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Self-Assessment: A Process for Improving Your Public Works Department February 27, 2008 Local Government Academy Allegheny County Department of Public.

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Presentation on theme: "Self-Assessment: A Process for Improving Your Public Works Department February 27, 2008 Local Government Academy Allegheny County Department of Public."— Presentation transcript:

1 Self-Assessment: A Process for Improving Your Public Works Department February 27, 2008 Local Government Academy Allegheny County Department of Public Works Dan Onorato Chief Executive Thomas E. Donatelli, P.E. Director

2 Cathy Trexler APWA Accreditation Manager Philip A. LaMay Deputy Director of Administration & Operations Allegheny County Department of Public Works Dan Onorato Chief Executive Thomas E. Donatelli, P.E. Director


4 Session Topics Why Are You Here? What is Self-Assessment? Why Should You Do It? Self-Assessment Process Accredited Agency Results Wrap Up


6 What Is Self-Assessment? Definition: The evaluation of an agency’s existing management practices in comparison to recommended best practices.

7 “…recommended best practices.” A collection of 529 recommended practices developed by public works experts from throughout North America.

8 The Manual... Provides guidance to WHAT should be done – not HOW it should be done

9 Using the Manual Informal Evaluation New Department Organization Self-Assessment Peer Review Agency Accreditation

10 Self-Assessment What does the agency get out of it? What do I get out of it personally? What do the citizens get out of it?


12 Efficiency vs. Effectiveness “Efficiency is doing things right. Effectiveness is doing the right things.” - Peter Drucker

13 Why Should You Do It? Find ways to do more with less Identify strengths and weaknesses –Not about “What are we doing wrong?” rather “What can we do better?” Provide opportunities for improvement

14 “The need for change continues to accelerate. The APWA accreditation process has proven to be the perfect tool for assessing our operations in order to deliver high-quality services in the most efficient and cost-effective manner.” Thomas E. Donatelli, P.E. Public Works Director Allegheny County, PA

15 Why Should You Do It? Involve employees at all levels in continuous improvement Provide community services in the most cost-effective, responsive manner Contribute to the strategic planning process

16 “In these tight economic times, we are using the self- assessment/accreditation process to enhance performance, increase productivity, clarify budget needs, and strengthen employee morale …” H. Reed Fowler, Jr. Director of Public Works Newport News, VA

17 Benefits Promote staff and community pride Enhance department’s image Promote teamwork and staff development

18 Benefits (cont’d) Encourage interdepartmental coordination Improve trust and accountability Identify duplication and wasted effort


20 Before You Get Started Assess the agency’s overall leadership and management abilities –Why are we here? –Where are we going? –Mission, Vision, and Value Statement

21 Mission Statement “We, the employees of the Allegheny County Department of Public Works, are committed to providing the citizens of Allegheny County with world-class infrastructure, maintenance and engineering services delivered in a timely and cost-effective manner.”

22 KEY ELEMENTS FOR SUCCESS Committed leadership all the way to the top Commitment to improvement A high degree of employee involvement An organized system of documentation –Policies –Procedures –Practices

23 Committed Leadership All the Way to the Top Director / City Manager / Council / Commissioners Division Managers Supervisory Staff Team Leaders Organized Labor

24 Commitment to Improvement Willing to accept change Employee empowerment: Ownership of procedures Interdepartmental coordination Create and maintain a safe environment

25 A High Degree of Employee Involvement Everyone participates Employees have a say Employee Involvement = Employee Ownership Employees contribute to continuous improvement and ongoing success Builds teamwork

26 “The achievements of an organization are the results of the combined effort of each individual.” - Vince Lombardi

27 An Organized System of Documentation Files Electronic access Standard operating procedures Software Manuals –Technical –Operations –Policies & Procedures

28 “The secret of all victory lies in the organization of the non- obvious.” - Marcus Aurelius

29 GETTING ORGANIZED The Director’s Role Appoint a program manager Appoint an assistant or teams Develop the plan, timeline and budget Tools available

30 The Director’s Role Lend support to Program Manager Establish agency-wide support Seek support from the chief elected and appointed officials Seek support from organized labor Direct involvement

31 Appoint a Program Manager Understanding of public works Commitment of time Willingness to serve Ability to work well with people on all levels

32 Appoint Assistant or Teams Types of Teams Review (Steering) Functional area Dedicated task group Who’s involved? Front line employees Mid-level managers Managers Other Departments Outside agencies

33 Develop the Plan, Timelines and Budget Workload review Costs Milestones Maintain momentum!!

34 Tools Available The Practices Manual Outside assistance –Peer review –Focus groups (networking) For accreditation applicants –APWA web site (agencies in progress) –APWA accreditation message board –Facilitators


36 Determining Jurisdiction (preliminary stage) Does your agency perform the service? –All? –Some? –Contracting the service? If not your agency, who? Note: First 9 chapters are applicable to all agencies!

