Most local governments resist setting and evaluating performance goals. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to their credit requires local governments that receive HUD funds to submit a Consolidated Annual Performance and Evaluation Report (CAPER). The CAPER explains how a local government is carrying out its housing and community development strategies, projects, and activities.

The City of Buffalo has rightfully received a lot of criticism from HUD and the media about its poor management of HUD funds, but the County of Erie’s Performance and Evaluation Report for 2011 is pretty bad.

In 2011, Erie County spent $4.8 million in Community Development Block Grant/HOME/ESG Program HUD funds. The performance evaluation reportsubmitted by County officials for 2011 activities contains the following goals and dismal performance numbers:

Improve sewer and water service to targeted low-income neighborhoods.

– 35% of the expected annual output was reached in 2011

Provide low interest housing loans to 90 eligible property owners.

– 11% of the annual goal was reached in 2011

Rehabilitate rental units in target neighborhoods by providing low interest loans to minority households.

– 17% of the goal was reached in 2011

Provide a mechanism for handicapped individuals to improve their mobility within residential units.

– 0% of the goal was reached in in 2011

Provide first time home buyer assistance to minority households.

– 20% of the goal was reached for minority households in 2011

Provide financial resources to Community Housing Development Organizations and non-profit groups that seek to develop rental
housing for the low-income population.

– 0% of the goal was reached in 2011

There is nothing inherently wrong with setting goals and failing. The first step to accomplishing anything is to set a goal. The sad thing is that more than likely no discussion will take place at a County Legislature meeting to understand why these numbers are so poor and what steps can be taken to improve them. Tracking performance is an important first step, what happens after performance numbers are reported is even more important. 

About The Author

The definition of reinvent is:to replace with an entirely new version, to make over completely, to recast something familiar or old into a different form.In my opinion we need to reinvent government, business and ourselves. Today’s world is about constant change driven by the power of new ideas.For the past 17 years as an attorney, I have worked in government at the county, city, authority and school district level in the Buffalo, NY area. I have seen first hand the need for reinventing how government operates. For a period of four years, I served as Chief of Staff to the 9 member City of Buffalo Common Council. Government must engage the talents and skills of its citizens by becoming more collaborative and transparent in its decision-making and operations. Utilizing technology as a tool to engage citizens is something all governments need to explore.I have great respect for entrepreneurs as they put their passion into a vision, which results in new products, new services and new jobs. Entrepreneurs are on the front lines of change. As an adjunct college instructor, I see how students and everyone for that matter must continually change and reinvent themselves to survive and be successful in today’s crazy world economy.Some of my favorite change agent writers are Tom Peters, Seth Godin, Gary Hamel and Guy Kawasaki. I welcome the opportunity to meet new people, to further my own learning and to share ideas.On a personal note I am 47 years old, my other half Cheryl is an attorney in private practice and together we have three children, Michael age 20 and Joseph age 14 and our newest shock of an addition Julia, born 11/2/11.