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Congratulations to The Pagosa SUN. At least to my knowledge, you are the first member of the national media that is attempting to make our elected officials accountable for their actions.

Congratulations to the members of the BOCC, the President of the School Board and the School Superintendent. To my knowledge, you are the first elected and/or public officials who are willing to publicly participate in the process of sharing your goals and accomplishments.

While I commend you all for making a good first start, I think the process would be more productive if we all understood what constitutes good goals and legitimate accomplishments. The actual “process” may vary somewhat, but every employee of a large corporation is required to set goals and report accomplishments every year. Your salary and opportunity for promotion is determined to a large extent on the results of this exercise. The company that I worked for used SMART Goals. SMART is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant/Realistic and Timely. The real keys to this system are that the goal must be a specific action or result that you plan to accomplish and we must be able to actually measure the result. In other words, you cannot make a general statement like “work on” or “improve.” Instead, you must state what specific action you will take. Your accomplishment can be easily determined by whether or not you actually carried out the action described in your goal. Your goals must be set with and agreed to by your immediate supervisor. Also, your accomplishments must be discussed with your supervisor.

Using this template, you can easily see that neither the Goals nor the Accomplishments listed by any of the staff listed above meet these criteria. For instance, all three members of the BOCC listed as an accomplishment the completion of the paving of Piedra Road. Clearly, none of the three actually paved the road. They may have made decisions that made the paving of the road possible. The specific decisions made by each member of the BOCC would be accomplishments that they could legitimately claim. By the same token, both members of the school district listed the boys’ basketball state championship and Gabby Pajak’s winning the Boettcher Scholarship as part of their accomplishments. While those were certainly outstanding accomplishments, they were achieved by the young people actually involved in the activities, not by either the Superintendent or the President of the BOD.

Finally, recall that I stipulated that the goals must be agreed to and the accomplishments reviewed by your immediate supervisor. So who is the immediate supervisor of all elected officials? At least in my mind, it is we the people (WTP)! We hired them (elections), we pay them (taxes) and we can fire them (recall or future elections). Therefore, the Goals & Accomplishments process must be done with the complete cooperation of WTP, i.e. all of us.

A good start has been made; now let’s proceed down the “continuous improvement” path.

Dave Richardson

This story was posted on January 16, 2014.