Ph D Edward C Caprielian, Management Consultant/University Professor over 6 years ago

The corruption in Bell is “American as apple pie.” It is typical in low socio-economic communities in Southeast Los Angeles County and in cities as Manhattan Beach with wealthy, highly educated populations.

The commonality is lack of citizen oversight. As emphasized in a recent Daily Breeze editorial (“Bell corruption closer than we want to know”), “You’ll never know unless you pay attention to what your electeds are up to.” (March 26)

Why the lack of “attention”? In Manhattan Beach, as across the nation, elected officials, by limiting public engagement, fail to see their role as servants not masters thereby generating public apathy and disengagement.

For example, Manhattan Beach residents can only sadly claim, “We’re no worse than Los Angeles,” because, recently, in both cities, only 21 percent of registered voters turned out on Election Day. Indeed, the turnout in our seven municipal elections during 2001-2013 has been 19.1, 21.5, 29.5, 22.5, 24.03, 21.41, and 21.84 percent. Voter apathy is a clear indicator that prior Manhattan Beach City Councils have consistently discouraged public engagement thereby failing to gain the attention and commitment of our residents to care about public policymaking. The current Manhattan Beach City Council needs to acknowledge these past failures and demonstrate by action, not only words, that it will “walk the talk” to gain that attention, commitment, and caring. Further, “We the People” (U.S. Constitution) must insist that in delegating authority to our elected officials, do not give up our right to decide what is good for the people.

1 Agree Created

Get current on the posting of Council meeting minutes (and videos), stay current, and hold the City Manager fully accountable for never again allowing the unprecedented six month delinquency that recently existed (despite the hiring of an outside contractor to perform this routine duty of the City Clerk)!

2 Agrees Created

Begg Pool is not adequate for MB. Swim lessons are always full, free swim is rarely available, and compared to El Segundo, Hawthorne, and other neighboring cities, our pool program is really lacking. We have the space, right at Begg Pool or at Marine Park or elsewhere. This would be a wonderful resource for all MB residents, young and old, families and singles.

Please consider this before spending a penny on a skate park which will only benefit a very small group of residents and will probably be used more by non-residents.

3 Agrees Created

Many new homes block views, create sight lines into personal spaces within adjacent residences, or block sunlight into yards. Existing structures should be considered before issuing permits. Also, with the great weather we have here in this city, I think more yard space should be encouraged. Not sure how to achieve this, but it would be nice to start a dialogue. We also need to encourage solar power, so why do we allow new homes to block sunlight for existing homes. It seems to be the norm, especially downtown. I think most of us enjoy the sunshine. That's why we're here!

1 Agree Created

Ph D Edward C Caprielian, Management Consultant/University Professor over 6 years ago

Is the Manhattan Beach City Council being fiscally responsible? The multi-millions required to upgrade Manhattan Beach facilities and infrastructure, following massive needed street lighting and sewer repairs, will culminate in increased taxes and further cast doubts on the accuracy and sufficiency of city cash reserves.

Councilmembers D’Errico and Burton are right in confronting the council on fiscal responsibility by targeting flaws in the current budget they opposed and in opposing managerial salary increases acquiesced to by Councilmembers Lesser, Howorth, and Powell. Further, D’Errico and Burton are challenging the Council to forge and adhere to its policymaking responsibilities while holding the city manager accountable for fiscal mandates – thus ending the travesty of trying to do his work as well as their own.

Rather, the Lesser-Howorth-Powell trio defends their rear-guard failures by acquiescing to the continued lack of performance and fiscal accountability by City Manager Carmany. Their failures include squashing budget reform efforts and abdicating responsibility for measurable results-oriented fiscal stability outcomes.

Illustrative of the trio’s malfeasance include not justifying recent department increased salary and benefit packages and establishing yearly performance contracts; and, not approving budget reforms that provide the Council a results scoreboard. For example, Lesser, Howorth, and Powell allocated millions to the Office of the City Manager without any required results. Not one!

An ethos of public service is accountability of taxpayer dollars entrusted to elected officials and public servants. Those who embrace this ethos should stay. Those who resist fired. Councilmembers Burton and D’Errico are aligned and steadfast to this ethos. Support them!

