Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Evaluating TheTown Manager's Goals And Objectives

(for more on this topic see the discussion at Focused On Southbridge)

In Principles of Management by Mason Carpenter, Talya Bauer, and Berrin Erdogan the question is raised “What are goals and objectives?”

The answer of these authors, which is reflective of contemporary managerial thinking, is as follows:

Goals and objectives provide the foundation for measurement. Goals are outcome statements that define what an organization is trying to accomplish, both programmatically and organizationally. Goals are usually a collection of related programs, a reflection of major actions of the organization, and provide rallying points for managers. For example, Wal-Mart might state a financial goal of growing its revenues 20% per year or have a goal of growing the international parts of its empire. Try to think of each goal as a large umbrella with several spokes coming out from the center. The umbrella itself is a goal.

In contrast to goals, objectives are very precise, time-based, measurable actions that support the completion of a goal. Objectives typically must (1) be related directly to the goal; (2) be clear, concise, and understandable; (3) be stated in terms of results; (4) begin with an action verb; (5) specify a date for accomplishment; and (6) be measurable. Apply our umbrella analogy and think of each spoke as an objective. Going back to the Wal-Mart example, and in support of the company’s 20% revenue growth goal, one objective might be to “open 20 new stores in the next six months.” Without specific objectives, the general goal could not be accomplished—just as an umbrella cannot be put up or down without the spokes. Importantly, goals and objectives become less useful when they are unrealistic or ignored. For instance, if your university has set goals and objectives related to class sizes but is unable to ever achieve them, then their effectiveness as a management tool is significantly decreased.

In light of these criteria, consider the goals and objectives for Southbridge’s Town Manager as approved by our Town Council and posted yesterday on the town website.
Southbridge Town Manager – Goals and Objectives
Budget and Facilities
Balanced Budget - Town Manager must work with all department heads and Town Accountant to bring forward a balanced budget to the Town Council. This will allow the town move forward in a fiscally prudent manner.
Facilities Management Plan - Southbridge has no long term plan in place to deal with the towns [sic] current infrastructure. A new plan needs to be developed that looks at current and long term facility needs of the town. This document will provide extremely valuable information to the town to protect our assets.
Energy Savings through efficent  [sic]  lighting for town departments – Work with utility company to develop a program that saves tax dollars and improves energy efficency [sic]   throughout town buildings.
Professional Staff
Hiring of Permanent Police Chief - Interview companies to establish an appropriate testing process for the Police Chiefs exam and select a company to develop an Assessment Center. Insure fairness to all candiates [sic]  and hire a qualified Police Chief who will lead this important public saftey [sic]  department into the future.
Hiring of a Permanent DPW Director – Once the proposed charter change is apporved  [sic] by voters of Southbridge the Town Manager will work to hire a quilified [sic] professional for the position of DPW Director. This is one of the key staff positons and needs to be filled with a quality candidate.
Hiring of town employees in general – The Town Manager will insure that all individuals have an equal opportunity when applying for a position with the town of Southbridge. All hires shall be qualified for the position applied for and should be thoughly [sic] vetted prior to being hired for any town position. The Town Manager shall consider the diveristy [sic] of the community when evaluting [sic] canididates [sic].
Professional Development – The Town Manager whenever possible should provide the opportunity for professional development of employees. The Town Manager should meet regularly with department heads to insure a team environment and do his best to motivate employees to succeed in thier goals and objectives. Managers should be reviewed on an annual basis for performance and opportunity for improvement.
Open and Transparent Government
Communication with Town Council and Citizens - The Town Manager shall keep the Town Council and citizens informed of government activities and promote positive events that are happening throughout Southbridge.
Utilize all sources of media – The Town Manager needs to utilize newpapers[sic], newsletters, the  town website, and social media to increase positive communication with all parties. Every effort should be made to highlight the town in a positive way in order to improve the reputation of the town. This will help to increase property values and attract business to our community.
Positive Relationships with the Southbridge school administration – Given the importance of quality education the Town Manager should work cooperatively with the School Suprintendent [sic] and the School Committee. The Town Council should be keep informed of any issus [sic] that they may need to address as it relates to the school system.
Soutbridge [sic] Bicentenial [sic] Celebration – The 200th anniversary of the town will occur this year. The Town Manager of the town needs to support the efforts of the town to celebrate this special occasion. Coordination of various town departments will be needed to insure the success of numerous events that will be held in honor of this occassion[sic].
Business Community and Economic Development
The town of Southbridge must work with all town businesses to improve their [sic] opportuinty [sic] for successful opporations [sic]  within our community.
Manufacturing – The Town Manager should work with exisiting [sic] manuafacturers [sic] and our new Econmic  [sic]  Develpment  [sic] Director to improve the business climate and to educate companies as to local and state support. Town government while needing to have establshed [sic] rules and regulations must work in a cooperative effort to facilitate the needs of the business community.
Retail – The Town Manager needs to work with existing retailers to improve the business climate in town. Working with the Economic Development Director the town should try to reestablish the Down Town Partnership in order to foster communication among all retailers.
Industrial Park – While it is understood that the current industrial park has various challenges the town must make every effort at preparing that land for future development. The property that is available needs to be defined and lots need to be marketed for potential economic developemnt [sic] opportunities.
Longterm [sic]  Town Developement [sic]
Master Plan - The Town Manager needs to work to implement the Southbridge Master Plan and to work with all citizens to facilitiate [sic]  the completion of the goals and objectives that have been established by the community.
Southbridge Airport – Continue efforts to improve the airport. Work to reopen the airport diner and coordinate activites [sic] with regard to the opening of the new administration building. Develop with DPW Director the plan and implementaiton [sic] of a new sewer line to the airport.
Redevelopement [sic] of the Mary E. Wells Jr. High - Complete Purchase and Sale Agreement with Arch Street Development to redevelop the school into quality rental units for our seniors. Keep the Town Council informed of the progress and work with the developer to help insure the success of the project.
Town Solar Project – The Town Manager will work with all parties to negotiate a Solar Ground Lease with Melink Corporation. The Contract shall offer significant benefits to the Town of Southbridge and increase the supply of green energy to grid. This project is important to the Town of Southbridge and the Town Council will have the opportunity to vote to approve the negotiated contract.
Blight – The Town of Southbridge believes it is in the best interests of the citizens of the Town of Southbridge for their health, safety and wellbeing to control Blighted Properties facing foreclosure or otherwise. We would like the Town Manager to work to resolve blight issues and improve the general appearance of the town.
Building Demolition- There are many old abandoned residential and commercial properties in town that in need of demolition. We would like the Town Manager to continue to work with the Building Commissioner to continue efforts to tear down these properties.
Positive Relationship with Southbridge School District – In order to provide a quality education for all the children of Southbridge the Town Manager must work in cooperation with the School Superintendent. He also should review the school budget and be prepared to make recommendations to the Town Council.

