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Home > Leadership > Mayor > CitiStat Buffalo > Archive CitiStat Buffalo In The News > 2006 Archives > Brown Gets CitiStat Rolling

Brown Gets CitiStat Rolling

Management tool is only as good as people who implement findings, but it's welcome.

Copyright 2006 The Buffalo News
Buffalo News (New York)

There is no telling yet how useful a computer monitoring program will prove to be in Buffalo, but two things are certain: Its implementation means Mayor Byron W. Brown kept his promise, and it has the potential to significantly improve the delivery of city services and perhaps even lower their costs. Who could complain?

Brown campaigned for office as a career public servant so steeped in the ways of accountability and efficiency that he could make Buffalo a better-run place. A key part of his plan was employing CitiStat, a computerized accountability system that tracks service delivery, identifies weaknesses and allows committed managers to demand improvement.

By all accounts, the program has greatly benefited Baltimore, but as hard-nosed a town as it may be, it's not Buffalo, a place where even the evaporation of jobs and population cannot persuade the entrenched interests to modify their behavior. Stubbornness and self-interest remain key components of the city's public character.

Then again, the Soviet Union fell, George W. Bush admitted mistakes and Madonna embraced Jewish mysticism. So anything can happen. We see no reason Buffalo cannot become a more efficient place, assuming CitiStat is fully implemented and that labor contracts and management lapses do not undermine the city's ability to fix problems the system identifies.

Some observers believe new efficiencies will be the most likely benefit of the program, but perhaps not significant savings. We certainly hope money can be saved, but even a more smoothly running city would have its benefits. Anything the makes the city a better place to live and work will redound to its benefit.

CitiStat is a work in progress -- and barely that, at this point. But in a city that has made a religion of getting in its own way, it is well worth putting to the test. And it's good to see the mayor making good on one of his signature initiatives.