Edward C. Caprielian, Ph.D.

1 Agree Created

Manhattan Beach City Council - Distrust, Diminishmet, and Disengagement of the Public

Manhattan Beach residents should note and applaud Hermosa Beach’s continued “Community Dialogue,” a “public engagement” process whereby elected officials are encouraging Hermosans to influence critical decisions on priorities and revenue generation. Through outreach, consultation, and creative consensus building dynamics, Hermosa Beach is promoting empowerment of residents and consultative democracy.

In contrast, Manhattan Beach has eschewed public engagement. Its elected officials rely on formalized “public participation” characterized by one-way communication patronizing residents into impotency rather than public deliberation and sustained problem solving.

Cities and counties throughout California are recognizing the benefits of public engagement including better identification of the public’s values, ideas, and recommendations; more fully informed citizens; improved decision-making and implementation; greater ability to overcome obstacles; and, heightened policy unanimity and support.

For Hermosans, the process is benefiting the building of their unique community identity rather than wanting “to be like Manhattan Beach” or “become Rodeo Drive at the beach.”

Edward C. Caprielian, Ph.D.

1 Agree Created

Ph D Edward C Caprielian, Management Consultant/University Professor over 6 years ago

Governance, as it relates to governing by the Manhattan Beach City Council (MBCC), seeks to bring stakeholders together to participate in the dialogue, decision-making, and implementation of solutions to common problems or goals. The word governance derives from a Greek verb “to steer.” Unfortunately, over the past decades the MBCC has lost control of its distinct role and abdicated the steering of public policymaking to a city manager and city staff.

Councilmember Tony D’Errico and Councilmember Mark Burton have courageously brought forth the challenge for the council to reverse course and reap the benefits of policy governance. These embrace centering the MBCC to provide visionary leadership and strategic concentration on the “what” and “why” of city operations; a focus on desired results and outcomes for the residents; and, a proactive, not reactive, forward-looking focus on the future of Manhattan Beach.

The achievement of these benefits requires full council support; strictly requiring the city manager to focus on his management responsibilities to implement council policies; monitoring his achievement of desired end-results; and, ensuring performance accountability by the city manager and staff in matching taxpayer dollars consumed to benefits gained.

We, the residents, as stakeholders, must support the efforts of those councilmembers willing to take the helm of policy governance including accepting the challenging responsibilities; demonstrating the required competencies; and, most importantly, having the will to steer the MBCC through unchartered waters towards a destination promoting the public interest and common good, not politics as usual.

0 Comments 1 Agree Created

Ph D Edward C Caprielian, Management Consultant/University Professor over 6 years ago

The recent crime spree in Manhattan Beach is terrifying residents. These incidents include homes ransacked, residents pistol-whipped, students robbed at gunpoint, and car thefts – leaving many in fear of their lives and under siege. The perception if not the reality of increased crime is raising questions on the viability of the Manhattan Beach Police Department, particularly its leadership. Unfortunately, the MBPD Strategic Plan does not provide adequate reassurance.

Although the MBPD Strategic Plan focuses on needed priorities to strengthen management of its human and financial resources (e.g. leadership development, operational effectiveness, inner-departmental communications, teamwork, and increased employee proficiency), it omits concrete goals and objectives aimed at MBPD’s ultimate mission – strengthening public safety.

To further confidence in the MBPD, its strategic plan should incorporate specific measurable results-oriented objectives aimed at reducing those crimes of key concern to the community, e.g. burglaries, armed robberies, violence, and threats to our youth. These measurable results would similarly serve to determine whether MBPD’s management priorities, as described above, correlate with achieving its bottom line mission “To protect life, liberty, and property.…”

Further, the MBPD strategic plan should replace generalized statements of intentions and activities with performance outcomes. Focusing on intentions and activities is akin to measuring the success of baseball players by their number of times at bat versus results measured by batting average, runs batted in, and home runs.

Outcome measures in public safety include crimes against persons and property per capita; percentage of crimes cleared; operating and maintenance expenditures per capita; and, resident ratings of safety in their neighborhoods.

