Mitt Romney Swiss Bank Account Fact Che

Should Martin O’Malley be president? The governor of Maryland is a long shot for the White House–and the best manager in government today.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

The governor is hungry.

Brown paper bag in hand, Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley
strides into a conference room on the fourth floor of an old government
building in downtown Annapolis. “I brought lunch,” he whispers
to no one in particular and, stooping slightly in the way that people do
when they enter a meeting late, takes a seat. For a moment, he is quiet.

He’d spent the morning in discussion with various members of
the
state legislature

, which is in session just a few steps away at the

statehouse
 also state house  
n.
A building in which a state legislature holds sessions; a state capitol.


Noun

NZ a rented house built by the government

Noun 1.
 on the hill. Up there, laws are being shaped and votes cast,
mostly in the governor’s favor, but it’s down here, in this
windowless room, packed with staff from three of Maryland’s state
agencies and his own executive team, that O’Malley’s political
impact is deepest. In 2000, as a young mayor of Baltimore, he pioneered
this type of meeting–biweekly, multi-agency, data-driven performance
reviews–and thirteen years later they’re still the cornerstone of
his legacy as a politician.

“So that’s the carrot at the end of the stick that you
hope the community colleges are going to close in after?”
O’Malley asks, breaking his short silence. He leans forward in his
chair, his elbows on the table and the contents of his lunch–a dry deli
sandwich, a bag of potato chips–lined up in front of him like a control
panel.

“That’s right, sir,” a man in the back of the room
says. They’re referring to an incentive to get students to use
Maryland’s Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation’s
online Workforce Dashboard. It was designed to help colleges,
businesses, and job seekers get a snapshot of employment opportunities
in the state, but also to allow the state to gather better data on
who’s looking for jobs, where, and with what skills, to improve
both monitoring and outreach efforts. As of now, not enough people are
using the Dashboard to make it a valuable tool.

“I know everyone’s got budget constraints, but why
don’t we all talk about how to market this more?” the governor
asks, and as is typical in these meetings, the attention turns to an
array of charts, maps, and digital reams of Excel spreadsheets, each
illustrating the
nuts and bolts

pl.n. Slang
The basic working components or practical aspects:
 of the program, the population it’s
serving, and the various outputs and inputs and outcomes over the past
few months. The idea is to use data like a scalpel to dissect how a
government program works, to pinpoint where, exactly, it’s breaking
down, and then to use these collaborative meetings to solve the problem
at hand.

“We gotta get those numbers up,” O’Malley says,
gesturing to one graph in particular and taking a bite of the sandwich.
In addition to the Department of Labor, the Departments of Business and
Economic Development (DBEV) and
Veterans Affairs

 are also present.
“What about DBEV? Can you guys help with this?” he asks, still
chewing.

And with that, the governor launches a spirited question-and-answer
session–he compares it to a cross-examination–that lasts for the
better part of forty-five minutes, his voice sometimes muffled by
mouthfuls of bread. As the meeting unspools, the topics shift, from the
jobs Web site to foreclosure rates to reducing
recidivism
 see criminology.
 among recently
released convicts.

Nearly an hour later, the governor stops for some air. He attends
meetings like this only about once every couple months, usually
delegating the day-to-day management to his executive staff, but
it’s clear he enjoys the role. He leans back in his chair and wipes
the smudges of his lunch off his iPad with his green-striped tie.
“Sorry, Sam,” he says, chuckling and turning to one of his
staffers, who usually heads up these meetings. “The witness is
yours!”

O’Malley is not the kind of person who’s afraid to take
over a meeting. “I’m an operations guy,” he tells me
afterward, partly by way of explanation. “I’ve always liked
digging into the numbers, figuring out
what’s going on

 and doing
the kind of analysis that the other guys won’t do.” In the
hallway after the meeting, two staffers
corroborate

 the point. He seems
so much more relaxed in meetings like that, they say, when he’s not
“doing all the politician stuff.”

In truth, O’Malley, who is fifty and handsome in a Kennedy
sort of way, has made a career out of all the politician stuff, chomping
his way up the political food chain like a man hungry for more than a
deli sandwich. After serving as a Baltimore city councilman in the
1990s, he was elected mayor of Baltimore in 1999 and then
governor of
Maryland

 seven years later, where he’ll remain until 2015. Because
of term limits, he can’t run again. Every
pundit

 in America has
predicted he’s going to run for president in 2016, and
O’Malley has done everything he can to encourage that speculation,
short of outright admitting it’s true.

As governor, he’s pushed a series of bills that are all but
guaranteed to impress Democratic primary and caucus voters three years
from now, on topics ranging from guns (against), gay marriage (for), the
death penalty (against), medical marijuana (for), and implementing Dream
Act-like policies at Maryland’s colleges and universities. Just as
Bill Clinton did in the 1980s, when he too was a relative unknown,
O’Malley has also sought positions in recent years that have
allowed him to
sidle
  
v. si·dled, si·dling, si·dles

v.intr.
1. To move sideways:

2.
 into the national-limelight. In both 2011 and 2012,
he served as chair of the Democratic Governors Association, and
he’s since stayed on as the finance chairman, which will allow him
to continue to meet top donors. During the election last year, he was a
regular fixture on the talk show circuit, often playing the role of
President Barack Obama’s personal at tack dog. In one interview
with ABC’s This Week last summer, O’Malley managed to mention
former Governor Mitt Romney’s “Swiss bank accounts” and
“offshore” tax havens seventeen times in
three minutes

 flat.

With that iron message discipline, plus his standing as one of the
Democrats’ most successful governors (with thirty statehouses in
GOP hands, the Dems’ roster is slim), O’Malley won a coveted
primetime speaking slot for the second time (he spoke in 2004, too) at
the Democratic National Convention last September. He whiffed it–again,
just as Clinton did in 1988–but spent the remaining time juggling a
packed schedule of schmooze, addressing swing state delegates by day and
jamming with his
Irish rock

 band, O’Malley’s March, by night.
In recent years, the governor has also made public forays into Iowa and

New Hampshire
 one of the New England states of the NE United States. It is bordered by Massachusetts (S), Vermont, with the Connecticut R. forming the boundary (W), the Canadian province of Quebec (NW), and Maine and a short strip of the Atlantic Ocean (E).
 and launched a political action committee, the O’Say
Can You See PAC, to raise money that he will be at liberty to
distribute, one of his critics groused, “like favor-doing fairy
dust,” to fellow Democrats before the midterm races in 2014.

