The Link Between Performance and Budgeting

October 25, 2018 7:35 am PST | Public Finance

The relationship between performance and budgeting is shifting in the government sector.

What matters most are the outcomes.

Kimberly Olivares is the Chief Performance Officer at the City of Austin.

Kimberly Olivares, the Chief Performance Officer at the City of Austin Office of Performance Management, shared her perspective on performance-based budgeting in a thought leader series called The Future of Connected Government.

In the interview, Olivares outlined how public servants in Austin are shifting the conversation around outcomes and segment performance data to make sure city budgets are equitable and understood.

“People don’t care about spending on utilities versus Parks and Recreation, they just want to get their kid to soccer practice,” she says.

Olivares’ public service career started 18 years ago, starting as a Congressional intern before working for the City of Austin s a management analyst in the Budget Office. As CPO, she facilitated the development and adoption of the city’s first strategic plan since the early 2000s, which initiated a new mindset for how the public sector serves Austin.

She addresses low public engagement, not only during budgeting processes, but in city government in general. Across the U.S., only 7 percent of Americans have attended a city council meeting, and only 3 percent have attended in the past year.

Olivares suggests governments can increase  engagement and participation by putting the budget into format that the public can easily understand that relate to outcomes the public that the public can visualize.

“As we look at the budget and as we talk to council, we can phrase things better by putting it into language related to outcomes, such as, ‘Here is how much you are investing in safety,’ ‘Here is how much you are investing in lifelong learning,’ etc.,” she says.

It’s these outcomes, and how the City of Austin uses them, that make up our True North Star as a service organization, Olivares says.

“People are not just clocking in and clocking out,” she says. “They are coming to work every day to serve the community and make a difference in people’s lives.”

Read more of the interview with Kimberly Olivares, Chief Performance Officer at the City of Austin Office of Performance Management, and other thought leaders in The Future of Connected Government.


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