CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Aug. 17, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- The Public Sector Consortium announced today that its innovative leadership skills training program Leadership Matters RI has been a huge success in the Ocean State, and is reaping rewards throughout the state's cities and towns. To date, the PSC, a national nonprofit dedicated to the "reinvention of public leadership for the public good," has worked with the cities/towns, legislators, and School departments from Bristol, Pawtucket, Middletown, and Newport. New teams from Portsmouth, Central Falls, Cumberland, and other towns will be starting in the fall.
"We have partnered with proactive city and town leaders, public educators, university leaders, and elected legislators across Rhode Island, providing them with the skills to take a system-wide strategic approach to complex challenges," said Georgie Bishop, President of the Public Sector Consortium, which is committed to helping public leaders improve performance and service. "It's not always easy to shift ingrained ways of doing business, but once leaders experience how the new skills can help them be more effective, lower their stress levels, and achieve better results, it transforms how work gets done," continued Bishop.
Leadership Matters RI is a joint initiative between the Pell Center at Salve Regina University in Newport, R.I. and the PSC. It begins with skills training (facilitative leadership practices, systems thinking, negotiations, and systems alignment for high performance) with teams from RI cities and towns, the state legislature, non-profits, and schools departments. In the second phase, leaders return to their workplaces where they receive coaching and expanded training to support their proposed innovation projects to improve public services in their respective city and town or organization. Almost a year later, a final best practices session takes place at which leaders share the lessons learned from their work with leaders throughout the state.
In year one a team led by Pawtucket Mayor Don Grebien (that included the CFOs for the city and the school department and the mayor's chief of staff) tackled the alignment of Finance, Information Technology, and Human Resources. In a state where city and school department budgets are separate and can be a point of conflict and inefficiencies, Pawtucket's system (Finance, HR, IT) alignments are revolutionary in Rhode Island. Their hard work over the last three years has resulted in savings and better services.
In year two, the Pawtucket Superintendent for Schools, Patti DiCenso with her team used Leadership Matters RI as their focus to solve a citywide problem - high student suspension rates and the resulting number of school days missed. "Suspension rates affect not just the students but also their families and the businesses where their parents work," said Superintendent DiCenso. The number of days missed due to suspensions between the 2014-2015 school year and the 2015-2016 school year dropped from 469 to 26, a 94% drop in grammar schools, from 972 to 308, a 68% drop in middle schools, and from 726 to 307, a 58% drop in high schools.
In Newport town officials are projecting a yearly savings of over $40,000 in staff hours for the city after wrapping up the first phase of re-engineering an outdated citywide special events licensing application process that applied skills and practices learned from Leadership Matters RI. "The internal approval process for our special events licensing applications was dated and wasted hours of time, said Newport Fire Chief Pete Connerton who led this year's team from Newport. Using new tools learned during the program, the team worked together effectively to identify a methodology using existing software programs to allow the approvals by all departments to be recorded electronically using digital signatures.
Using lessons learned during Leadership Matters RI, town officials in Bristol are managing projects and engaging stakeholders much more effectively. The "Bristol Approach to Excellence" was devised to help department heads manage better and keep citizens more updated on current town projects and to use a communications format that groups similar projects together. City Councilors and citizens have applauded these efforts, which make their participation more effective. Through the use of different tracking and project communication formats the progress of Bristol town projects are in real-time, providing more responsive and transparent service for all.
An energy savings project in Bristol is just one example of projects being tracked. Town officials recently completed an energy audit to convert town buildings along with town streetlights to more energy-efficient heating and lighting, which will ultimately generate savings.
As a result of the PSC's Leadership Matters RI program municipal departments and school officials are seeing improvements in process efficiencies, and ultimately improving services to their constituents and the community at large. Public workers are working smarter and are better able to identify and implement improvements. The long-term goal is to provide a center of continuous professional leadership development for Rhode Island's public sector that will ensure professional competencies and best practices are continually developed and refreshed.
About The Public Sector Consortium:
The Public Sector Consortium is a non-profit with the mission of "re-inventing the practice of public leadership for the public good. They provide leaders with actionable tools and skills in management and leadership to support them in creating and sustaining high performing public organizations. They are committed to increasing the value our society places on quality public sector leadership. For more information about The Public Sector Consortium program, or to make a donation please go to www.public-sector.org or contact Georgie.Bishop@public-sector.org
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SOURCE The Public Sector Consortium