SHARON PRATT DIXON: A New Mayor For The District Of Columbia

sharon1SHARON PRATT DIXON: 

A New Mayor For The District Of Columbia

by Michael Frazier 

Sharon Pratt Dixon, a graduate of Howard University’s Department of Political Science and the School of Law, won a landslide victory with an unprecedented 86 percent of the vote against former police chief and Republican candidate, Maurice T. Turner on Tuesday, November 8, 1990. She became the first woman and the third mayor of the District of Columbia.

Throughout both the democratic primary and general election campaigns Dixon ran as a reformist candidate. She promised to “clean house” by firing 2,000 managers, trimming the “bloated” D.C. bureaucracy, and eliminating waste and inefficiency, while at the same time, holding the line on taxes. In her inaugural address on January 3, 1991, she spoke about “the strength that abides in Washington, D.C. cultural heritage and moral values that were part of the community where she was reared, disciplined and loved.”

In spite of many problems facing her new administration Dixon expressed optimism: “To all the
naysayers, we must say, ‘Yes we will!’ She contends naysayers are famous antiquated and obsolete technological for outlining problems as if there were no solutions . . . as if problems (i.e.
fiscal, health, drugs, etc.) were preordained and that we would all drown in a sea of insurmountable concerns.”!
She sent out a message calling for unity for a city, rich in tradition with its many hues and cultures, to work.

If Mayor Dixon is going to be successful in fulfilling the campaign promises previously stated, her stress on “cleaning house” has to promote a new managerial ethos throughout the bureaucracy, one which:

Tie Spending to Results
How can the Dixon Administration maximize scarce resources to be
more efficient in the future? How can

ducts its business. As a consequence, it has not been politically popular for the past ten years to talk about anything  that was adverse to the bargaining managers be effective in periods of unit employees. Therefore, Osborne is dwindling resources (i.e. tax base, fed- correct when he pointed out that poli- eral payment, etc.)? One way to ad- ticians often care more about voter

dress this dilemma is to change the management philosophy of the De- partment of Finance and Revenue. That is, the so-called ”bloated D.C. bureaucracy” is being driven by an

and interest group perceptions than about performance of public agencies and public managers are sometimes pressured to sh ow favoritism to certain groups.

support system requiring labor-inten-
sive resources. Consequently, the op-
erations system does not achieve the
anticipated savings in resources and
efficiency as an automated operation.
Jerome Person, an information man-
agement specialist who has provided
consultative services for a number of
D.C. agencies, asserts that, “Until the
D.C.government can normalize its data
sothat agencies caninteract with each
other their overall operations will
continue to be inefficient.” He recom-
mends that, if you can enhance the
technological support systems, you
decrease the number of persons who well as among the many communities

together to solve the many problems facing the city and to give the people of D.C.the honest deal they deserve and expect. This is the message ofthe Dixon Administration: ”Yes we will.”

Fully funded by ticket sales,
Dixon’s black-tie inaugural ball in
Union Station was a high-spirited
grand affair for the more than 6,000
people in attendance. The next day,
January 4, 1991, reality set in-how to
address the many pressing problems
of the District of Columbia? In this
regard, David Osborne, a student of
successful innovation in government,
highlights ”Ten Ways to Turn D.C. capital acquisition in the form of tant Professor in the Department of Around” and how Mayor Dixon can
really make the District of Columbia
work.2

AllofOsborne’s recommendations are excellent, but due to space limita- tions the remainder of this essay will focus only on one of his ideas: ”Tie Spending to Results.” The District’s financial problems provide an empiri- cal example to illustrate the value of Osborne’s assertions.

