Pioneering External Accountability: Portland, Oregon

David J. Bernstein
In 1999, GASB researchers visited 26 state and local governments to determine the following: 1)the depth and breadth of actual use of SEA performance measures by these governments for budgeting, management, and reporting; 2) the effect of their use; 3) the extent to which governments are ensuring the relevance and reliability of SEA performance measures. Through a comprehensive series of in-depth interviews at each site, the GASB researchers gathered information concerning:1) the reasons they were using SEA performance measures, 2) how SEA performance measures were being used,
3) the degree to which SEA performance measures were being reported to citizens and other users, 4) the effect(s) of SEA performance measures and the reporting thereof, 5) what changes in the use of SEA performance measurement they believe would improve their effectiveness. The GASB researchers developed four standardized interview instruments for program directors and staff, legislators and elected officials, citizens, and the media. They conducted 15 to 20 interviews at each site, and identified several critical roles in managing for results; they tried to interview someone in each of these roles at every site visit. The site visits produced a rich number of useful examples of the use and effects of using SEA performance measures for decision making in budgeting, management, and reporting. The GASB researchers prepared individual case studies for many of the state and local governments they visited which included an overview and a detailed text. This case study on specifically targets Portland in Oregon
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