Within Maryland, O’Malley’s reputation is middling and
wrapped up in his rocket-propelled trajectory. He is known to be
effective, but also brash and impatient. (He has a habit of feuding
publicly with officials who he doesn’t believe are doing their jobs
with enough zeal.) At this point, only 17 percent of Marylanders would
“definitely vote” for him if he ran for president,
according
to


prep.
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of:

2. In keeping with:

3.
 a recent Washington Post poll, a dismal showing that his critics
chalk up to what is often described as his ravenous ambition–a
characteristic that has tended to rub people the wrong way.

Outside of Maryland, O’Malley’s reputation is limited for
the most part to “Isn’t that the guy from The Wire?” The
creator of that famous, and famously cynical,
HBO

A form of oxygen therapy in which the patient breathes oxygen in a pressurized chamber.

Mentioned in: Ozone Therapy
 series about crime and
politics in
Baltimore, David
 , 1938–, American microbiologist, b. New York City, Ph.D. Rockefeller Univ., 1964.
 Simon, has said that O’Malley is just
one of several inspirations for his fictional, stats-driven mayor,
Tommy
Carcetti

, but it’s an association that has dogged the governor for
more than a decade, much to his chagrin.

But for the vast majority of Americans, O’Malley simply has no
reputation at all. Last fall, after giving a speech at Senator Tom
Harkin’s Iowa steak fry fund-raiser, a local woman told the
Washington Post that she thought the speech was fine, but she
couldn’t remember who was doing the talking. ”
Deval
Patrick

?” she says, mistaking him for the
governor of
Massachusetts

, who is black. “Oh damn … Mike McNally? An
Irish
name

?”

The truth is, what makes O’Malley stand out is not his
experience, his
gravitas
  
n.
1. Substance; weightiness:

2.
, nor his familiarity to voters (Hillary Clinton
and
Joe Biden

 crush him in those regards). Nor is it exactly his
policies or speeches (
New York
 Middle Atlantic state of the United States. It is bordered by Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and the Atlantic Ocean (E), New Jersey and Pennsylvania (S), Lakes Erie and Ontario and the Canadian province of
 Governor
Andrew Cuomo

 and Colorado
Governor
John Hickenlooper

, both rumored presidential aspirants, have
cultivated similar CVs). Nor is it that he plays in a band. Nor is it
even the Atlantic’s breathless claim last year that he has
“the best abs” in politics. (Beneath a photo of the fit
governor participating in the Maryland Special Olympics’ annual

Polar Bear
 large white bear, Ursus maritimus, formerly Thalarctos maritimus, of the coasts of arctic North America. Polar bears usually live on drifting pack ice, but sometimes wander long distances inland.
 Plunge, the author gushed, “What are they putting in the
water in Maryland?”) Instead, what makes O’Malley unique as a
politician is precisely the skill that was on display in that windowless
conference room in downtown Annapolis: he is arguably the best manager
working in government today.

That may not seem like a very flashy title–at
first blush

,
“Best Manager” sounds more like a
booby prize

n.
1. An award given to the one who performs worst in a game or contest.

2. Informal Acknowledgment of great inferiority, as in ability.
 than a claim a
politician might ride to the White House. But in an era where the very
idea of government is under assault, a politician’s capacity to
deliver on his or her promises, to actually make the bureaucracy work,
is an underappreciated skill.

Of course, it was a conservative president who most recently
demonstrated his
woeful
 also wo·ful  
adj.
1. Affected by or full of woe; mournful.

2. Causing or involving woe.

3. Deplorably bad or wretched:
 lack of such expertise (see George W. Bush,
administration of), but it is the liberal and
progressive bloc

 that
stakes its identity on a belief in government, and therefore has a
higher stake in getting government management right.

In 2012 Barack Obama
cobbled
  
n.
1. A cobblestone.

2. Geology A rock fragment between 64 and 256 millimeters in diameter, especially one that has been naturally rounded.

3. cobbles See cob coal.

tr.
 together a motley majority, unified by
a shared belief that the federal government can and should play a larger
role in solving the country’s common problems. The best way to
ensure that voting bloc’s enthusiasm for the Democrats lasts–and
the best hope to reduce some of the antigovernment anger on the other
side–is for government to deliver results. That means not only passing
big legislation, but also making sure that the programs that result, and
the rest of the government’s far-flung endeavors, actually work. It
means eliminating waste. It means funneling increasingly scarce
resources where they can make the most difference. It means making sure
that health care access grows while costs stay reasonable; that when
hurricanes hit, disaster relief arrives quickly; that big banks
don’t
implode

; that oil rigs don’t explode; that the murder
rate goes down and that student test scores go up. What we need in the
next president,
in other words

, is not just creative
policymaking
 or pol·i·cy-mak·ing  
n.
High-level development of policy, especially official government policy.

adj.
Of, relating to, or involving the making of high-level policy:
 and
politicking, but a willingness to drive the bureaucracy to perform. He
or she must have a passion for managing the government itself.

It’s a tough order to fill. Considering the growing complexity
and size of both the federal government and the challenges it has been
asked to address, many would characterize it as Sisyphean. But
fortunately, over the last couple of decades, through trial and error,
new systems of goal setting, data gathering, and accountability have
been developed in the public sector that attempt to give elected
officials some of the same tools corporate leaders use to demand
bottom-line results from their organizations. These new accountability
systems are hardly panaceas; in fact, they have disappointed more often
than they have succeeded. But it just so happens that the politician who
is most broadly recognized to have made them work the best is none other
than Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley.

O’Malley comes by his faith in politics and government
honestly. His parents, Barbara and Thomas O’Malley, raised their
six children in the shadow of two formidable ideologies: the Catholic
Church and the gospel of the Democratic Party.

Both
archetypal
  
n.
1. An original model or type after which other similar things are patterned; a prototype:
 members of the Greatest Generation, Barbara and
Thomas met in the early ’50s at the Democratic National Committee
headquarters in D.C. Barbara, the product of sturdy, German Democrats
from
Fort Wayne, Indiana

, joined the
Civil Air Patrol

 and got her
pilot’s license at sixteen, then volunteered for a local
congressman’s campaign. When he won, she followed him to D.C.–a
natural fit for a young woman who’d grown up collecting campaign
buttons at Democratic rallies. Thomas, to whom O’Malley owes his
Irish complexion, joined the Army Air Corps during World War II, flew
thirty-three missions over Japan in a bombardier, and returned home in
time for the GI Bill to put him through college and Georgetown Law. He
later became an assistant U.S. attorney at the Justice Department. He
passed away in 2006.

