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 The Collins Center Report          

Note from Departing Executive Director David Sparks 

As I step down from my position as executive director, I know that the Collins Center is well-positioned for success as it enters its fifth year of operation.  I am confident that Steve McGoldrick will continue the organization's progress as interim executive director while the university conducts a search for a new leader.

With Steve Crosby and Steve McGoldrick, I helped start the center in 2008, and I've been privileged to serve as executive director for the past three years, following after our founding director, Shelley Metzenbaum, who left the Center to become one of the key federal performance management officials for President Obama.  Since its inception, the development and growth the Collins Center has been remarkable.  To date, the center has: 

  • Completed over 100 municipal and state projects designed to improve governance; recruited scores of talented professionals to serve in local government; assisted in the development of eight municipal charters; and improved efficiency and effectiveness of public organizations;   
  • Seen significant growth of our municipal performance management programs, both in terms of participating municipalities and respect for Collins' expertise;
  • Together with the Massachusetts Executive Office for Administration and Finance, moved the State forward in the design and implementation of one of the most rigorous and sophisticated performance management system in the United States, making Collins' expertise sought after in other states; and 
  • Grown the center's revenue from $750,000 to $6,000,000.    
When we started the Collins Center, we set out to provide tangible services to state and local government, and the fact that we stayed true to that goal during my time here is - along with our growth - my proudest accomplishment.  As you will see in this and the next couple of newsletters, growth is continuing as Collins embarks on significant new initiatives in labor-management collaboration in education and in municipal performance management.   I hope to continue to contribute to Collins' success in other ways - perhaps more on that in future newsletters.

With our focus on performance management and government efficiency, it is clear that Collins will continue to grow not only here in Massachusetts, but also across the country and internationally, realizing the vision that so many of us here at the McCormack Graduate School and UMass Boston had just five short years ago.

David Sparks

Municipal Performance Management Program Brings New Practices and Data Analysis to Massachusetts Cities and Towns

First Month of Program Produces Positive Responses and Early Success Stories

Massachusetts Seal The new Massachusetts Municipal Performance Management Program has only been operating for about a month, but participating municipalities are already making changes as a result of the work. Funded through the Patrick-Murray Administration's Community Innovation Challenge (CIC) Grant Program, and led by the cities of Lowell, Amesbury, Somerville, Woburn, and Worcester, the goals of this program are to increase the usage of performance management among Massachusetts municipalities and to develop common measures that can be used by cities and towns across the Commonwealth. The Collins Center is coordinating the work of this program.

In addition to the five municipalities that collectively submitted the grant application, 15 more joined the program through an application process that occurred in late May. In July, the center hired and trained performance management analysts, who were each assigned a portfolio of four municipalities to work with. During the first week of August, after an orientation meeting attended by the analysts and officials from the participating municipalities, the analysts began work in their respective municipalities.

The program began by introducing participant municipalities to the CitiStat method of performance management. Following this, municipalities will engage in a series of other performance management techniques. Almost half of the participating municipalities have already held their first CitiStat meeting, with most of the remainder scheduled over the next several weeks. The first subject of the work has been police departments. (The second topic will be public works. If there is time for a third topic during the course of the program, the topic will be determined by the interests of participant municipalities.)

Already municipalities are reviewing practices and implementing changes as a result of the data analysis and CitiStat meetings. Officials in one municipality are looking more closely at motor vehicle crash data to develop inter-departmental strategies that could reduce crashes at high-frequency crash locations. Officials in another municipality are redesigning the regular crime reports provided to patrolmen to ensure that the information is relevant and can be read quickly. Officials in a third want to better understand the total costs of providing police services for special events so they can ensure that the policies and fees correspond with the work. Several of the municipalities are interested in doing further analysis on their usage of sick time and overtime, and others are looking at making changes to how administrative data are tracked to make future data collection and analysis easier.

The work of this program derives in part from the work of New England StatNet, which is a network of municipal officials using CitiStat or other data-driven performance management approaches. The group gathers three times per year for in-depth discussion of municipal governance, and works on other collaborative efforts. Participation by Massachusetts municipalities is free this year thanks to funds designated from the grant program.

The Collins Center coordinates the initiative, in collaboration with Harvard's Rappaport Institute for Greater Boston and the Pioneer Institute for Public Policy Research. The next regular StatNet meeting will be held October 25 in Charlton. Please see separate story for details.

At the end of the program in December, the center will use the experiences of the participant municipalities and analysts to develop a toolkit for implementing performance management and a website for sharing best practices and innovations related to the work.