37 Preparing the Written Practice Vince’s “Missouri Test”: “Show me” the written practice/ policy/procedure “Show me” proof that you follow it Vince Auriemma Deputy Public Works Director Golden, CO

38 Documenting the Agency’s Practice Practice description complies with Manual’s statement


40 Documenting the Agency’s Practice Practice description addresses key issues from Manual’s description Practice description complies with Manual’s statement


42 Why Document the Practices? Clarifies roles/expectations Aids succession planning Solves arguments/moves forward Identifies duplication of effort Proves to yourself, citizens and elected officials you are providing the most cost-effective, responsive services


44 Compliance Rating Full Compliance (complies without exception) Substantial Compliance (consistently meets provision of the practice) Note: Must meet either full or substantial compliance for accreditation

45 Compliance Rating (cont’d) Partial Compliance (meets some of the provisions) Non-compliance (fails to meet the provisions) Not applicable Waived due to: –Legislation –Labor Agreements –Court Order –Case Law

46 Supporting Documentation (formal) Laws / Ordinances Official Local Policies / Codes / Charters Intergovernmental agreements Union agreements

47 Supporting Documentation Written Policies / Procedures (most desirable) Policies, procedures, rules Interdepartmental memos Letters Computer printouts Photos Job descriptions Forms Budgets Logs Year-end reports Newspaper articles

48 Supporting Documentation (non-written proof) Interviews (name/date) Observation (verifies personally)

49 Present Findings to Elected Officials Formally completes the self- assessment process Keeps them informed Can help support improvements Necessary for accreditation

50 Are We Finished? After five years, look at it with suspicion. After ten years, throw it away and start over.” - Alfred Edward Perlman “After you’ve done a thing the same way for two years, look it over carefully.

51 Where can I get the Manual? Fax / Phone / Online Member discount

52 Become a Member Network – Share Expertise Gain Cutting-Edge Information Enhance Your Expertise Be the Voice of Public Works Promote Professional Excellence Market Your Products and Services Save Time and Expense More info at

53 Self-Assessment Results Allegheny County Department of Public Works

54 Self-Assessment Results Improved Processes Technological and Operational Advancements “Side Effects”

55 Improved Processes: Administration & Operations Mission Statement –Reviewed and revised to ensure public needs/expectations are addressed Communications –In the Works Newsletter / Annual Report / Internet / Intranet Disseminate important news/ information to employees Keep public informed

56 Improved Processes: Administration & Operations Standardized procedures –Pulled the best of the best from divisions, districts and/or parks operations Snow & Ice Reports Heavy Equipment Maintenance

57 Improved Processes: Administration & Operations Centralized Operations –Work Management Center Work order/service request tracking system –Fleet & Equipment Parts Inventory Parts and fluids inventory maintained by First Vehicle Services’ FMIS –Employee Training Records Identify employees with skills/certifications necessary for specialized tasks or emergency response

58 Improved Processes: Administration & Operations Updated practices –Written practices modified Regulatory requirements Non-compulsory best practices –MUTCD, DEP, ASCE, etc.

59 Improved Processes: Administration & Operations Workforce Development –NIMS Certification for first response personnel –Employee skills/development training Provide more training opportunities through EAP, APWA, etc.

60 Improved Processes: Administration & Operations Future Initiatives –Enhanced Soft Skills Training Basic supervision Customer service –Performance evaluation program Enhance work incentives Improve employee recognition

61 Improved Processes: Maintenance Division Roads, Bridges & Parks –Developed work order system for Districts and Parks –Interfaced with Cityworks to manage County assets on GIS –Enhancing pavement management system

62 Improved Processes: Maintenance Division Facilities –Implemented work order system for Trades –Improving preventive maintenance and inspection programs –Developing County-wide facilities management database

63 Improved Processes: Maintenance Division Fleet –Contracted with First Vehicle Services to maintain centralized parts and fluids inventory –Standardized heavy equipment maintenance based on First Vehicle’s practices First Vehicle Services is ISO 9001 certified

64 Improved Processes: Engineering Division Permits –Implemented HOP module in Cityworks to track permits –Developed an online permit manual for permittees Consultant Guidelines –Revising County guidelines to be consistent with new PennDOT guidelines Expedites review and approval process

65 Improved Processes: Engineering Division Contracting Procedures –Revised to reduce costs and improve efficiency Provided electronic access to and distribution of PennDOT publications Revised newspaper notification requirements Implemented electronic distribution of bid packages

66 Technological and Operational Advancements Cityworks –GIS-based asset management system Work order/service request system Preventive maintenance programs Inspection programs Inventory control Resource allocation Highway Occupancy Permits

67 Technological and Operational Advancements Work Management Center –Centralized Call Center –Centralized work order/service request system

68 Technological and Operational Advancements Operations Manuals –Winter Operations Manual Updated and includes GIS maps Serves as departmental EOP for disaster/weather events –Public Works Contracting Manual –Consultant Guidelines

69 Technological and Operational Advancements More Operations Manuals –Permit Manual –Fleet Vehicle Manual APWA Model Practice –Safety Manual APWA Model Practice

70 Technological and Operational Advancements Guidelines –Pennsylvania Green Building Operations and Maintenance Manual (Commonwealth of Pennsylvania) –Turf Landscape Irrigation Best Management Practices (Irrigation Association) –Snowfighter’s Handbook (Salt Institute) –Salt Storage Handbook (Salt Institute) –PennDOT Publications

71 “Side Effects” Promotes staff and community pride Enhances department’s image Encourages interdepartmental coordination Promotes teamwork and staff development

72 Self -Assessment Improved Operation and Management Goal SettingAccreditation Continuous Improvement Needs Assessment Implementation Evaluation Strategic Planning

73 Questions? Dan Onorato Chief Executive Thomas E. Donatelli, P.E. Director

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