Both Barbara and Thomas were driven by a deep belief in the power
of government to do good. On the walls of the O’Malley family home
in
Rockville, Maryland

, there were photos of Franklin Delano Roosevelt,

John F. Kennedy

, and Martin Luther King dr., and dinner table
discussions were often about upcoming local and national campaigns. On
Martin O’Malley’s second birthday, in 1965, his parents got
him a cake that read “Martin for President 2004.” It was a
joke, of course, but the message was genuine. “There was always a
belief that politics is
an honorable profession

,” O’Malley
said of his childhood.

O’Malley’s devoutly Catholic upbringing, as well as his
educations at the Jesuit-run
Gonzaga College High School

 and Catholic
University, was also infused with an overarching sense of public, and
particularly political, service. It’s impossible, after all, to
walk to or from Gonzaga, where O’Malley was in the student council,
without being physically aware of the great force of American
government, dust step outside, and there it is, the Capitol Dome,
looming like a movie set. If O’Malley were to become president of
the
United States
 officially United States of America, republic (2005 est. pop. 295,734,000), 3,539,227 sq mi (9,166,598 sq km), North America. The United States is the world’s third largest country in population and the fourth largest country in area.
 one day, he’d be the first in history to have
been born and raised in the D.C. area, with the exception of George
Washington himself.

Student council aside, O’Malley’s first
foray into

 politics was as an undergraduate, when he took a semester off from
school to work for Gary Hart’s 1984 presidential campaign. He
eventually worked his way up the organization, leading the effort in
five states. “I felt like I’d gotten ten years older, but when
I came back, I was still in college,” he says of the experience. A
couple years later, as a law student at the
University of Maryland

,
O’Malley threw himself into another race: then Congresswoman
Barbara Mikulski’s 1986 bid for the U.S. Senate. It was over the
course of that campaign that O’Malley met the woman who would later
be his wife. Catherine (Katie) Curran, a fellow law student, was working
on her father 3. Joseph Curran 3r.’s successful bid for state
attorney general. O’Malley and Curran were married in 1990 and now
have two daughters, Grace and Tara, and two sons, Jack and William. For
the last twelve years, Curran O’Malley has served as an associate
judge on the District Court of Maryland.

After Mikulski joined the Senate in 1987, O’Malley went to
work in her office as a legislative fellow, then finished up law school
and passed the bar. Around the same time, Barbara O’Malley, who had
spent the past thirty-three years at home raising kids, landed a job in
Mikulski’s office too. Twenty-six years later, she’s still at
it, answering phones for the senator.

O’Malley himself didn’t linger long in Mikulski’s
office, however. After a stint with the state attorney for the city of
Baltimore, O’Malley again threw himself into a race–this time, as
the candidate. In 1990, he challenged incumbent Maryland
State Senator

 John A. Pica for his seat, launching a dogged grassroots campaign and
losing by a crushingly slim margin: just forty-four votes. A year later,
at twenty-eight years old, he won a seat on the
Baltimore City Council

,
a post he would hold for the next nine years.

It’s not for nothing that O’Malley’s political
coming of age happened during one of the bloodier periods in Baltimore
history. For most of the ’90s, “Bodymore, Murdaland” had
a murder rate nine times the national average, docking in at roughly one
body every thirty-six hours for a decade straight. Baltimore was,
perhaps unsurprisingly, also hemorrhaging its population at the same
time, losing nearly 85,000 residents to the suburbs and neighboring
states in the ’90s alone.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

It was during this period that O’Malley, like a lot of elected
officials and policy wonks around the country, desperate for a solution
for the inner-city war zones, became fascinated with new crime-fighting
techniques. At the top of the list was the
New York Police

 Department’s innovative new experiment, CompStat. Led by
NYPD

NYPD New York Play Development
 Chief
William Bratton and his deputy, Jack Maple, the idea was twofold. First,
you’d collect data on all the crime that was happening in the city,
map it, and then deploy police officers directly to those trouble spots.
(In Maple’s shorthand, you’d “put cops on the
dots.”) Second, and more fundamentally, you’d hold precinct
commanders accountable by making them report the weekly crime data from
their precincts, and then attend regular group meetings, where
they’d be cross-examined on them: Why are these numbers going up?
What can you do about it? Between 1993 and 1998, New York’s
homicide rate dropped by 67 percent.

In the mid-’90s, O’Malley and a small team of city
officials traveled up to New York with notepads and cameras to observe a
CompStat meeting, and by the time O’Malley returned home, he was
“a
true believer

n.
One who is deeply, sometimes fanatically devoted to a cause, organization, or person:  
,” to borrow his own words. He spent the last
few years of his time on the city council trying to get then Police
Commissioner Thomas Frazier to implement the program in Baltimore, too.
(When Frazier resisted the young councilman’s entreaties,
O’Malley accused him of shirking his duties, sparking a public feud
that lasted for years.) O’Malley’s total belief in the
CompStat model would define his political career.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

In 1999, O’Malley stood at an intersection in Northwest
Baltimore, a known drug-selling corner, and announced his intention to
run for Baltimore city mayor. His platform? A single,
resounding
  
v. re·sound·ed, re·sound·ing, re·sounds

v.intr.
1. To be filled with sound; reverberate:

2.
, and
highly unlikely promise: to reduce the city’s crime rate by 50
percent. In a city
riven
  
v. rived, riv·en also rived, riv·ing, rives

v.tr.
1. To rend or tear apart.

2. To break into pieces, as by a blow; cleave or split asunder.

3.
 by racial politics, the cards were stacked
against the young, white councilman, but in August, in the nick of time,
he got lucky. Former State General Assembly Delegate Howard R Rawlings,
who is black, endorsed him, and in September, O’Malley walked away
with the Democratic primary–the equivalent, in Baltimore, of victory.
(Twelve years later, O’Malley would return the favor, endorsing
Rawlings’s daughter, the current mayor of Baltimore, Stephanie
Rawlings-Blake.) O’Malley took the general election in a landslide.

