On any given day City Hall bustles with people going about their business; picking up a recycling bin or a birth certificate, paying a parking ticket and attending meetings. For a rainy spring Friday, yesterday morning was especially busy .
The morning started off early with a Legislative Coffee Hour hosted by the City Manager’s Task Force on Domestic Violence at 7:30 am in the Mayor’s Reception Room. Invited speakers included members of the Legislative Delegation, Superintendent of Police Kenneth Lavallee and the LPD Statistical Analysis Unit. Over 60 people attended to discuss current bills regarding housing rights for domestic violence assault, stalking and sexual assault, restraining orders and employment leave. Of particular interest was a statistical analysis of the incidence of domestic violence in the City of Lowell presented by the Lowell Police Department.
The Mayor’s Reception Room has no sooner cleared of attendees to the breakfast when it was time to set up for the next meeting, a working session by the MassStat Initiative. MassStat is a network of city governments in New England that are using data, measures, and goals strategically to improve city management through a CitiStat program or other performance management approach. The MassStat initiative is administered by the Edward J. Collins Center for Public Management which facilitates Mass Stat with logistical support provided by the Rappaport Institute for Greater Boston and the Pioneer Research Institute for Public Policy.
The group meets on a regular basis to study, discuss and compare the use of the data and performance measurement tools in different areas of municipal government. Coincidentally, given the excellent presentation provided by the LPD earlier, the meetings focus was on police data. The LPD currently employs a form of citistat to track not only crime but also internal operations.
Participants included Somerville Mayor Joe Curtatone. Somerville has pioneered the use of municipal performance measurement in this part of the country with its Somerstat program. Over the last several months the City of Lowell has been working with Pioneer Institute to study ways the administration can expand performance measurement and data collection beyond the police department. The strategic use of such programs are proving tremendously useful towards making the most of dwindling resources in a fiscally difficult times.
At the same time, City Hall lobby filled with children from the Lowell Community Charter School to celebrate Cambodian New Year and to raise the Khmer Flag. The rain couldn’t dampen their enthusiasm as they sang, played traditional instruments, and danced. Mayor Caulfield and Councilor Rita Mercier joined in the celebration by leading the Vong Rom circle dance around the lobby. The flag raising kicks off a series of events over the next few weeks to celebrate the New Year.
Just another morning at City Hall…