Wednesday, November 28, 2007

A telling sign

Dismissal with disdain. About the same response as anyone with a dissenting opinion in Windsor generally receives. Instead of dismissing the report, the Mayor and Council should be embracing it. It's an objective report by a respected institute interested in advancing the public policy debate in Canada.

At the very least I hope the Mayor and City Treasurer take some time to read the report. They might actually see lines like this:
The ultimate objective of the LGPI (Local Government Performance Index) initiative is economic improvement. By opening up discussion and productive debate around the following three issues, an improvement process for local government will be fostered over the next several annual editions of the LGPI.

The issues are:
• Accounting standards and disclosure issues.
• Financial management practice and asset (activity) management.
• Municipal government culture: a product of the Eighties
This is the first in an annual series focusing on local government. It's an opportunity for Windsor to begin benchmarking ourselves against other municipalities in the country who are, for economic development purposes, our competition. If we can't begin to look at ourselves with a critical eye, we can't expect companies to be lining up to do business here. Our local officials may dismiss this report out of hand, but rest assured, companies who are doing their due diligence are not.

The authors acknowledge the difficulties in assessing municipalities across the country. This report is not meant to be a "who is in first and who is last" ranking.
The aim is not to rank cities but to explore strengths and weaknesses of different municipalities facing different challenges, based on hard financial and statistical data.
Maybe if we told the Mayor that this was a high-priced consultants report, he might be more interested in reading it. All the money in the world spent on "branding" and "selling" Windsor won't amount to anything if we don't begin focusing on the basic principles of municipal management.