This weekend I pointed out that the McHenry County Board has a shift of property taxes from business to homeowners in the 2016 Action Plan to be voted on Tuesday.
In addition, important questions about the future of the County Jail are on the docket. Below is found in “Section V. Criminal Justice”
II. Identify Measures for Jail Cost Control
Goal: Maintain Corrections staffing levels to match inmate population, review inmate services provided and refine contract bid specifications to reflect only essential operational needs and services.
Measurement: Monthly reports and updates to Law & Justice Committee.
Measurement: Maintain an inmate carrying cost of $95 /day or less.
III. New Jail agreement/relationship with Federal Government County and Sheriff to continue negotiations with Federal Government for a jail utilization agreement.
Goal: Negotiate a new agreement with US Marshalls and ICE to house Federal inmates.
Measurement 1: Conclude negotiations by August 2016.
Measurement 2: Monthly reports and updates to Law & Justice Committee
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The Federal government started trying to measure the performance of agencies when I was a Budget Examiner in the United States Budget Bureau way back in 1965 for the FY66 Budget. (The budget agency’s name was later changed to the Office of Management and Budget.)
I remember the initials of the program were “PPBS.” We joked that the initials stood for “Piss Poor Budget System.” I remember one of the “P’s” stood for “Performance.”
Suffice is to say that devising meaningful performance measures is difficult.
Federal agencies wanted to substitute evidence of process for performance measures, e.g., reports, rather than actual evidence of what had been accomplished.
Above you can see one performance measure that is verifiable:
Maintain an inmate carrying cost of $95 /day or less
Although, it seems to me, that a footnote ought to define the word “cost.” Does that include the cost of maintaining the building, total employee cost, including the pension tail, etc.?
The goal with regard to negotiating a new contract with Federal agencies for renting jail space, however, is not meaningful from my point of view.
Were I on the County Board I would want a goal that would require any contract to keep us from subsidizing the Federal government’s housing of inmates and detainees in the County Jail. And, my definition would include all costs.