Two days after election night, months before he’d even taken
the oath of office, O’Malley recruited Jack Maple, the guru of
CompStat, and his business partner, John Linder. Their task? Bring
CompStat to Baltimore, star. Almost immediately, the duo launched a
comprehensive review of the
Baltimore Police Department

 (BPD), and in
early 2000 they delivered eighty-seven suggestions of reform to both
O’Malley and his brand-new police commissioner, Ronald L. Daniel.
That’s when the trouble began.

In March, Daniel rejected half of Maple and Linder’s
suggestions out of hand and, after a series of closed-door meetings,
unexpectedly quit. The city was rocked. Daniel, who was a
well-respected, longtime member of the BPD, and black, had seemed like a
good bet, and here he was leaving after just fifty-seven days on the
job. What was this new mayor up to? To make matters worse, O’Malley
replaced Daniel with a former NYPD official and old CompStat hand,
Edward T. Norris, who is white. In the mostly black city,
hackles

 went
up. CompStat’s model of ”
zero tolerance

” policing had by
that point already been associated with civil rights abuses and higher

police brutality

 rates. (During the election, one of
O’Malley’s opponents had circulated postcards with an image of
the
Rodney King

 beating and the words “Are you ready for zero
tolerance?” On the back was a photo of O’Malley.) Meanwhile,
Maple and Linder–“O’Malley’s New York consultants,”
as they were
invariably
  
adj.
Not changing or subject to change; constant.


in·vari·a·bil
 described by the media–and their $2,000-a-day
consulting fee, were staying on.

The Baltimore Sun, betting against the young mayor, launched a new
feature. Every day, it would run a chalk outline of a dead person, the
kind you see at a crime scene, next to two figures: the number of
homicides that had occurred the previous year on this date and the
number of homicides that had occurred so far this year. It seemed to be
intended
to throw down the gauntlet

: So you say you’ll reduce crime
by 50 percent? We’d like to see you try.

In March, O’Malley, having played all his cards with an
ambitious campaign promise and a rocky start, redoubled his effort. He
and Norris–a fast-talking, leather jacket-wearing, motorcycle-driving,
’70s-era police movie kind of guy–began to meet nearly every day
and often several times a day. Officials who were around at the time
remember their relationship as a marriage. “They saw more of each
other than anyone else,” one former staffer told me. Norris, who
had been in charge of coordinating the NYPD’s CompStat meetings,
began to implement an almost identical program at the BPD, while
O’Malley cleared the path politically, throwing the weight of his
office behind the new program. They brought in computers to map where
crime was happening; retrained precinct commanders to deploy the
3,100-member force accordingly; began collecting and analyzing crime
data for the whole city on a biweekly basis; and held regular meetings
where all the leaders in the police force would gather and discuss the
trends.

Meanwhile, O’Malley helped to create a special task force of
seventy-five police officers to eliminate a backlog of un-served arrest
warrants–a job that had, under the previous administration, fallen to
just four overwhelmed souls. The move was intended to zero in on what
Norris called “a small core of criminals,” and in 2000 alone
it helped police officers arrest, interrogate, and charge more than 250
suspects who had already been implicated in recent homicides and
nonfatal shootings. Partly as a result, the rate of solved cases began
to climb. In 1999, the police had solved 54 percent of homicides; by the
end of 2000, they had solved 80 percent.

O’Malley and Norris’s efforts were also buttressed by an
infusion of new recruits, courtesy of then President Bill Clinton’s
COPS Program, which was launched in 1994 to help support local community
policing efforts. Over the course of nearly a decade, Baltimore was
awarded a total of $58 million and was able to hire nearly 900 police
officers.

Despite incremental progress, it was slow going at first, and in
the spring and early summer, the crime rate even appeared to be
climbing. But by the fall, at last, it began to tick downward. By the
following January–one year into O’Malley’s first term–the
number of homicides per year had dropped below 300 for the first time in
a decade. In 1999, there were 305 murders; by 2000, there were 262. Two
years later, there were 253. While the homicide rate from there on out
climbed slightly and then remained stubbornly high throughout the rest
of O’Malley’s term as mayor, the broad downward trend in crime
as a whole continued. By 2005, robberies and aggravated assaults were
down by a third, and the overall crime rate in Baltimore had dropped by
at least 24 percent.

Even before CompStat had gotten off the ground, back in early 2000,
O’Malley was eager to expand the concept to other realms. The idea
of closely monitoring data and tracking weekly and biweekly progress
toward explicit goals appealed to him. It was a way to break down
daunting problems into bite-sized pieces, to move, incrementally, in the
right direction. It must have felt, in some ways, like a game. In June
2000, just six months after becoming mayor,

O’Malley and his team launched a new city-wide program.
CitiStat, as it was called, would be just like CompStat, O’Malley
announced, but instead of applying only to the police force, it would
apply to every agency in the city. dust as the police commanders had
been asked to gather data, set measurable goals, and convene at biweekly
performance reviews, so would the agency heads. If CompStat was built on
Maple’s premise that the police force should “put cops on the
dots,” CitiStat was built on a similar, if less catchy idea–that
agencies should deploy their limited resources to the areas that would
pack the most punch.

Among those who work in the small world of government
performance–a field that, for a variety of reasons, tends to move at
glacial speed–CitiStat was seen as a potential game changer. While the
CompStat model had been making waves in the criminal justice circuit
since the early ’90s and a handful of non-police organizations,
like New York City’s Parks Department, had begun to apply the
concept on an agency-wide scale, no one had ever tried it with an entire
city. If this worked, they thought, it could really change the way we do
things, says Robert Behn, a lecturer at Harvard’s Kennedy School of
Government, who studies government performance. “All eyes were on
Baltimore,” he says.

When CitiStat launched in dune 2000, Baltimore City Hall was a
mess. If a citizen requested a basic service, like having a downed tree
removed or a
pothole
 in geology, cylindrical pit formed in the rocky channel of a turbulent stream. It is formed and enlarged by the abrading action of pebbles and cobbles that are carried by eddies, or circular water currents that move against the main current of a stream.
 filled, it would often take multiple calls to reach
an operator and then days, or sometimes weeks, to see a response. City
officials often showed up late, or drunk, or not at all, and in many
instances they seemed to lack the basic information necessary to do
their job. One day, O’Malley asked an agency head how many cars and
trucks the city had at its disposal. He was given an answer that turned
out to be about 2,000 vehicles off the mark.

