Improving County Government

One of the things that has worked to erode trust in government has been the failure of government to understand its own powers and do its job, and to do its job well. I believe that we are a point where, with leadership, the employment of new information technologies and a redoubled resolve to improve Arlington County Government, we will see enhanced citizen participation, improved efficiency, and a better sense of the future we want for the County.

I believe County government must see itself as a learning organization, one that is not afraid to recognize error and pursue constant improvement. Arlington County must have an understanding up front about who might be impacted by a proposal and seek those folks out, instead of waiting for them to notice that a conversation is occurring, or a plan is moving forward.

As a County Board Member, I will work hard to:

  • Foster improved governance: Arlington County must view customer service as a continuing improvement effort between government and citizens. Responsiveness to questions and concerns from Arlington’s diverse mix of citizens must be the touchstone.
    • The County must modernize, and regularly use new management and information techniques, such as crowd sourcing, to gather and disseminate information. The County must not be afraid to engage in real dialogue with its citizens, and give them enough time to engage, understand and react to issues. The County must be proactive, and reach out to the community. It must not be reactive and passive.
  • Improve civic engagement: Civic engagement must be an on-going, interactive transaction between residents, businesses and government, because it is this interaction that defines our vision and plans. Robust civic engagement under effective County leadership brings Arlington’s diverse citizens together.
  • Ensure that residents and businesses can reliably get straightforward, consistent, accountable accurate customer service answers from the organization--every day, regardless of who you are. New information and management technologies are available here to help make this happen. In this regard, I have a number of concrete proposals. I would:
    • Insist that every county government service delivery area track and regularly report key customer service metrics, and provide for clear points of contact for parks, planning, transportation, environmental services, and public safety. We must ensure that service areas are responsive, timely, and helpful.
    • Ensure that key participating constituencies-- civic associations, the Civic Federation, nearby neighbors and interested citizens, and staff-- are debriefed with respect to public processes in a timely fashion.
    • Build new relationships with multi-family buildings--condos and rentals--to ensure that timely information is getting to citizens living there.
    • Make sure that neighborhoods receive coordinated messages about construction activities in their area, regardless of whether it's housing, a road, a park, a recreation center or a school.