"The Government Performance and Results Act" comes in response to an overwhelming desire on the part of the American people to see government become more accountable, effective and efficient.
In New York City, we've seen how effective management can yield successful results. Throughout the country and throughout the world New York City has become known as a place that welcomes growth and progress, but even more importantly new ideas.
When I first came into office three and half years ago, there was the feeling on the part of many that New York City was headed toward an inevitable state of decline.
In this negative atmosphere, there were was a deficiency of new ideas and certainly solutions were not in the offering. Most politicians sat back, complained, endlessly debated the issues, but offered no real solutions. And in the mean time our city had spiraled out of control.
Times have changed. Today we've reinvented government, our city and our way of life. We've become a city where new ideas are welcomed and actually put to the test. Some of these ideas work better than others -- but we are continually thinking and looking for solutions. And that's what matters.
New York City is now one of the safest large city in the country, and since 1993 crime has declined by nearly 43 percent. Murders are down by over 50 percent.
As a result of these dramatic declines, New York City is safer today than at any time during the 1990's, 1980's, and 1970's. In fact, our current crime level is equivalent to that of 1968, almost 30 years ago.
These results were achieved because we carefully re-thought the way the Police Department should operate. And the strategic missions we came up with proved to be a resounding success.
Until recently the New York City Police Department lacked strategic direction and oversight. While they were dealing effectively with individual crimes, they weren't preventing and reversing crime trends.
Times have changed. We've made critical improvements in the way the Department does its work, establishing separate detailed strategies for dealing with guns, youth crime, drugs, domestic violence, and auto-related theft, and paid special attention to the key objective of improving the quality of life in public spaces.
We've found that by enforcing laws against relatively minor crimes such as public drinking, squeegee operators, low-level drug dealing, and so on, we are helping to solve far more serious cases involving gun and drug dealers and other dangerous criminals.
This police strategy is based on the precepts of James Wilson's "the broken window" theory and itís met with great results.
Take, for example, the squeegee operators that had been harassing and intimidating people for years at street corners and highway entrances to our city. Most New Yorkers believed that this was just an unpleasant fixture of life in the city. But with unremitting police pressure, we banished the majority of squeegee operators in six months.
Within a year and a half of taking office, our administration achieved the merger of the city's previously separate Housing and Transit Police Departments into the New York Police Department -- an initiative which was supported but not acted upon by at least four prior mayoral administrations, or a period of over 25 years.
The merger allowed for the reduction of duplicative and redundant administrative functions and yielded the redeployment of over 500 officers to direct patrol duty.
Now, through the use of greater numbers of officers on patrol and a unified deployment strategy, the NYPD is a more effective and efficient force.
Another critical component of the success of the New York Police Department has been an innovative style of police management called "COMPSTAT."
"COMPSTAT" uses intensive crime analysis sessions, up-to-the minute crime statistics, and computer "pin mapping" technology as basic crime fighting tools. COMPSTAT transformed the NYPD from an organization that reacted to crime to a Police Department that actively works to deter offenses.
Before COMPSTAT, the NYPD's 76 precinct commanders were isolated from the department's top executives. They rarely met their superiors at police headquarters. Under the COMPSTAT system precinct commanders meet with the Police Commissioner, Chief of Department, Chief of Detectives, and other top leaders at semi-weekly meetings where together they identify local crime patterns, select tactics and allocate resources. Precinct commanders are held accountable and every five weeks they return to face the panel.
Before the COMPSTAT system, crime statistics were out of date, sometimes lagging three months behind current levels of criminal activity. Today the COMPSTAT system has brought crime statistics up-to-the minute.
Computer technologies allow the mapping of patterns and the establishment of causal relationships among different categories of crime. In a truly interactive use of computers, crime pattern maps are displayed on large screens in the COMPSTAT meeting room, assisting and guiding the development of new tactics and solutions.
This kind of communication has been one of the keys in our battle against crime. The Police Department's various bureaus used to function as separate entities. Precinct problems were not being addressed. Today, resources are allocated at COMPSTAT meetings, providing close coordination and directing appropriate resources to crucial crime patterns in particular precincts.
The COMPSTAT process, answers the question raised by David Osbourne, author of the much heralded book, "Re-inventing Government," that is, how can government agencies, like businesses, measure their success.
