Ph D Edward C Caprielian, Management Consultant/University Professor over 10 years ago

October 11, 2013

Manhattan Beach City Council:

I am extremely displeased that the second “Audience Participation” is now limited to Non-Agenda Items. At the August meeting on Meeting Management, you agreed it would allow comments on all items, especially those discussed during the meeting, thereby allowing public comment on agreement or disagreement with decisions made at the meeting. It is a further example, along with time limits on speech and grouping of agenda items, of how the past and present MBCC, under the guise of improving meeting management, has decreased open government, transparency, civic participation, and community engagement in Manhattan Beach, including blaming the public rather than your own governance incompetency. This reversal represents pure cowardice and hypocrisy by the Manhattan Beach City Council.

Edward C. Caprielian, Ph.D. (310) 546-2345

1 Agree Created

Ph D Edward C Caprielian, Management Consultant/University Professor over 10 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

Ph D Edward C Caprielian, Management Consultant/University Professor over 10 years ago

To counteract resident alienation, the Manhattan Beach City Council (MBCC) should employ public engagement strategies to increase civic involvement by residents in the deliberation of public policymaking thereby promoting the overall public interest rather than of a minority of interests (e.g. those of real estate developers, architects, contractors, and realtors).

A resident significantly impacted by a major neighborhood construction project appeared before the MBCC pleading for its intervention. Yet, the same resident rejected the responsibility of the MBCC to promote civic engagement but rather stated:

“…[A] few weeks ago you wrote of voter apathy and seemed to blame it on City Council's behavior. I believe our local voter apathy is based on self-centered APATHY…Our residents are too interested in throwing parties in their mcmansions, earning money to pay for their mcmansions, showing off their BMW's and designer duds, taking Johnny to soccer practice, etc. Think about how many garages you pass with the Beach Reporter lying outside all week. City Council's fault?”

The resident is not alone. In a survey of elected officials, 87% viewed the public as disengaged but still valuing yet cautious of deliberative processes. Therefore, are we in a “chicken or egg” quandary? How do we ensure the MBCC meets its governance responsibilities to promote our community’s public interest?

Perhaps the answer is inherent in approximately only 20% of those registered voting in the last municipal election meaning each member of the MBCC did “not” receive votes by over 80% of registered voters. Representative government? No way!

1 Agree Created

Ph D Edward C Caprielian, Management Consultant/University Professor over 10 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.

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.

2 Agrees Created

Ph D Edward C Caprielian, Management Consultant/University Professor over 10 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.

1 Agree Created

Ph D Edward C Caprielian, Management Consultant/University Professor over 10 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

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