In 2015, the Chief Executive Office worked to create a nimble, flexible and transparent governance structure to rapidly confront the county’s most critical needs. This new model, embraced by the Board of Supervisors, has allowed us to dismantle barriers to effective and efficient government.
Among other things, we laid the groundwork for several major Board initiatives that have transformed county services in key areas. They include: the integration of our three health agencies, the launch of the Office of Child Protection and the creation of a far-reaching initiative to combat the region’s growing homelessness.
These groundbreaking efforts—undertaken with the help of short-term, multi-disciplinary teams—brought together departments throughout the county with one overriding mission: to better serve our residents, many of whom rely heavily on our safety-net services.
The 2015-2016 budget that our office successfully submitted for Board approval further reflected this heightened emphasis on targeting our most urgent issues for rapid action. Substantial funding and positions were directed at helping to bring reforms to the Sheriff’s Department, raising staffing levels in the child welfare system and providing funding for the county’s homelessness efforts.
To help ensure the success of these efforts, the Chief Executive Office focused internally on key operational improvements. We eliminated, for example, our office’s Deputy CEO structure, which has resulted in new efficiencies, greater effectiveness and more accountability.
In addition, last year we launched the Open Data Website as a model of government transparency, initiated a plan to fund retiree health benefits and coordinated efforts for phased-in increases to minimum and living wages. We also secured a ratings outlook upgrade from ‘Stable’ to ‘Positive’ from two of the nation’s largest credit rating agencies.
Over the years, the county has earned a national reputation of being a careful steward of public funds. That strong foundation allowed us to weather the Great Recession without layoffs or service cuts. Throughout 2016 and in the years ahead, the job of the Chief Executive Office will be to continue that reputation and keep our foundation strong.