Monday, November 24th, 2014

Buck-O-Meter

Establish accountability standards for infrastructure upkeep and repair


"As mayor, Bob Buckhorn will establish Accountability Standards for each of the city’s departments and their functions, from filling potholes to clearing storm water ditches. The city will know what the city’s pressing problems are and how long it should take to fix them. The mayor and city employees will stand accountable to city residents if the timetables established for resolving these issues are not complied with. As a first step in this process, Bob Buckhorn will complete a full city-wide Infrastructure Assessment to identify our neighborhoods’ needs and begin to address them."


Updates

Zero progress on standardized infrastructure measures

It was a promise to empower residents and neighborhoods. During his campaign for mayor, Bob Buckhorn said he would establish "accountability standards” for each city department and its missions, from filling potholes to clearing drainage ditches.


The first step, he said in a written campaign platform, would be to complete a citywide assessment to identify and begin to address neighborhood needs.


Consequently, the plan said, not only would City Hall know its most pressing needs, but residents could hold the mayor and city employees accountable if they fell behind timetables that had been established to address those needs.


But as Buckhorn approached the halfway point of his four-year term, he acknowledged that there has been nothing accomplished on this promise: There is no initial assessment of city needs. No timetables have been established. There are no standards that residents can look to to hold city employees accountable.


In an interview with PolitiFact Florida on Feb. 26, 2013, Buckhorn said city departments already do something similar anyway, "but I don't know that we've compiled a massive list” of infrastructure needs.


"Each department knows what their outstanding obligations are,” he said.


Buckhorn went on to say that, contrary to his campaign promise, the idea was "not as much for the neighborhoods as it is for us internally and how we look at our budgeting and where we deploy our resources.” That way, he said, if the city has to cut funding, officials know the best places to cut. If the city gets additional revenues, it knows where to put the money to work.


Buckhorn said he still would like to follow through on this promise, but "I've got to figure out how to do it.”


Candidate Bob Buckhorn promised to create a comprehensive inventory of infrastructure needs that residents could use to hold city officials accountable. When asked about it recently, he said the idea was more to benefit city departments, which already know their responsibilities. That stands in direct contradiction to the original promise, which was about giving residents more information to hold city officials, including the mayor, accountable. And he acknowledged that nothing has been done on this promise in any case. To be useful, accountability standards would have to be created early enough in Buckhorn's term so that residents could track progress over time. That hasn't happened, and there is no identified plan to make it happen. We will revisit this issue if the city makes progress on it. As it stands, we rate this Promise Broken.

Sources:

Interviews with Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, Feb. 26, 2013 and March 20, 2013

Standardized infrastructure measures yet to be developed

Bob Buckhorn said he would take a more systematic approach to infrastructure, creating accountability standards so the public could gauge the city's progress.

But as yet, there are no published standards. Buckhorn said in an interview with PolitiFact Florida that while he still likes the idea, the city hasn't taken steps to implement standards.

"I still would like to do it, but we've just had so much else on our plate to get done,” he said. He said that even without standards, city departments have a good handle on which projects needed to be prioritized.

Because of a lack of action on this promise, we rate it Stalled.

Sources:

Interview with Mayor Bob Buckhorn, Feb. 28, 2012