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A Building Block to Better Performance: Using Council-Manager Goal-Setting to Support Performance Evaluation


Goal SettingAs managers, we’re used to setting goals. We help our city councils set annual and long-range goals. We ask our department managers to set goals for the budget. We measure the success of our local governments by whether we meet organization-wide goals.

But, like cobblers’ children who go shoeless, many of us do our jobs in the absence of specific goals for our own work. The lack of annual goals for the manager does a disservice to not only to the manager, but to the local government as a whole.

Goal-setting at the manager’s level will reinforce organization-wide goals, while neglecting the exercise for an individual manager hinders the government’s ability to perform at maximum effectiveness.

This resource was authored by Rod Gould and Jan Perkins. Rod Gould had a 35-year career in public management. He served as city manager of Santa Monica, Poway, San Rafael, and Monrovia as well as assistant city manager of Walnut Creek. Jan Perkins had a 30-year career in local government. She served as city manager of Fremont and Morgan Hill, and served the city of Santa Ana as deputy city manager; Grand Rapids, Michigan as deputy city manager; and Adrian, Michigan as community development director/assistant city administrator.