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Thursday, December 18, 2008

If it matters, measure it: Poor reporting could be hiding poor performance in Canada’s municipal governments

If it matters, measure it. This is the mantra of policy wonks, CFOs, managers, accountants and all those geeks who make a living enhancing the performance of...well, everything. But if you want to measure the performance of Canadian municipalities, you’ll confront a mess of varied reporting standards for even the most basic financial information, and this has David Seymour and Larry Mitchell concerned.

In "Rating Canada’s municipal governments,"Seymour and Mitchell with the Frontier Centre for Public Policy write:

Financial statements are the lifeblood of good governance. Unfortunately, poor financial reporting is the norm for Canadian municipalities, made worse by the fact that there is no consistent standard for comparing one municipality to the next.

It is easy to assess the performance of the federal and provincial governments: unfortunately our municipalities, the neglected cousin of the body politic, easily escape our attention and their impact on our daily lives.

Read the rest here.

Posted by Matthew Johnston

Posted by westernstandard on December 18, 2008 in Municipal Politics | Permalink


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I don't know if its worth while creating statistics on the performance of municipal governments. I've been told that 58.3% of all statistics are made up on the spot and that 85.9% percent of the rest can be made to look any way you want them to 73.1% of the time.

Posted by: JC | 2008-12-18 7:41:57 AM

What's more, improving financial reporting would be a measure that conservative-minded mayors who face left-dominated councils might ACTUALLY be able to get passed a council vote. Then they might not face the voters' wrath after their pie-in-the-sky conservative proposals get shot down in flames at vote time. After all, it's the mayors who pay at election time for councils' stupidity. The councillors get re-elected regardless.

Posted by: Anonymous | 2008-12-19 1:06:55 PM

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