Photo courtesy: City of El Paso

El Paso Named as a High-Performing City in Inaugural ‘Equipt To Innovate’ Survey

The City of El Paso is named a top-ranking city by Governing and Living Cities through the first-ever national Equipt to Innovate survey.

Equipt to Innovate is a new initiative launched by Living Cities and Governing. It is an integrated, collaborative framework of seven essential elements that define high-performance government and empower innovation. It is also an invitation for cities to work together, learn from each other and help drive better outcomes for their communities.

“In recent years, our City has undergone a dramatic transformation in the way we do business, deliver services and manage our finances. This recognition as a Top Ranking City is a testament to that. We, as an organization in collaboration with all our partners, have reestablished El Paso as a government leader,” Mayor Oscar Leeser said.

The seven Equipt elements are: Dynamically Planned; Broadly Partnered; Resident-Involved; Race-Informed; Smartly Resourced; Employee-Engaged; and Data-Driven. Cities from across the country participated in the inaugural 2016 Equipt survey, assessing their capacity and competence in these seven key areas.

El Paso was named the Top Ranking City in the Smartly Resourced category.

The Strategic Plan for El Paso centers on a vision that “El Paso will have safe and beautiful neighborhoods, a vibrant regional economy and exceptional recreational, cultural and educational opportunities.”

“High-performing organizations have strategic plans with power in their visions. Our commitment to support a high quality of life for our residents, businesses and visitors changed the way we approach our day-to-day operations. Today, thanks to that Vision and our performance-based budgeting, we have become more strategic and prudent with deploying our resources allowing us to improve our performance and better serve our community,” City Manager Tommy Gonzalez said.

By implementing the City Council’s vision through the adopted strategic plan, every department is interconnected through Goal Teams. Key deliverables are identified and aligned with the budget process to ensure priorities are established and measured with accountability.

The City was able to showcase this approach to management planning that has produced high yield community results, including:

  • $11.3M replenishment of fund balance
  • Refinanced City debt saving $16.9M
  • Leveraging an estimated $50M in state incentives
  • Unprecedented economic growth and investment
  • Implementing the net 30 staffing growth plan for the Police Department
  • Developing and implementing the Aquatics Plan, delivering eight spray parks throughout the city
  • Overhauling the Animal Services Department
  • Completing performance excellence initiatives leading to savings and efficiencies

The top-ranking city in each category – along with the top 10 overall high-performing cities – have been highlighted today at the 2017 Summit on Government Performance & Innovation, an annual gathering of 250+ innovators, public sector change-agents, disrupters and civic entrepreneurs from around the country interested in making government work better for local communities.

“The Equipt framework gives us a way to look at cities in a multidimensional way,” says Mark Funkhouser, publisher of Governing. “Cities that perform well across the seven elements are able to adapt to and even anticipate the next challenge.”

“People are increasingly looking to local government for solutions that address the nation’s biggest challenges,” says Steven Bosacker, Principalfor Public Sector and Partnerships at Living Cities. “By submitting to a rigorous examination of their competencies in these seven areas, city leaders across the country are proving how dedicated they are to establishing high-performing administrations that respond to the needs of their communities.”

For a comprehensive overview of the survey findings and a discussion of how cities fared across the categories, download the report “Becoming a High-Performing City: A Benchmark Study”

Governing covers politics, policy and management for state and local government leaders. Recognized as the most credible and authoritative voice in its field, Governing provides non-partisan news, insight and analysis on budget and finance; transportation and infrastructure; workforce and economic development; health and human services and more.

Governing is a division of e.Republic, the nation’s only media and research company focused exclusively on state and local government and education.

Living Cities harnesses the collective power of 18 of the world’s largest foundations and financial institutions to develop and scale new approaches for creating opportunities for low-income people and improving the cities where they live. Its investments, research, networks, and convenings catalyze fresh thinking and combine support for innovative, local approaches with real-time sharing of learning to accelerate adoption in more places.

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