Where to begin? “The first thing we did was throw all the data
we had about the city into charts and maps and graphs to see what was
going on,” says Matt Gallagher, who was hired in 2000 to coordinate
the brand-new CitiStat program, along with O’Malley’s deputy
mayor and childhood friend, Michael Enright. (Gallagher is now the
governor’s chief of staff.) Once they had the data in one place,
the men “sat down with the numbers” and discovered that rates
of absenteeism, overtime, and workers’ compensation claims were
staggeringly high. Using off-the-shelf software–mostly Excel
spreadsheets–they figured out which departments were filing the most
overtime, which individuals were responsible for most of the
absenteeism, and how long, on average, it was taking employees to get
back to work after they had been injured. Then they began meeting with
the agencies to figure out what was going on.

What they discovered was an extraordinary amount of waste,
redundancy, and poor management. Some of it was easily fixable. Simply
redrawing the Animal Control employees’ daffy routes, for example,
saved that team more than 10 percent in overtime. But other problems
were harder to suss out. For example, at one of the early CitiStat
meetings with the Department of Public Works, Gallagher and Enright
asked the new head of the department why he wasn’t firing employees
who were chronically absent without reason. After a while, he
reluctantly admitted that it was because as soon as an employee was
fired, the budget department would eliminate that position in the name
of salary savings. For him, he said, it was better to have an unreliable
employee than no employee at all. That discovery was, as such things go,
a eureka moment. O’Malley’s team subsequently met with the
budget office, changed their policies, and then went back to the agency
heads, empowering them to make changes of their own.

Progress was, again, incremental–a percentage point increase this
week, a half percent the next–but after a year, it began to add up. By
mid-2001, absenteeism had dropped by nearly 50 percent in some agencies,
and overtime costs had dropped by 40 percent city-wide, excluding the
police department. By the end of the year, the city had saved $6 million
in overtime pay alone and $13.2 million in personnel costs. By 2003,
savings were up $40 million. By 2007, the mayor’s office announced
that CitiStat had saved a total of $350 million, mostly by cutting
waste, according to a 2003 report by the
IBM

 Endowment for the Business
of Government.

In the summer of 2000, O’Malley and his team had started with
just one hunk of the government, the Bureau of Solid Waste Management,
and by the end of O’Malley’s first term every department in
the city had a CitiStat meeting. By 2003, they had also revamped
Baltimore’s 311 call center so city officials could compile a list
of citizens’ needs and complaints, track the time it took different
departments to deliver services, and improve the response, agency by
agency. In 2002, if a citizen complained about a missed trash pickup, he
was likely to wait for days. By 2004, the trash would be whisked away
within twenty-four hours 82 percent of the time. In 2002, it took more
than week to remove an abandoned vehicle; by 2004, it took
rive
  
v. rived, riv·en also rived, riv·ing, rives

v.tr.
1. To rend or tear apart.

2. To break into pieces, as by a blow; cleave or split asunder.

3.
 days.
“It became this game of limbo,” Gallagher says. “Say it
took two weeks to clean a dirty alley. Once we got to an 80 percent
completion rate within two weeks, we would drop the bar and say
we’re going to do it in ten days, and then seven. Productivity
increased, but people also started seeing it as a challenge. How low can
we go?”

When attempting to describe what CitiStat is, people often
reference Moneyball, that 2003 book by Michael Lewis, which was later
made into a movie starring Brad Pitt. In it, Billy Beane, the general
manager of the Oak land Athletics, uses a series of data points to drive
his scouting decisions and, in doing so, successfully assembles a crack
baseball team on a budget. The same general theory applies to
O’Malley’s style of governance: you collect all the data you
can, week after week, until eventually you start to see trends–which
program has the most impact? Which doesn’t seem to be working at
all? And that’s where those regularly scheduled, collaborative,
data-driven meetings come in. Every other week or once a month, you get
together with a department’s leadership, look at the data, see what
the department is doing right or wrong, and then make a game plan for
what should happen next.

The idea of CitiStat is not exactly revolutionary in concept, but
in the world of government performance, it’s been ground-breaking.
In 2004, Harvard University’s Ash Center for Democratic Governance
and Innovations praised CitiStat for making the city’s government
more cost-effective and accountable. By 2007, Baltimore City Hall had
become a Mecca of sorts for visiting delegations from all over the
country, who’d come to observe the program in action. After a
while, so many delegations were traipsing through the city hall,
O’Malley joked that CitiStat had become his “tourism promotion
tool.”

For the most part, however, other cities that tried to emulate
CitiStat were not successful. So why did it work in Baltimore? Behn, who
studies these programs across the country, credits, among other things,
O’Malley’s leadership. For one, O’Malley stands out among
most politicians because he has been willing to set measurable
goals–something most politicians avoid because it can have the effect
of “setting you up for failure,” Behn said. “If you
don’t reach the number you put out there, you’ve given your
opponents some talking points.” Behn also credits what he calls
O’Malley’s “executive buy-in.” Implementing a
program like CitiStat demands a significant cultural shift in a
bureaucracy, “so the message from the very top has to be, ‘You
can’t just keep your head down and wait for us to stop asking
questions. This isn’t going away. I’m here and I’m
watching,'” he said.

It’s also helpful that O’Malley is, by all counts, a bit
of a wonk by nature. When he starts talking about an agency’s
statistics or getting “graphs moving in the right
direction”–his favorite phrase–his eyelids peak into perfect pink
triangles and his voice speeds up. While discussing different projects
with me over the course of reporting this story, he would regularly cite
numbers from progress reports and memos, clicking fluently through data
sheets to get to the graph he was looking for, and rattling off
statistics. (“If I say something wrong, raise the bullshit
flag,” he told a few members of his staff who were gathered around.
Once, someone corrected him by a couple percentage points, but for the
most part he was spot on.) Part of it, clearly, is that he enjoys the
numbers, but the other part is strategic. “If I see one of the
secretaries at the elevator, I want to be able to say, ‘How’s
that going? I notice those numbers were going down,'”
O’Malley told me. “It’s important that they know I’m
paying attention.”

