CPM Spotlight: Tacoma, Washington

ARTICLE | Sep 30, 2013

This Month's Spotlight is Shining on Tacoma, Washington

This Month’s Spotlight Is Shining on Tacoma, Washington


Jurisdiction: City of Tacoma


State: Washington


CPM Participant Since: (year) 2005


Current Manager: T.C. Broadnax


Current Primary Coordinator: Katie Johnston


Region: West Coast


Population: 200,678


Sites to visit: Tacoma Glass Museum, Point Defiance Park, LeMay Car Museum



A city manager’s leadership and expectations can be the spark to change the culture of an organization and move towards data-driven decision making and management. It is important to involve both frontline managers and organizational leaders. Primary Coordinator Katie Johnson has been essential in advancing a culture of performance management for the city of Tacoma, Washington. The city has been able to transition from just measuring data to using data to set performance targets and evaluate decisions.


Katie uses performance management and reporting to validate choices made in Tacoma’s decision-making processes. She says, “By measuring and reporting our service levels and performance, we are able to more clearly communicate the benefit of our services and how tax revenues are used. Overall, performance reporting has increased transparency, accountability, and communication with our community and policy makers.”


Tacoma has two primary performance reports including  Tacoma 24/7, a quarterly report on twenty-four key performance indicators, and the Budget Book. Tacoma 24/7 offers an in-depth review of twenty-four key measures. The report includes historical performance, quarterly performance, and comparative information for each measure.  The Budget Book measures are the measures Tacoma developed to accompany the budget proposal for 2013-2014. The city provides updates on the Budget Book measures and Tacoma 24/7 quarterly in order to increase the accountability and transparency about the city’s performance. Additionally, departments use performance measures to manage their resource allocations and processes, and make proposals to the city council and city manager.


Katie Johnson found that one of the most valuable parts of CPM data is its accessibility. Having the data readily available allowed the city to be highly responsive to the city council and community in regard to how Tacoma compares to similar jurisdictions. She also found webinars to be an excellent resource for her and her staff.  “I can easily share resources from the webinar with our staff or host a webinar-viewing meeting. I really get a lot of value out of seeing the issues faced by other jurisdictions and the different ways jurisdictions have enhanced their performance management systems to improve accuracy, use of data in decision making, and training.”


For information about Tacoma, Washington, please visit http://www.cityoftacoma.org/.  The city’s performance management page can be found here.  

If you would like your jurisdiction or your jurisdiction’s primary coordinator to be featured in the “CPM Spotlight” send an e-mail to cpmmail@icma.org.