It’s a big goal, but it’s one we’ve made significant progress toward achieving: We want Milwaukee County to be a model government that employs the best ideas, the best practices and the best employees.
A lot of what that entails is looking at the way we manage our resources and deliver our services. One of our successes has been in working to right-size county government. Since County Executive Abele took office, the County has shed over 1 million square feet in owned real estate that was no longer needed. We’ve realigned divisions, looked at department performance and aimed to make decisions based on what’s best for the County and its people.
Many of our departments are meeting the challenge and finding creative, innovative ways to operate. From our great parks beer gardens to creating our Office of Emergency Management, we’ve brought new ideas to the table.
We believe the people of Milwaukee County are the best. And we’re working to be the best in serving you.
Creating a Culture of Excellence
County Executive Chris Abele has instituted a formal Performance Management program, for which the County has adopted the nationally-recognized Baldrige Excellence Framework. Designed to spread performance improvements organization-wide, Baldrige brings together leaders from traditionally siloed departments to evaluate how the County broadly is carrying out its mission and vision, and what we can do to improve.
County leaders see the value of using data to inform decisions and manage performance. Following the Baldrige strategy, departments set and report on transformational goals that aim to adopt best practices, address deficits, or develop innovative approaches to improve service delivery. The County has leveraged this platform to increase its outreach efforts to Veterans, reduce countywide energy use, ensure needed child support payments for families in high-need zip codes, and boast an internationally ranked Fleet Management division.
Baldrige efforts undertaken by Milwaukee County’s Department of Administrative Services and the Department of Health and Human Services have already been recognized by the Wisconsin Center for Performance Excellence, and their experience has laid the groundwork for the organization to approach continuous quality improvement as One County.
A Balancing Act
Over the past few years, Milwaukee County leaders have faced some difficult budget decisions. Many efficiencies have been found, and tough cuts have been made. But fundamentally, we don’t control our own destiny when it comes to balancing our budget. Going into 2019, we’re at a turning point: We face a $23.5 million budget gap, and more cuts are going to start fundamentally affecting how – and how well – we can deliver services.
Milwaukee County provides programs that give a helping hand to many of the most vulnerable in our community, and we also offer services that improve everyone’s quality of life, from the airport to the zoo. Whether you live, play or work in Milwaukee County, you’re impacted by what we do – and by our budget challenges.
That’s why we want you to be part of this process. Use our Balancing Act tool to learn more about how the County budget works and to show us your priorities. Then sign up to keep receiving info on how you can help make sure our budget is healthy, balanced and fair.
Balance the Budget