 

 

 

MunicipalFinance: vationintermsofhowthecitycon-

GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS

In spite of many problems facing
her new administration Dixon ex-
pressed optimism: “To all the
naysayers, we must say, ‘Yes we will!’
She contends naysayers are famous antiquated and obsolete technological for outlining problems as ifthere were
no solutions . . . as if problems (i.e.
fiscal, health, drugs, etc.) were preor-
dained and that we would all drown in
a sea of insurmountable concerns.”!
She sent out a message calling for
unity for a city, rich in tradition with
its many hues and cultures, to work

If Mayor Dixon is going to be suc- cessful in fulfilling the campaign promises previously stated, her stress on “cleaning house” has to promote a new managerial ethos throughout the bureaucracy, one which:

Tie Spending to Results
How can the Dixon Administra-

ducts its business. As a consequence, it has not been politically popular for the past ten years to talk about anything

tion maximize scarce resources to be
more efficient in the future? How can that was adverse to the bargaining managers be effective in periods of unit employees. Therefore, Osborne is dwindling resources (i.e. tax base, fed- correct when he pointed out that poli- eral payment, etc.)? One way to ad- ticians often care more about voter

dress this dilemma is to change the management philosophy of the De- partment of Finance and Revenue. That is, the so-called ”bloated D.C. bureaucracy” is being driven by an

and interest group perceptions than about performance of public agencies and public managers are sometimes pressured to sh ow favoritism to certain groups.

support system requiring labor-inten-
sive resources. Consequently, the op-
erations system does not achieve the
anticipated savings in resources and
efficiency as an automated operation.
Jerome Person, an information man-
agement specialist who has provided
consultative services for a number of
D.C. agencies, asserts that, “Until the
D.C.government can normalize its data
sothat agencies caninteract with each
other their overall operations will
continue to be inefficient.” He recom-
mends that, if you can enhance the
technological support systems, you
decrease the number of persons who well as among the many communities

together to solve the many problems facing the city and to give the people of D.C.the honest deal they deserve and expect. This is the message ofthe Dixon Administration: ”Yes we will.”

Fully funded by ticket sales,
Dixon’s black-tie inaugural ball in
Union Station was a high-spirited
grand affair for the more than 6,000
people in attendance. The next day,
January 4, 1991, reality set in-how to
address the many pressing problems
of the District of Columbia? In this
regard, David Osborne, a student of
successful innovation in government,
highlights ”Ten Ways to Turn D.C. capital acquisition in the form of tant Professor in the Department of Around” and how Mayor Dixon can
really make the District of Columbia
work.2

AllofOsborne’s recommendations are excellent, but due to space limita- tions the remainder of this essay will focus only on one of his ideas: ”Tie Spending to Results.” The District’s financial problems provide an empiri- cal example to illustrate the value of Osborne’s assertions.

means to secure the desired resources, it should consciously seek a maximi- zation of results from existing ones.

Endnotes
1Washington Post, January 3, 1991, A6,

are performing the same task.” The initial technological investment in a large infrastructure is quickly amor- tized and pays for itself as a result of lower, continuing personnel costs (i.e. benefits, promotions, cost of living adjustments, step increases, etc.). A

which make the District of Columbia a most attractive city. In this regard, the resources ofthe Department of Politi- cal Science at Howard University are available to assist the Dixon Adminis- tration in anyway we can .•

technological equipment is a non-re- Political Science, Howard University. curring outlay. If the city lacks the

(a) seeks cutting edge operations methodologies,

(b) remains alert to ways of en- hancing effectiveness and efficiency in agency operations,

(c)rewards peopIeforperformance rather than their loyalty or mere pres- ence, and

(d)keeps open lines ofcommunica- tion throughout the government as

“Mayor Sharon Pratt Dixon Inaugural Address,” For the past several years, for ex- District Building 1991.

ample, the management of the De- partmentofFinanceandRevenuehave
not been very creative and innovative. It has been a status quo type of opera- tion with very little cutting edge inno-

2’Ten Ways to Turn D.C. Around” in The Washington Post Magazine, December 9, 1990, pp.19-43.

3Jerome Person, Thomas Technical Ser- vices, A Minority D.C. Firm, (301) 937-0184.

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