The International City/County Management Association awarded Purcellville with a Certificate of Distinction from the ICMA Center for Performance Analytics, the sixth award it has received from the association.
The citation came Wednesday, the day after the Town Council had discussed the possibility of holding an operational audit to assess the town’s performance.
“The certificate program recognizes communities that have demonstrated leadership in continuous improvement and community engagement using performance analysis,” ICMA Executive Director Robert J. O’Neill Jr. stated in a release announcing the award.
“Performance analysis is an integral component of professional local government management, and jurisdictions meeting the certificate qualifications serve as examples for other governments to follow,” O’Neill said. The assessment of a local government’s performance is made by comparison to its peers and gauging its performance over time; performance management aids in cost reduction, program prioritization and quality improvement, as well as encouraging accountability and transparency, the release stated.
There are three levels of award, of which the Certificate of Distinction is the second. The town will strive to achieve the top, Excellence award, next year, Assistant Town Manager Danny Davis said. Purcellville is among eight jurisdictions receiving the Certificate of Distinction, and one of 52 overall.
The July 12 council discussion on the independent audit was led by Councilman Nedim Ogelman, who said its first focus should be on administration, calling for “transparency, self-improvement and to enhance trust.”
Councilman Doug McCollum said in his experience as a corporate lawyer those kind of audits were expensive and time consuming. “Get the money first and do it next [fiscal] year,” he suggested. Vice Mayor Karen Jimmerson agreed. Councilman Ryan Cool acknowledged the word audit “scares” people, but said there are always inefficiencies in government, and to go through an efficiency analysis “does not mean dumping on people.”
The mayor suggested there might be ways of doing the analysis on a pro bono basis, but McCollum said a professional audit with “reputation and money on the line,” would do the job better.