Governor Deval L. Patrick
Performance Management Conference – As Prepared for Delivery
UMass Boston
Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Good afternoon.  Thank you, President Caret, for the warm introduction and for your leadership.  I’d like to thank UMass Boston Chancellor Motley and the Collins Center for hosting us today.  Mr. President, you have a strong team.

I am delighted that you have all come together today, and every day, on how better to deliver public services.  It’s great to be joined by Dr. Shelley Metzenbaum from OMB in the White House as well as State Auditor Suzanne Bump and Senate President Murray later today.  Secretary Jay Gonzalez, Assistant Secretary Matt Gorzkowicz and the brilliant team at ANF.  And all of the cabinet.  I want you all to appreciate that you are making a difference.   

Thanks to you and your collective efforts, we are leading the nation out of the recession.  Today our students lead the nation in overall achievement and the world in math and science.  We lead the nation in health care coverage with over 98 percent of our residents insured.  We moved from 47th in the nation in job creation in 2006 to 5th in the nation in the last two years and our state’s economy is growing faster than the national growth rate.  We lead the nation in energy efficiency and in veterans’ services.  And our strong record of fiscal management has earned us the highest bond rating in our state’s history.

Because we are focused on making government perform better, we have made the kinds of meaningful reforms in the pension system, in municipal health benefits, in our schools, in our transportation bureaucracy and so much more that had eluded our predecessors for a long, long time.

As some of you may know, I've spent most of my professional life in the private sector and done business all over the world.  One thing I learned in the private sector is that you don’t get anywhere by sitting back and hoping that everything works out.  You need to have a vision, set goals, meet deadlines, and then take stock periodically and honestly to see if what you set out to do is working.  My grandmother would say that in even plainer terms: “hope for the best,” she’d say, “and work for it.” 

That way of thinking and acting is critical in the public sector – where we have more to do and less with which to do it.  Asking government to articulate what success looks like, then to set goals to measure success, and be accountable for results is something that every citizen should expect.  So that’s what we are doing.  And it’s working.

I’m really proud of what we’ve accomplished thus far.  But we need to scale it up.  The fiscal reality demands it.  Our citizens deserve it.

That’s why last year we established the Office of Commonwealth Performance, Accountability and Transparency.  Its charge is to execute nation-leading strategies for improving performance and transparency in state government.  CPAT has enabled us to leverage our experience in coordinating Recovery Act funds and the ways we manage other public expenditures.  In addition, just a few months ago we launched the state’s Open Checkbook website to bring greater engagement and transparency to state government.   And we made permanent the Lt.  Governor’s Task Force on fraud, waste and abuse in collaboration with the Auditor and Attorney General.  All very impressive work and all very important.

Beyond the daily business of better managing the people’s business, we have to be about rebuilding people’s faith in their government.  There are going to be mistakes and mis-steps in every large organization, public or private.  And I know it frustrates you as much as it does me to see how those outliers are held up to discredit the good work overwhelmingly done day in and day out by the good people who work in state government.  But the fact is that after years of Big Dig governing and Probation scandals and Chelsea Housing Authority shenanigans, the public’s confidence in state government must be regained.  Because the work is worthy.

Government is about helping people help themselves.  And to do that, we need to focus on the strategies that allow people to do just that.

It’s about determining the best way to create jobs to get people back to work.

It’s about improving the skills of our workforce and strengthening the relationship between our community colleges and the workplace.

It’s about closing the achievement gap in our schools so that every child can reach their full potential.

It’s about bringing down the cost of health care so it no longer squeezes out the chance for working families and small businesses to do anything else.

It’s about reducing recidivism and increasing opportunity so that people coming out of jail can have a fair chance to rebuild their lives.

And it’s about bringing the solutions to all of these needs out of abstract policies and bureaucratic silos and into people’s lives. 

We are going to keep trying new things and new approaches to old problems.  If something’s not working, we will fix it.  I’m not afraid to be wrong.  It’s being wrong and doing nothing about it that scares me.

Earlier today, I signed an Executive Order directing each secretariat to create its own Office of Performance Management.  It’s task will be to assure that each program has a clear mission, has appropriate and measurable goals, and has in place performance measures to assess success against those goals.  To do so, I have proposed $500,000 in the FY2013 budget to enable CPAT to continue to drive progress throughout state government.  I want to see greater efficiencies, enhanced public engagement, positive outcomes, and more accountability. 

We have a great deal more to do this year and throughout this term.  I have no intention of letting up and neither should you.  If we work together, and we continue to keep our sights set on results, we will bear our generational responsibility and leave behind a better Commonwealth than we found.

Thank you.