These recommendations are commensurate in achieving performance accountability of police departments with those by the California Commission on Peace Officers Standards and Training, the Commission on Accreditation of Law Enforcement Agencies, and the United States Department of Justice.

Edward C. Caprielian, Ph.D.

0 Comments 1 Agree Created

"How to Help Employees Unleash Their Producitivity"

As an entrepreneur, you work hard. Very hard. But make no mistake about it--you can't be the only one. To succeed in the long run, you need the active and engaged participation of your employees. This means unleashing the energy that is within each one of them. Here's how.

Catch Them Doing Something Right

Outstanding organizations share success with their employees. Management highlights constructive processes, strategies and employee ideas, then publicizes how they benefit the organization. When your employees are doing something right, let people know about it. Encourage outstanding, sustained performance by showing them how much their efforts are appreciated.

Set the Bar High

Set high standards for communication, productivity and professionalism throughout your organization. If at times these standards are not met, work closely with your employees to find ways to get back on track. Don't lower your standards. Instead, partner with your employees and take on challenges as a team. Enlist your their input to identify blocking issues, focus attention on possible solutions and strive to meet and exceed expectations.

Communicate, Communicate, Communicate

Communicate professionally, clearly and often. Employees expect management's honest assessment of their performance. When things are running smoothly, highlight what is working and communicate success throughout the organization. When problems challenge progress, consider the potential impact you can have by constructively discussing your concerns. Use communication as a tool to inspire and motivate, as well as to direct and resolve problems.

Trust Your Employees

The best managers understand that organizational success is directly tied to the success of their employees, and they work to build bridges of trust. Establish trust by creating a safe, positive working environment with open and honest two-way communication. Give your people the benefit of the doubt, then help them up if they sometimes stumble.

Help Employees Grow

Set your employees up for success, not failure. Provide them with the tools and training to meet and exceed high standards. Encourage them to identify their strengths and motivations. Show them how your organization has benefitted from their efforts, and how this in turn benefits them. Determine what drives your people, then incorporate that into their daily tasks.

Create and Maintain a Productive Environment

Create and maintain a positive, industrious and pleasant working environment. Productive, motivated people drive outstanding organizations. Ensure employees feel challenged with their jobs, but not overwhelmed. Delegate tasks and encourage people into positions of greater complexity and responsibility whenever possible so employees are always in motion and have a stake in the organization's success.

Build a Community

Make sure your employees feel like they are a part of something special and that their efforts are truly appreciated. Partner with them by involving them directly in the success of the organization. Create and cultivate a sense of camaraderie, where people look forward to coming to work because they want to be a part of your company's success story.

By unleashing the energy of your employees and getting out of the way, you can create a high-energy workforce. Once this energy is fully unleashed, your business will grow by leaps and bounds.

Source: Internnational City/County Management Association - ICMA Smart Brief - October 8, 2013.

0 Comments 1 Agree Created

Ph D Edward C Caprielian, Management Consultant/University Professor over 6 years ago

Citizen engagement involves much more than public participation. In Manhattan Beach, public participation is a one-way dialogue including public hearings at city council meetings and town hall meetings. Residents are not empowered to make constructive “effective” recommendations (i.e. those likely to obtain city council approval) based on parameters established by the council.

It takes deliberate work by local governments to develop plans for engagement, understand the purposes of engagement, and deliver opportunities for meaningful community engagement.

The highly respected International City/County Management Association (ICMA) offers webinars to explore what it takes to cultivate real citizen engagement in our community, One, scheduled for October 24, ”Citizen Engagement Beyond the Public Hearing: Creative Strategies and Best Practices,” should be viewed our council members and staff to learn:

  1. The true meaning of citizen engagement.
  2. Goals and outcomes of citizen engagement.
  3. Barriers to engagement and how to overcome them.
  4. Trends, strategies, and best practices for engagement.

Mayor David Lesser established citizen engagement one of his top priorities during his term as mayor. To this date, he has failed to implement any efforts and his term in office expires in December. Rather, under his “leadership,” opportunities for public participation, open government, and transparency have diminished. It is time for the Manhattan Beach City Council to “walk the talk” of citizen engagement or confess to its hypocrisy.

0 Comments 1 Agree Created