What we have here is a set of vapid and virtually meaningless statements. Exactly where are any measurable criteria against which the manager’s performance can be evaluated?

I’ve noted before that we have yet to have any serious evaluation of the Town Manager.

The situation is hardly improved by evaluation against a meaningless set of criteria. 


  1. Do we know who prepared this document?

    1. Supposedly they were prepared at a Council of the Whole meeting on March 9 which Chairman Carrasco decided did not need to be televised.

  2. I like the phrase " Once the proposed charter change is approved". I think they're putting the cart before the horse.

  3. Tougher than it looks.March 23, 2016 at 7:53 PM

    Both RL & KO are former Councilors. Is it true that Town Councilors have been told in tbe past that if they do not vote a certain way, they can be personally sued ?

    If this is true, voting on certain subhects must be a very difficult choice.

    Is it true?

    1. There are/ have been councilors who are convinced that there's only one way to vote on certain issues. They believe voting the other way is morally, ethically or financially wrong. I've been told that if I didn't vote the "right" way I was opening myself up to a lawsuit. Of course, nothing ever came of those threats.

  4. Council of ExperiencedMarch 23, 2016 at 8:46 PM

    It would be great if there was an informal group of former Council members that would come up with goals and objectives for consideration.

    It could serve as an incredible resource, it would be harder for law firms and managers and businesses to pull the wool over the current Councils eyes,and could make a hard job easier for those Councilors smart enough to benefit from the knowledge base.

  5. What do other towns' "goals documents" look like? Couldn't they have at least plagiarized some other town's version?

  6. I went to focused on Southbridge and read your conversation with counselor Auclair and her boyfriend. You were absolutely right. All she wants to do is talk a big game for the voters but when it comes to actually doing something that will make a difference the weaseling begins.

  7. Oh my goodness! Impressive article dude! Many
    thanks, However I am having difficulties with your RSS.
    I don?t understand why I can't subscribe to it. Is there anybody else getting the same RSS
    issues? Anyone who knows the answer will you kindly respond?


All comments subject to moderation. All commenters must use their own name or a screen name. No comments labelled as "Anonymous" will be published. To use your name or a screen name select "Name/URL" from the drop down menu. Insert you name in the "Name" space and leave the "URL" space blank.