Counting on Statz
January 31, 2011 9:05 AM
On Friday, my office said goodbye to a valuable member of my staff, Andrew Statz. Andrew was the city's first Fiscal Efficiency Auditor, a new position I created a few years ago to help us keep an eye on the bottom line.
Andrew's work was so well regarded that he took a similar job with even more responsibility at the school district.
So, what is a Fiscal Efficiency Auditor? Well, if you Google it, you'll find only one. It's a unique position to Madison, though I suspect many other cities have similar functions under different names. The idea was to have a position dedicated to evaluating the efficiency of city functions and being able to do deep fiscal analysis on particularly important public policy issues. What I had in mind was a function similar to the revered Legislative Fiscal Bureau at the state.
And the promise of the position has been exceeded. In his first year on the job, Andrew discovered that some state buildings had not been accounted for under the state's Payment for Municipal Services program, resulting in over $180,000 of additional payments for the city. Earlier this year Andrew conducted a staffing study for Madison City Channel and thanks to his work, we've saved about $140,000 while maintaining service levels.
Andrew's most dramatic work came in 2005, shortly after he started, when I asked him to analyze the proposed restructuring of the Overture debt. His analysis showed that if the investments stumbled in just one of the first three years the plan would collapse. It's his work that convinced me to oppose that risky gamble, but unfortunately the City Council at that time went along with it, and Statz's analysis proved right on. That's exactly what happened in 2008. The resolution of the debt that a different Council passed in December was made necessary because not enough people listened to Andrew Statz in 2005.
Probably the most lasting work Andrew did was to establish new data-based management tools like Madison Measures, our Customer Satisfaction Survey, Neighborhood Indicators and The Natural Step environmental management system. Thanks to these tools we're working smarter and more efficiently, saving taxpayers' money and reducing pollution.
We'll miss Andrew around these parts, but we're glad he's bringing his expertise to the aid of our schools, and we look forward to finding someone with similar skills to keep this valuable city position saving money for our taxpayers.