Patrick-Murray Administration Announces Next Round of Community Innovation Challenge Grants 

Collins Center Is Available to Assist Municipalities with Proposal Development and Grants Received through the Program

The Patrick-Murray Administration recently announced a second year of funding for the Community Innovation Challenge (CIC) Grant program. The program's goal is to incentivize "innovation among local governments through regionalization and other reforms and efficiencies to maintain critical local services and stretch every tax payer dollar as far as possible." Applications are due November 30. As with last year, there is $4 million of funding available for this program. For more information, please click on the program website.

The Collins Center is available to assist municipalities with proposal development and the implementation of programs funded through CIC grants. For more information, please contact Interim Executive Director Steve McGoldrick at or Director of Municipal Services Michael Ward at

New England StatNet to Hold Fall Meeting on Performance Management of Police Departments   

Meeting Will Take Place on October 25th at the Charlton Public Library from 10 to 2   


The fall New England StatNet meeting will be held on Thursday, October 25, 2012 from 10:00 am - 2:00 pm at the Charlton Public Library. The meeting will focus on performance management in police departments.

Thanks to funding from the Patrick-Murray Administration's Community Innovation Challenge (CIC) Grant Program included in the Municipal Performance Management Program, StatNet participation will be free for Massachusetts municipalities this year.

StatNet is a network of municipal officials using CitiStat or other data-driven performance management approaches. The group gathers three times per year for in-depth discussion of municipal governance, and works on other collaborative efforts. Each StatNet meeting focuses on an area of municipal government, such as public works, human resources, or constituent relations.  Participants decide the topic in advance, and center staff analyze the information and create a presentation for discussion at the meeting. StatNet participants include mayors, city/town managers, town administrators, chiefs of staff, policy analysts, budget directors, HR directors, departments, and other municipal employees who work on management-level issues.

To attend this meeting, please RSVP to Amy Dain, StatNet Coordinator, at  Please include names, titles, and email addresses for all individuals attending. The survey on topic selection for the October 25th meeting will be distributed soon to those who RSVP.  

Please direct any question to StatNet coordinator Amy Dain at or Michael Ward at

The Collins Center coordinates StatNet, in collaboration with the Rappaport Institute for Greater Boston and the Pioneer Institute for Public Policy Research. 

October Online Performance Management Course 

Learning how Performance Management can enhance your organization


Performance Registration is now open for our online course, Performance Management in Government and Non-Profits. This 6-week course will provide you with the tools necessary to identify organizational goals and strategies and use data to measure outcomes. This management approach leads to improved organizational performance and enhanced communication.  Many organizations have found this online approach to be a convenient way to offer their staff professional development without ever having to leave the office. Enrolling a group allows people to progress at their own rate while, at the same time, work together with colleagues to implement performance management in their organization.  


In the current environment of heightened accountability, government organizations and non-profits are increasingly adopting management approaches focused on using goals and performance indicators to increase effectiveness and communicate accomplishments. Municipal, state, and federal government employees as well as non-profit managers interested in better understanding this approach to management and in building related skills will benefit from this course. The knowledge and tools gained  will be extremely valuable in helping to set an organization on the path of management for results.


Classes start on October 7 and run through November 17, 2012.


For more information or to register for this course, click here, or contact Shona Jackson at 617.287.6934 or

The Edward J. Collins, Jr. Center for Public Management
100 Morrissey Boulevard
Boston, MA 02125
Phone: 617. 287.4824
FAX: 617.287.5566
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Volume 4, Issue 5

September, 2012

Collins Center in the News

Somerville Mayor Calls for $1 million in Raises for Non-union Workers, Rejects Own Raise
Wicked Local Somerville, September 9, 2012

Town Officials Continue Negotiations with Therrien
The Reminder,
September 03, 2012

Grant Program to Examine Medway, Holliston Departments
MetroWest Daily News, August 21, 2012

Town Receives Economic Development Designation
The Banner,
 August 16, 2012

Greenway Pays to Save Money
Boston Herald,
July 26, 2012
Contracting with the Collins Center
Quick Links
Steve on Collins Center
Former McCormack School Dean
Steve Crosby

on the Collins Center

About Ed Collins

Throughout his outstanding public career, Edward J. Collins, Jr. epitomized the spirit and goals of the Center that now bears his name.  We at the Collins Center are proud to continue the work of Ed's life - helping governments work effectively and productively for the benefit of their citizens.

More about Ed