Government and Services
We seem to experience three prevailing schools of thought within our local government. Some people think government should do things for people. Some seem to think government should do things to people. Others believe instead that little or no government should exist. We propose a fourth, alternative approach: Government should work with people.
Our county employees are hardworking and dedicated. Unfortunately, the county’s unwieldy department structure keeps their best ideas from finding a way into county policy.
Taxpayers find working with Calaveras County government to be difficult and frustrating. Residents believe that county agencies and processes are not “user friendly.” County residents do not believe they have a meaningful role in shaping county services. Many feel county government is unresponsive to community needs.
Our Calaveras County government should be:
- Steadfast in representing residents’ interests
- Responsive to local needs
- Facilitative, collaborative, and creative
To improve the level of service delivery and increase residents’ confidence in local government, the county should:
- Listen to and work with the people who provide and receive services before making policy and budget decisions.
- Continue to expand the services available at the newly established community service centers. This initiative started in District 2 and has been a widely acclaimed success, winning statewide recognition.
- Create a more inclusive county budget process that solicits input from line staff, citizens, and department heads alike.
- Explicitly acknowledge the reciprocal relationship between taxpayers and government. Recognize taxpayers as valued “customers” and treat them accordingly.
- Increase communication and coordination among county departments. Speak with one voice to the public to avoid confusion and unnecessary conflict.
- Evaluate the current structure of county government and adjust it as needed to increase efficiency and improve service quality. Build teamwork across departmental lines.
- Foster an environment where government is quality driven and quality service is rewarded. Adopt a continuous improvement approach: establish clear objectives and measurable benchmarks to provide accountability and opportunities for program improvement.
- Use the knowledge, experience, and goodwill of county employees to improve county operations and services.
- Act as a catalyst for community cooperation and collaboration. Support existing and successful community service organizations.
- Continue to aggressively seek state and federal grant funding for county services and programs.
- Develop ways to facilitate communication with citizens about cost-benefit tradeoffs when making service changes at the county level.