The city manager of Midﬁeld summoned the city’s sanitation commissioner. He had compared the service efforts and accomplishments data for the sanitation department with those for Lowville, a nearby city of comparable size and population. Midﬁeld fared poorly on virtually all measures. The city manager wanted an explanation. Both cities used SEA measures that have been suggested by the GASB (cited in this chapter). These included the following:
• Expenditures in current and constant dollars
• Number of personnel
• Number of vehicles
• Number of customers served
• Tons of waste collected
• Percentage of scheduled collections missed
• Percentage of collections not completed on schedule
• Percentage of streets rated acceptably clean
• Average customer satisfaction rating
• Number of customer complaints
• Cost per ton of solid waste collected
• Cost per customer served
• Tons of solid waste collected per employee
It is generally acknowledged that comparisons of SEA measures must be supplemented with explanations as to possible differences in operating conditions.
1. Suppose that you were Midﬁeld’s sanitation commissioner. List at least seven factors, each of which is likely to be beyond your control, that might explain the apparently poor performance of your department. Specify one or more outcome or efﬁciency indicators that they would affect.
2. Suppose instead that the city manager had compared the sanitation department’s performance of the current year with that of the previous year and noted a deterioration in several of the measures. List at least three factors, each of which is likely to be beyond your control that might account for the apparent deterioration in performance. Assume that there have been no major changes in the city’s population or its policies as to frequency of collection or other factors affecting customer service.