Recognizing Performance Management Leaders

Certificates in Performance Management from ICMA recognize local governments that demonstrate a commitment to collecting, using, and sharing performance data.

Jul 19, 2018 | ARTICLE
Certificate in performance management

ICMA is pleased to recognize 57 local governments that have earned Certificates in Performance Management for their leadership in continuous improvement and community engagement through performance management initiatives.

Each year ICMA awards certificates to recognize performance management programs, encourage comparative analysis, and reward transparency. Five of this year’s recipient jurisdictions have received certificates 15 or more times since the program began in 2002: Austin, Texas; Bellevue, Washington; Fairfax County, Virginia; Phoenix, Arizona; and San José, California.

“Maintaining the objectivity essential to successful local government management requires both technical and cultural commitments to performance management,” said ICMA Executive Director Marc Ott. “ICMA’s Certificates in Performance Management recognize the local governments that have made those commitments and integrated the essential tasks of measurement and analysis into their everyday work.”

The recipients are listed on the ICMA website and will be officially recognized at ICMA’s 104th Annual Conference in Baltimore, Maryland, September 23-26, 2018, and in the October 2018 issue of Public Management (PM) magazine.

Certificates are based on established criteria and are awarded at three levels—Achievement, Distinction, and Excellence (the highest level):

  • Recipients at all levels collect and verify data to ensure reliability, train staff in performance measurement, and report data to the public through budgets, newsletters, and/or information provided to elected officials.
  • Certificates of Distinction are awarded to those who also provide comparative and benchmarking information to the public, use performance data in strategic planning and operational decision-making, and share their knowledge with other local governments through presentations, site visits, and other networking activities.
  • Certificates of Excellence go to those who, in addition, track and report key outcomes, survey residents and local government employees, incorporate data into performance dashboards or other visual communications, and foster the development of a performance culture throughout their organizations.

Applicants for the certificates submit data reports, planning documents, training manuals, and other supporting materials and make them available for ICMA to share with others. Examples from current and past recipients appear on the website; here are some from 2018:

  • Suwanee, Georgia, engaged residents with “The World’s Most Amazing Annual Report” in comic-book format.
  • Kansas City, Missouri, conducted a data academy to train staff on how to present performance data in interesting and meaningful ways.
  • San Francisco, California, published a public health scorecard with easy-to-understand color coding to show how progress toward public health objectives stacks up against targets. Users can also access in-depth information about each measure and how the city works to achieve targets.
  • The Fayetteville, North Carolina, strategic planning group participates in an array of national and state-based organizations -- delivering presentations on the city’s performance management activities, writing blog entries for these organizations, and engaging in informal networking with peer communities.

Criteria for the 2019 certificates will be announced in November 2018. Any local government may apply. For further information, contact Gerald Young (


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