Civic News

Baltimore city government is using data in a new way

OutcomeStat blends CitiStat with the city's overall quality-of-life goals. The city wants the public's help and feedback.

Andrew Kleine (at mic), Sameer Sidh and Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake announce updates to Baltimore's CitiStat program, October 2015.

(Screenshot)

Baltimore city has a new stat.

OutcomeStat, a new public-facing site powered by Socrata, is designed to take the internal city government performance measures like filling potholes and garbage pickup tracked by CitiStat and apply it to overall goals for improving quality of life.
See OutcomeStat
“While improving that efficiency and service delivery is very important, that in and of itself doesn’t change the quality of life for city residents,” Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said at a City Hall news conference this week.
The system organizes data based on the administration’s overall priorities, such as improving education, public safety, growing the economy and citizens’ health. “Innovative government” is also a category. Data collected in OutcomeStat will be used in the city’s budgeting process. Officials called it a work-in-progress, and city officials want the public to interact with the data to hold them accountable.
“Baltimore has one of the fastest growing tech talent markets in America and we want to connect that talent with our data to improve the quality of life for our residents in all kinds of ways,” city budget chief Andrew Kleine said.
With the broader focus, CitiStat is also under new leadership.
Sameer Sidh was named director of the city’s data-based performance tracking program, which was pioneered in Baltimore under former mayor Martin O’Malley. But the program recently came under scrutiny after the Baltimore Sun reported that the agency didn’t publish reports and frequently skipped cross-departmental meetings to review data under former director Mark Grimes. Rawlings-Blake fired Grimes over the summer.
Sidh is a former interim director of Maryland’s StateStat, which is similar to the city’s version and was also created by O’Malley. He most recently worked in the city’s transportation department.
Asked about whether he would return to holding regular meetings and publishing reports, Sidh said he wanted to make CitiStat “more business-like.”
“I plan to follow a regular schedule. In my mind I’d like to include the meetings and probably shorten them,” Sidh said.

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