Accountability and transparency took center stage on Monday, as local leaders in Napa County came together to collaborate on ways to fix the way the state is run.
At the dialogue co-hosted by Napa County and California Forward, the group included all five members of the Napa County Board of Supervisors; representatives from Napa, American Canyon, Yountville, the 7th Assembly District, LAFCO of Napa County; and several local businesses.
On accountability, Napa County department head Steve Lederer stated what was on the minds of many in the room: “Though meaningful performance measures can be very difficult to create and monitor, programs should have performance measures, and we need to do a better job of communicating these to the public.”
Nicole Lundeen, a Napa County affordable housing analyst, echoed Lederer stressing that “although Napa County currently uses performance measures as part of its annual budgeting process, it’s important that [they] really mean something to the public.”
Yountville Town Manager, Steve Rogers, offered a common-sense solution: “Our system has too many players, too many agencies, and it’s very unclear who is responsible. At the end of the day, most people simply check out of the process. We need to figure out what agency or who is responsible for what, and then hold them accountable.”
In the discussion on transparency, several participants stressed the need for local government to engage more with the Hispanic community and their younger constituents.
“Representation of the Hispanic population is lacking in the County,” said Napa City Manager Mike Parness. “They’re a very significant portion of the community.”
“The information is out there, but not many young people are going to want to read a whole public report,” said Tamie Frasier, Napa County’s treasuer-tax collector. “But if we distill it down to a small size or 140 words on Twitter, we can communicate better to the younger generation.”
The dialogue provided a rich discussion in the effort to help move California Forward.