Performance accountability for election administrators

There’s a new report out from the IBM Center for the Business of Government: Shelley H. Metzenbaum’s “Performance Accountability: The Five Building Blocks and Six Essential Practices.” The IBM Center for the Business of Government also has provided a nice pdf briefing summary of the report.

Metzenbaum outlines six key practices that can help improve performance and strengthen accountability:

  • Emphasize outcome-oriented goals and develop specific targets — and communicate them to the public.
  • Master the use of measurements to show progress towards the targets and goals.
  • Deliver feedback to help those in the organization reach the targets and goals.
  • Develop and maintain means within the origanization for interative inquiry.
  • Develop action plans based on the best available information and thinking.
  • Implement the action plans, and insure that there are adequate feedback mechanisms going back into the future development of new goals, targets, measurement and planning.

Management of public organizations in an environment that requires rapid and quantitative public accountability is difficult, especially so in the political and contentious situation that many election administrators find themselves in. Furthermore, election management requires a high degree of public transparency and openness, which can be difficult to maintain. Metzenbaum’s report might help election administrators develop more effective means of insuring a high degree of public accountability.