Origination and History of Balanced Measures Approach:Phoenix, AZ

Charlie Bennett
The City of Phoenix began developing and implementing performance measures in 1990. The effort was, and still is, coordinated through the City Auditor office. Phoenix interest in performance measurement at the time was in part fueled by their interest in total quality management practices and the Government Accounting Standards Board (GASB) Service Efforts and Accomplishment (SEA) program. In 1990 five departments began the process of defining and reporting on a set of performance measures. Each subsequent year an additional five departments followed suite, until by 1995 all 25 city departments were in some way implementing performance measurement. Despite having been engaged at some level in performance measurement for almost ten years, one official described their efforts as still essentially in the "toddler" phase. Many of the outcome measures are still focused on activities, and there is much to learn and improve upon to make their measurement effort a more systematic, useful component of their decision making and resource allocations.
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