| No great progress was
ever achieved simply by denigrating the best efforts of others.
Contentious issues remain in virtually every facet of the D.C.'s management and governance. NARPAC, Inc. has grouped these into the same major categories used for the D.C.'s budget presentations, which allows a relatively simple attribution of government funding and personnel levels. Following the advent of the appointed DC Control Board, major reports were prepared by independent consultants outlining the primary problems in each agency, and offering recommended solutions. Each is summarized in its appropriate section. Less well publicized, but equally important, virtually every city agency is receiving federal direct financial and technical assistance. Each area below is discussed in several subsections, and linked to the relevant daily newspaper headlines:
o The City's Management by its former mayor and city administrator were taken away gradually over the past three years and placed in the hands of the Control Board and its chosen executive agent--a "Chief Management Officer"". Despite a year of serious efforts, serious issues remain in personnel management, information technology, and consumer affairs. With the election of a new Mayor, and the related resignation of the CMO, most city management functions are being returned to the newly elected officials. Some promising solutions are beginning to emerge in several areas such as personnel policy and the Office of the Inspector General;
o Major problems in Safety and Justice reflect in the police department, fire and rescue, and the corrections system--which is being returned to federal control. The endemic problems in the police department are of the greatest concern to DC's citizenry. Consultants' reports sponsored by the Control Board detail the problems, and reports from the Federal DC Task Force illustrate the extent to which various federal law enforcement agencies are helping the District;
o Equally substantial problems have pervaded DC's Public Education System, including both the public schools and city-supported higher education. In a period of less than 30 years, the public school system has dropped from one of the nation's finest to one of its worst. Early attempts to fix it have fallen far short of the expectations of the city's "hyperactivists". Changes in the Emergency Trustees and the appointed School Board still occupy daily local headlines. The lengthy School System Reports, pointing up the problems, are contained in a separate section;
o Human Services , including DC's Department of Health, its publicly-supported hospitals and welfare benefits administration, have all been found wanting, and much remains to be done to turn these programs around--although progress in some areas can now be quantified;
o The city's Public Works Department had failed in most of its highly visible tasks such as street repair and snow removal, but it is now showing signs of a major turnaround--with federal help. DC's Public Housing Authority had been branded by federal authorities as the "second worst in the country", and placed in the hands of a court-appointed receiver. This professional is doing a spectacular job in rejuvenating these seriously "blighted areas"--which clearly impact on their neighborhoods and their struggling schools.
o Considerable progress is now being made in City Finances and "Other" Fiscal Areas because it was the principle focus of the Control Board, and of the appointment of an independent Chief Financial Officer -- who has now become Mayor, in a truly unusual fully democratic election. Balanced budgets have been achieved in the near-term, hugely inflated personnel rolls are being cut back, albeit slowly, but problems remain in contracting and asset management.
This page was updated on Dec. 7, 2000
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