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Louisville, Ky., Uses Metrics to Cut Overtime and Boost Performance

The LouieStat program tracks government performance metrics to spot improvements.

The Louisville, Ky., Metro Government developed a new program to track government performance metrics and find solutions to improve them as a way to cut taxpayer dollars.

Louisville, Ky., Metro Government officials are using a new performance tracking initiative to cut the combined city/county government’s $23 million bill for unscheduled employee overtime.

In January, the Metro Government launched the beta version of LouieStat (short for Louisville statistics), which is overseen by the Office of Performance Improvement. Similar to Baltimore’s CitiStat program, LouieStat uses data extracted from various city/county systems to create management reports. The reports are analyzed and department managers meet regularly to discuss and react to the findings.

The goal is to spot weaknesses in government performance and processes, according to Louisville CIO Beth Niblock. Seven departments are participating in the program, which tracks four enterprise performance indicators: unscheduled overtime, sick time usage, work-related illness and injury, and responsiveness to citizen concerns, Niblock said. Other department-specific performance indicators are tracked as well.

Departments involved in the program meet with Mayor Greg Fischer and his leadership team every six to eight weeks for 90-minute sessions to evaulate the report findings, said Theresa Reno-Weber, Louisville’s director of performance improvement.

“They’re using data to analyze what the city is doing, how well they’re doing it, and how they can do it better,” Reno-Weber said.

One major issue the city has been addressing since the program’s inception is unscheduled overtime for government employees, and why there’s so much of it. Reno-Weber said the city paid roughly $23 million in overtime pay last year.

“Unscheduled overtime is really a huge impact on our budget,” she said.

Data reports generated from the LouieStat program indicated that overtime was being paid out because vacant positions within departments were taking a long time to be filled, increasing the workload on existing employees. To prevent this, the LouieStat team looked into the city’s hiring process, identified bottlenecks, and is now working to eliminate them.

Reno-Weber said since the report data has been analyzed, the government is working to reduce the time it takes to hire a new employee from the previous maximum of 304 days to a maximum of 72 days.

During LouieStat’s beta phase, performance data is being manually extracted from the Metro government’s work order management system, financial record system and other sources. But Niblock said the city ultimately intends to automate data extraction, store the information in a data warehouse and generate reports automatically. She expects the beta stage to last another five to six months.

Although processes aren’t automated yet, Niblock said the LouieStat website is the first of Louisville’s websites to use the open source content management platform Drupal 7 and be hosted in Amazon’s cloud.

Metro Government intends to move the rest of its sites to the Drupal CMS and Amazon cloud in the future. Because the city was already planning that overhaul, the only additional expenses generated by the LouieStat program were staff costs, Reno-Weber said.


Miriam Jones is a former chief copy editor of Government Technology, Governing, Public CIO and Emergency Management magazines.