While O’Malley’s CompStat and CitiStat are fairly widely
regarded as successes–both are still being used today under Mayor
Rawlings-Blake–they are not without their pitfalls and energetic
critics. Baltimore city officials, for example, regularly complained
that CitiStat simply demands that they collect and analyze more data
with less money and staff, and then submit to grueling
cross-examinations at biweekly meetings. (The Sun once described a
department head at a CitiStat meeting “looking as if he needs a
cigarette and a
blindfold

.”) Others, including criminologists,
insist that the media has been too quick to credit CompStat for
reductions in crime. In the past decade, crime rates have dropped across
the country for reasons criminologists can’t pinpoint. Some
attribute it to the fact that people stopped using leaded paint and
gasoline; others correlate it with weather patterns and street lights.
Tweezing causality from correlation is never an easy task.

In late 2005, when O’Malley announced his intention to run for
governor of Maryland, the campaign became as much a referendum on
O’Malley as it was on CompStat and CitiStat. When attacking
O’Malley personally, his political opponents tended to paint him as

derisive
  
adj.
Mocking; jeering.


de·risive·ly adv.

de·ri
, citing, among other things, his public feud with Baltimore
State’s Attorney Patricia C. Jessamy, who O’Malley believed
was not being ambitious enough with her prosecutions. (Once, he
unleashed a profanity-strewn tirade about the attorney in front of
reporters.) “He has his own game plan in mind,” one former
city employee told me recently. “You’re either with it, or
you’re off the team.”

When attacking CompStat and CitiStat, however, O’Malley’s
critics were often even more damning, objecting to what they saw as the
twin dangers not only of those programs but of data-driven systems of
performance in general. The first is that an administration can
consciously manipulate the stats in order to make its performance look
better than it is. The second is that the measures themselves can

incentivize
  
tr.v. in·cen·tiv·ized, in·cen·tiv·iz·ing, in·cen·tiv·iz·es
To offer incentives or an incentive to; motivate:
 the bureaucracy to play games with the numbers in ways that
management neither anticipates nor notices–to the detriment of
citizens. For example, in surveys conducted by criminologists in 2010
and 2012, retired NYPD officers reported that their fellow officers
would cite a lower value for stolen goods in order to reduce the charges
from a felony to a misdemeanor.

As mayor, and since leaving the mayor’s office, O’Malley
has stood accused of both–by political opponents, civil rights groups,
labor advocates, and by another, more slippery force: Hollywood. In one
episode of David Simon’s HBO series, The Wire, various agencies of
a fictional Baltimore, scrambling to make it seem like their numbers had
improved before a weekly “Comstat” meeting, resort to messing
with the numbers. “Juking the stats,” one character says
knowingly. “Making robberies into larcenies. Making rapes
disappear. You juke the stats, and majors become colonels. I’ve
been here before.” In 2002, O’Malley had been there, too, but
in real life. During an internal audit, the BPD found that officers had
been undercounting the number of rapes that had occurred in the city.

The official total was 178, when it should have been 211. While the
problem was, in fairness, discovered by the O’Malley administration
itself, the revelation became a useful political bludgeon for
O’Malley’s opponents, who later would call loudly for more
external audits, casting shadows of doubt on O’Malley’s
progress.

Civil rights advocates, for their part, have been less concerned
with allegations that O’Malley was juking the stats and more
concerned that his data-driven programs were creating damaging
incentives for police officers to make their numbers look good. In 2006,
the American Civil Liberties Union (
ACLU
 see American Civil Liberties Union.
) and the National Association
for the Advancement of Colored People (
NAACP

) brought a lawsuit against
Maryland on the grounds that O’Malley’s policies as mayor had
caused the number of illegal arrests and instances of police harassment
of law-abiding citizens to skyrocket during his tenure. Indeed,
according to city records, in 2005, police made 108,000
arrests–that’s one for every six people in the city at the time.

In 2010, the state settled the cases out of court. The BPD has
since rejected “zero-tolerance” policies, established new
protocols for minor infractions, and agreed to allow independent
observers
to keep an eye on

 police actions. (In 2012, police made fewer
than 53,000 arrests.) O’Malley has said that he does not see the
ACLU/NAACP lawsuit, or the state’s decision to settle it, as a
rebuke of CompStat, which, he says, never encouraged officers to be more
aggressive in their arrests.

Of course, the issue, and O’Malley’s response to it,
reflects a larger debate playing out in headlines across the nation
today. In April, yet another instance of teachers cheating in order to
raise their schools’ test scores came to light, drawing fire from
critics not only of policies like No Child Left Behind, but of
data-driven systems in general, which, they say, often encourage
appalling behavior. Proponents of such systems, and O’Malley
himself, argue that while dangers like cheating and juking stats are
real, they can be mitigated, and the value of using data-driven
techniques outweighs those costs. (After all, when companies like
WorldCom and Enron juked their internal accounting numbers, we
didn’t respond by eliminating accounting standards; we tightened
them up with Sarbanes-Oxley.) Harry Hatry, a fellow at the Urban
Institute long involved in data-driven governance efforts, says the
problem of misaligned incentives “is real–it’s a major
problem, and we don’t do enough about it.” But he suggested
the solution is to collect more data, in the form of surveys, for
example–not to scrap the metrics altogether.

That ongoing debate has characterized much of O’Malley’s
recent career. On the campaign trail in 2006, for example,
O’Malley’s Democratic rival, Montgomery County Executive
Douglas Duncan, as well as the incumbent governor, Bob Ehrlich, who is
Republican, tussled with O’Malley again over what they called his
“fuzzy math.” In his stump speeches, O’Malley claimed
that violent crime had dropped by 37 percent during his time as mayor,
giving Baltimore the second-fastest crime rate reduction in the country.
His opponents, however, argued that crime had dropped by 24 percent,
giving Baltimore only the sixth-fastest crime reduction rate in the
country.

Both were right–depending on what baseline you looked at. In 1999,
an audit by Linder & Associates found that the BPD had been
mis-categorizing assaults, thereby artificially reducing the violent
crime rate. If you re-categorized those assaults, the overall instances
of violent crime would appear to spike dramatically. When O’Malley
became mayor in 2000, he did just that. As a result, both the crime rate
and the percentage by which he was able to cut crime appeared
substantially higher. If you used the new baseline, his numbers were
right; if you used the old baseline, his opponents’ numbers were.
While the controversy cast a
pallor
 /pal·lor/ () paleness, as of the skin.


n.
Paleness, as of the skin.
 on the election, it didn’t
change its course. In June 2006, Duncan dropped out of the race, leaving
O’Malley to win the Democratic primary and sweep into the
governor’s mansion.

