‘Moneyball’ Government Emphasizes Outcomes

By Tulsa World Editorial Board

We’re encouraged to learn that City Councilor G.T. Bynum is part of a group studying ways to reconfigure local government toward decisions that emphasize data-driven, trackable goals.

Bynum was accepted into a two-year national fellowship program, Local Moneyball for Government. The program draws its name from the trend in professional baseball — first developed by the Oakland A’s — to base team decisions on statistical analysis over gut instinct.

This may sound esoteric, but we think it’s an important philosophical shift.

In a recent interview with Tulsa World reporter Jarrel Wade, Bynum said something that we have often thought: “In Tulsa, we are too focused on what we’re spending rather than on the outcomes of that spending.”

When the Tulsa World’s Community Advisory Board met last year, the members outlined a number of reforms available to government that might involve some up-front investment, but that would have long-term positive effects for citizens and fiscal benefits for government, i.e. outcomes-based government.

That evolved into a five-part news and editorial series by the newspaper — Spend to Save — that looked at issues like reducing teen pregnancy and rethinking prison incarceration as means of improving life and reducing long-term government costs.

Bynum ties his effort with opening up the city’s data to “civic hackers,” technologically proficient locals who are hungry to turn the wealth of records at City Hall into public improvements.

That’s not only “Moneyball” government, it’s democratization of information.

Moneyball government makes sense, and we’re glad Bynum is looking for ways to bring innovation and logic to City Hall.

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