The analogy which I often use is that of a major banking institution which each day at the close of business contacts its branches to assess the transactions of the day so that it can develop strategies to enhance its measure of success, namely, profits.
For years, the NYPD's measure of its performance was based on arrest statistics -- an indicator that while important is not a measure of its success. After all, the primary mission of a police force is to prevent and deter crime, a mission which is measured by crime statistics not arrests, since arrests represent a police response to crimes that have already occurred.
Through the use of COMPSTAT, the NYPD captures, retrieves and analyzes crime statistics on a daily basis, and, like a bank, is able to quantify its successes and develop strategies or deploy resources to build upon that progress.
In New York City, we believe that through strategic management and the rapid deployment of patrol resources we've reduced crime by the lowest levels its been in over three decades.
In every government agency we are now looking for results. And what we're looking for regarding our welfare program is to see just how many people we can help become independent as soon as possible.
It was only a few years ago that New York City had a passive philosophy about the growth of welfare. When we began our reform efforts about two years ago, the welfare rolls in this city were nearly 1.2 million people, culminating the longest period of sustained welfare growth in the last 25 years.
In a city of nearly 8 million people that meant approximately one in six New Yorkers was receiving public assistance. That was a tragic shame because these able-bodied people, with limitless potential, were not participating in the workforce and were excluded from being a productive part of New York City's economy.
Since we began nearly 245,000 people have been moved off welfare -- the largest number of individuals moved off welfare in any other city or state in the entire country.
The work experience program (WEP) in New York City is an effective tool for orienting public assistance recipients toward employment and for helping to supplement services in some key areas affecting the quality of life for all New Yorkers. WEP participants are given structured work assignments in areas that help to improve community services or government operations.
For example, the WEP workers assigned to the Department of Parks and Recreation and the Department of Sanitation have helped to make our parks and streets the cleanest they've been in over two decades.
Currently about 37,000 people are participating in the Work Experience Program, and over 120,000 people have moved through the program and now into self-sufficiency.
At the core of our approach to welfare reform is the basic concept of a social contract -- that for every right there is a duty, for every benefit an obligation.
Our workfare program requires all able-bodied recipients of public assistance to participate, promoting a sense of personal responsibility and reciprocity, so that people can have the confidence to take charge of their own lives.
It's interesting to take an evaluation of people's attitudes toward work in that many view something punitive about working.
When I suggested people in emergency shelters be assigned to work, there were some that criticized that this was attempting to "punish" people.
Their attitude is very revealing as a significant difference in philosophy, whereas they consider work punishment, our administration considers work an opportunity for improvement and for growth.
An article last Monday in The New York Times cites our workfare program's successes and failures.
As a success it notes Maggie Montalvo, a mother fearful of losing her benefits after 15 years on welfare, who now meets her 20 hour-a-week work requirement by assisting teachers at her daughter's Head Start program while studying for her high school equivalency diploma.
The article attempts to cite the failures of our workfare program. To illustrate the point, the article looks at the case of Mr. Contreras, who said he refused his work assignment because he was frightened and humiliated by having to sweep streets for his welfare benefits.
Unlike Mr. Contreras, I also consider this case a success. The fact that he views working as a streetsweeper "humiliating" is more of a commentary on a very different philosophy that Mr. Contreras was taught. It just so happens that New York City's Sanitation Commissioner John Doherty started out as a streetsweeper.
As Martin Luther King, Jr. believed, "If a man is called to be a streetsweeper he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, here lived a great streetsweeper who did his job well."
Our administration also believes that a job well done restores a sense of dignity, independence and self-esteem that no social program can match.
New York City has become a national leader in the area of welfare reform and our success is being used as a model for the rest of the country to follow.
And even other localities are coming to us for advice. For example, Ontario, Canada is in the process of putting together a program based entirely on our work in New York City.
Over the past three and half years, we've dispelled the defeatism that had once prevailed in our city. We are now a city that welcomes growth and opportunity and our many successes have become a model for the world.
No longer are we a city that is afraid to re-think the status quo and come up with a better way. We are constantly striving and succeeding in making many of our city agencies more accountable, efficient, and effective.
It's my sincere hope that the Federal Government can learn from the unparalleled success we enjoy in New York.