Less than a month after taking the oath of office in January 2007,
O’Malley held a press conference. During the half-hour
presentation, in which the new governor “alternately sounded like a
policy wonk and deadpan comic,” the Washington Post reported,
O’Malley laid out his plan to implement CitiStat at the state
level. The predictably named State-Star would span all state agencies,
he said, and, like CitiStat, include issue-specific programs to focus on
cross-agency problems. Gallagher, who had helped launch CitiStat, would
launch StateStat, too. With Maryland facing more than a billion-dollar
projected budget shortfall the following year and state agencies
unaccustomed to stringent oversight, O’Malley predicted at the
press conference that there would be ”
growing pains

pl.n.
Pains in the limbs and joints of children or adolescents, frequently occurring at night and often attributed to rapid growth but arising from various unrelated causes.
,” he said.
That was, it turned out, a major understatement.

Ten months later, Maryland was slammed, along with the rest of the
country, by the recession (which O’Malley invariably and loyally
refers to as “the Bush Recession”). With unemployment and
foreclosures skyrocketing, and businesses shuttering their doors left
and right, critics questioned whether that was the time to roll out a
fancy new managerial tool at the state level. O’Malley and his
team, however, were committed to it. By mapping government services with
data, they argued, they could be more efficient with the increasingly
strapped resources they had.

Early on, the primary challenges of applying CitiStat at the state
level were of both scale and philosophy. CitiStat had been tailored to
Baltimore’s $2.4 billion budget and 15,000 employees, while
StateStat needed to stretch to Maryland’s $30 billion budget and
80,000 employees. Beyond the mere logistics, it quickly became clear
that the role StateStat had to play would also have to be different.
While a city is expected to provide tangible services, a state
government’s role is more that of a liaison between federal
agencies, counties, and municipalities. Simply accurately tracking an
agency’s progress became trickier. If your goal is to clear downed
trees quickly and efficiently, you’re dealing with a finite number
of moving parts; if you’re trying to increase the number of
woman–and minority-owned businesses across the state, you’re
dealing with a much broader network of causes and incremental solutions,
many of which tend to slip through the cracks of an Excel spreadsheet.
“There can be a hundred reasons why the needle’s not
moving,” said Catherine Motz, O’Malley’s deputy chief of
staff, who helps run StateStat. “So you have to start thinking
about the problems from a wider angle.” The solution, in many
cases, was to use StateStat as a tool to help push agencies out of their
hierarchical silos–the natural state of most bureaucracies–and force
them to work together to solve statewide problems.

The first StateStat program, known as BayStat, is an example of
such collaboration. It hinges on the participation of six state agencies
to reduce pollution in the Chesapeake Bay-a challenge that falls under
the jurisdiction of no single agency. Under BayStat, the
Department of
Natural Resources

 has been working closely with the Department of Public
Safety and Correctional Services, which has organized battalions of
inmates to plant bay grass and more than a million trees in strategic
locations. That new growth helps prevent runoff and stop erosion, two of
the major causes of pollution in the bay. Under the same program,
inmates have also made more than 9,000 metal cages to seed baby oysters,
which help to filter the bay water and buttress the local economy.

Another collaborative StateStat program is partially responsible
for helping to launch the most far-reaching statewide health information
exchange in the country. A couple years ago, the Chesapeake Regional
Information System for Our Patients (CRISP) was slow in getting off the
ground because hospital CEOs were uncertain about signing on to a new
program. Made aware of the problem through a State-Stat review,
O’Malley convened a meeting with the state’s top hospital
CEOs. Once they were all there, he “pointed at each one and said,
‘Are you going to participate? Are you going to
participate?'” said Scott Afzal, a program director at CRISP,
chuckling at the memory. “That kind of commitment doesn’t
happen in other states.” CRISP is now working with Maryland
hospitals to track and share information about patients (with the
patients’ consent), so that, among other things, an emergency room
doctor in, say, Anne Arundel County, knows if his patient was recently
treated over in Montgomery County. CRISP, a nonprofit funded by state,
federal, and private sources, is also beginning to partner with primary
care doctors, so that doctors receive an email when one of their
patients is admitted to a Maryland hospital.

Getting independent state agencies to work together is one of the
toughest jobs a governor faces. In March, after sitting in on a
StateStat performance review, O’Malley pointed me to precisely that
challenge in his own government. At the meeting, I had listened to three
assembled agencies–the Departments of Labor, Licensing and Regulation
(
DLLR
 
), Business and Economic Development (DBEV), and Veterans Affairs
(VA)–discuss how to solve the problem of veteran unemployment in the
state. Each had passed the responsibility like a hot potato. “So
the VA guys are like, ‘We don’t do job placement. That’s
DBEV.’ But DBEV does high-level outreach, so they don’t do it.
They say it’s DLLR,” O’Malley said, giving me a recap.
“So now it’s DLLR’s job to hire veteran specialists to
place veterans–and that’s not the VA’s thing? How much sense
does that make?”

O’Malley, who is clearly fluent in the way that government
functions behind the scenes (as well as in his agencies’ awkward
abbreviations), pointed out the absurdity that can arise when agencies
don’t work together, and executives are not aware of how services
are being delivered. During the debate about the sequester earlier this
year, for example, Congress was careful not to cut Veterans Affairs. But
if Congress had just dug a little deeper, it would have seen that many
of the programs that actually affect veterans are run by the Departments
of Labor, Housing, and Education. “People don’t understand how
the government works,” O’Malley said. “But that’s
what StateStat can help with. You can use it to shine a light on
what’s really going on.”

The complexity that O’Malley is grappling with is one of the
central dilemmas at every level of government today. Because of
long-standing fears of centralized control, the majority of government
programs in America are structured in tiers. In some cases, federal,
state, and local governments share administrative duties. In other
cases, private entities, like nonprofits or corporate contractors, work
with one or more levels of government to deliver services on a
contractual basis. This results in often clumsy, slow services and high
administrative costs. Citizens, flummoxed, can’t figure out who to
hold accountable for what.

