Laying it all out on the table, Prince George's County is holding nothing back as it tries to improve government services with a different approach.
County Executive Rushern Baker says it’s an effort to make government as transparent as possible.
Under the Countystat program, government operations will be analyzed so the entire community knows what works, and what needs improvement. A team of county staff members will meet regularly to discuss matters of urgency.
The model isn't new - it's an adaptation of similar programs in use in Baltimore City and the state of Maryland. They all call for collaboration among various departments and constant follow-up.
Keeping in line with the theme of transparency, the public will be allowed to be a part of this process. Residents will get a chance to attend most of the sessions, and they can also provide feedback online.
“It comes at a good time, particularly for senior citizens, people over 60,” says Upper Marlboro resident Aressa Williams. “We have more time to attend meetings, and by everything being out in the open, it might help us out.”
The program took six months of development, and during that time it put some pressing issues to the test, including 911 response times.
“We came up with a phone tree to deal with those non-emergency numbers,” says Barry Stanton, Deputy Chief Administrative Officer for Public Safety.
Addressing the problem helped reduce the call volume plus the response time down to 10 seconds.
“It's not just about the time, it's about efficiency, and using resources,” Baker says.
The next topic for review will be foreclosures - that session is set for April 6th.