What Gets Measured Tends to Improve
by
Commissioner Tommy Adkisson
January 8, 2007

One of the great challenges for all of us but especially for government is measuring activity for progress or the lack thereof. And although most measurements are quantitative in nature or that which reflect numerical parameters, qualitative measures that measure nonquantifiable information cannot be minimized. The heat of a meal can be measured, but the taste of a meal is either present or not based on our sense of relative good or bad.

So it is that I believe that the things we do in government in Bexar County should be reflected and discussed as to their relative reflection of progress, regress or neither. In the area of energy for instance, the relative savings from implementation of conservation or renewable forms of energy should be charted regularly.

Energy

For starters in the area of energy, how much electricity is used in each of the County's buildings over time? How much energy is used in all of our buildings together annually? How much in buildings' energy savings is realized, by year? How many gallons of ethanol at our station on I-35 & BAMC are being pumped monthly?

Health

What expenditures are made by the University Health System (our county's hospital system) in diabetes treatment, annually? What is spent on HIV/AIDS treatment annually?

Jail Population

How many people are in the Bexar County Jail? Of those in the Jail, how many are first time, nonviolent offenders with jobs at the time of arrest? How many of them should be in work release each month? How many that are not able to gain or keep employment should be out in the community cleaning up cemeteries or picking up trash on the roadside in our community?

Transportation

How many auto miles are traveled in Bexar County annually over the last ten years? How many public transit miles are traveled annually on VIA over the last ten years? How many employers are members of the Transportation Initiative whereby their employees are able to ride free on VIA, thereby alleviating traffic congestion and air pollution?

When I was in school I used to think about how nice it was to know all the right answers. As I walk down the path of life, I believe that often the critical challenge is to know all the right questions. If there are questions you believe we should be asking, ask away! I await your response!

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