Johns Hopkins University
 mainly at Baltimore, Md. Johns Hopkins in 1867 had a group of his associates incorporated as the trustees of a university and a hospital, endowing each with $3.5 million. Daniel C.
 political scientist Steven Teles predicts
that the growing complexity of government, rather than its size, will be
the issue that dominates American politics over the next thirty years.
If so, politicians who have figured out how to “shine a light
on” that complexity, like O’Malley, will be crucial to making
government work.

Halfway through his second term as governor, O’Malley has a
handful of big legislative victories to be proud of, as well as some
managerial ones. While his state, along with the rest of the county, is
still limping from the recession, he can brag about the fact that the
Maryland school system has been ranked first in the nation for five
years running, up from third place in 2008; that his administration was
able to hold down the cost of tuition at state colleges and
universities; and that crime rates, following trends across the country,
are the lowest ever recorded in the state. He can also brag about
incremental but important progress on issues like pollution in the
Chesapeake and eliminating the
DNA
 see nucleic acid.


DNA
 or deoxyribonucleic acid

One of two types of nucleic acid (the other is RNA); a complex organic compound found in all living cells and many viruses. It is the chemical substance of genes.
 backlog from Maryland’s criminal
justice sector.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Since 2007, StateStat, like CitiStat, has also become a model for
analysts and researchers who study government performance, as well as
practitioners of the confused art. In recent years, O’Malley’s
team in Annapolis, like his team in Baltimore, has become an attraction
for visitors, who come to see how StateStat works. Since 2007,
O’Malley has hosted governors from more than a dozen other states
and leaders from all over the world, from Peru to Pakistan, from China
to Northern Ireland. In 2008, the Obama administration turned to
O’Malley’s programs as inspiration for its model of how to
manage the federal bureaucracy. And in 2009, Governing, magazine put
O’Malley on the cover of its issue highlighting the country’s
best public servants. He was the only governor in the spread. In the
last thirteen years, O’Malley’s general data-driven managerial
style has even earned its own name among those who study such things:
Performance-Stat. Behn, the Harvard lecturer, is writing a whole book
about it.

While O’Malley may have considerable bragging rights from his
time as mayor and governor, if he runs for president, he’ll still
have some serious explaining to do. For one, his passage of laws banning
the death penalty, regulating gun purchases, and approving an offshore
wind farm will certainly
endear
  
tr.v. en·deared, en·dear·ing, en·dears
To make beloved or very sympathetic:
 him to Democratic primary voters, but
there’s not a lot in his record so far that will warm the hearts of
more conservative, but persuadable, voters in states like Ohio,
Virginia, and Nevada, which he very well might need in a general
election. Same goes for his recent move to increase the gas tax for the
first time in two decades. While it’s no doubt a boon for
Maryland’s infrastructure, it’s generally a wildly unpopular
policy among average voters of any stripe. David Ferguson, the chairman
of the Maryland Republicans, recently wrote in a media brief that
O’Malley, “determined to become President of the United
States,” is pursuing a “radical social agenda,”
“‘checking the boxes’ for the most extreme and liberal
Democratic Party primary voters.” O’Malley has not crossed any
of his own liberal base groups, which might signal ideological
independence the way, say, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has
occasionally run afoul of conservatives. Nor has he exactly styled
himself as a great unifier–for years he has stoked a trans-Potomac feud
with Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell, who is Republican.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

But perhaps O’Malley’s lefty, and loyally Democratic,
credentials could also be an asset–particularly if he’s aiming for
the penultimate spot on the ticket. His ironclad message discipline,
combined with his roles as cheerful fund-raiser, proxy campaigner, and
loyal attack dog during the election last year, could be seen by many as
an impressive tryout for vice president. And should Hillary Clinton run,
surely her people will not have forgotten that, during the heated 2008
primary, O’Malley was the Maryland state chair of Hillary’s
campaign from 2007 to 2008.

More importantly, in recent White Houses, vice presidents have
often taken on key managerial roles in the government. That proved
disastrous in the case of Dick Cheney, but Al Gore, who was responsible
for driving the largely successful Reinventing Government program in the
’90s, did a much better job. Joe Biden, who spearheaded the project
tracking stimulus spending, which has been successful in minimizing
fraud, also did well. O’Malley, given his history, would be a
natural fit for that role–a fact he’s probably aware of. In April,
chafing at accusations that he was too far left, he began referring to
himself as a “performance-driven progressive,” and describing
his management style in an interview with Bloomberg as a
“fundamentally different way of governing.”

Should he get that far, O’Malley could take on the traditional
VP role at a time when the federal government is uniquely primed for it.
In 2010, the Obama administration passed the
GPRA

GPRA General Practice Registrars Australia
 Modernization Act,
which re-ups and codifies the Clinton-era performance management program
and includes some new requirements, some of which were directly inspired
by CitiStat and StateStat, including regularly scheduled performance
reviews. (See “A Short History of Data-Driven Government,”
page 45.)

Of course, skillfully managing the federal government is a job for
neither the
cynic
  
n.
1. A person who believes all people are motivated by selfishness.

2. A person whose outlook is scornfully and often habitually negative.

3.
 nor the faint of heart. It’s an enormously
complex task, to say the least, and no president or vice president in
recent memory–none perhaps since Franklin Delano Roosevelt–has tackled
it with any holistic success. But when I asked O’Malley if he
thought it was even possible–is StateStat even scalable to the federal
level? FedStat, anyone?–he considered it for a minute, admitted the
enormous difficulties of the job, and said yes. Then, putting his feet
up on the desk in front of him, he transitioned from
O’Malley-the-wonky-manager to
O’Malleythe-guy-who-actually-likes-all-that-politician-stuff.

“You know,” he said, “I think the truth is we need
FedStat. At a time when people are so very cynical about what our public
institutions are capable of delivering, the power of openness and
transparency and the willingness of leaders to make themselves
vulnerable by declaring goals could well restore that essential trust
that we need in order to bring forth a new era of progress.” He
stopped, nodding at the cadence of his own thoughts.

Then, like a hundred reporters before me, I broached the subject of
2016. If he were to go to Washington, D.C., I asked, would he be the one
to implement “FedStat”? His face broke into a broad grin.

“Yeah,” he said. “I don’t know any other way to
govern.”

Haley Sweetland Edwards is an editor at the Washington Monthly.