Surely you have heard the old Chinese saying: “Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.”
The principle of establishing self-reliance, what this proverb is about, could serve us in Volusia County.
How much of your taxpayer dollars are being spent in merely handing out a ‘fish’? How many government agencies are really concerned about the person?
One test is to simply look at the measurements used for success in a program. Sadly, most of the time, it’s services rendered, appointments made, medical visits given. These are ok, but don’t reflect the results we all want: How many people were able to stand on their own because of the programs offered?
Measuring this way isn’t a new concept.
A National Imperative: Joining Forces to Strengthen Human Services in America is a report commissioned by the Alliance for Strong Families and Communities and the American Public Human Services Association (APHSA). It calls for the same concept as a matter of compassion:
“Funding should be targeted to outcomes and results rather than outputs or services delivered."
What does ‘outcomes’ mean? Very simply, it means the people served made progress towards the goal.
Think of this way: If you wanted to help someone lose weight, measuring how many times you took them to the gym doesn’t say anything about how much weight was lost. You might have taken them 50, 80, or even 100 times. But if the goal is weight loss, you should be measuring THAT outcome.
How is this working in Volusia County?
Just ask to see the annual reports from those organizations, especially government, that get to spend your hard earned tax money.
A simple example of NOT working is West Volusia Hospital Authority. Their website clearly shows “…62,663 units of service were delivered…”. Sounds a lot like counting gym visits, right? (NOTE: Of course, this is the same group that spent taxpayer money to get a marketing company to help them find more people so they could ask for more money from the taxpayers open purse…) Oftentimes it seems the chief purpose of a bureaucracy is to protect it's own life.
There needs to be more compassion shown for those using government services as well as the Volusia taxpayers paying for them. Let’s help recipients of public funds get healthy so they can work, take care of their family, enjoy life, and get off public assistance. Let’s start measuring success that helps both the person and the taxpayers who fund it!
Is there really a way to do that? Yes. Stay tuned...
Helping Volusia County Voters rediscover “government of the People, by the People, and for the People!”