldn’t shy away from talking about relevant issues.  The more we talk, the more awareness there is.  The more awareness there is, the more action.  The more action, the more results.  Results = Quality = 🙂

It’s because of the reasons Paul points out about government’s influence on our lives, economic security and our children’s future that we should demand government set an example. It’s not too late for us… Imagine this news headline:

“Government agency conducts root cause analysis and discovers inefficiencies.  Corrective action efforts have proven successful, with key indicators now meeting expectations.”

In his post, Paul reaches out for stories of success in the public sector.  Unfortunately, I’m at a loss trying to come up with one.  I’m sure there are isolated examples throughout the system, but it’s sad they are the exception and not the rule.  Who can I call in the government to talk about benchmarking and best practices?

“Where does an 800-pound gorilla sleep?

Anywhere it wants to.”

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