Archive for August, 2008
Trenton has the feeling of a business on the skids
The following is an excerpt from “Leading a Turnaround” by Harvard Business School professor, Rosabeth Moss Kantor:
In organizations in decline, a kind of learned helplessness sets in. Secrecy, blame, isolation, avoidance, passivity, and feelings of helplessness combine to perpetuate the poor performance.
This “death spiral” typically starts when a company begins to neglect the fundamentals—for example, letting communication deteriorate, starting to pull decision making back into the hands of smaller and smaller groups that make decisions behind closed doors. This undermines the organization’s problem-solving capability.
If you didn’t know this was from a study of poorly performing businesses, you’d think it was Trenton. Read the rest of this entry »
This article was originally published in the August 2008 edition of the Trenton Downtowner – D. Dodson
Trentonians pay for only 14% of the cost of running the city. If our external funders get tired of it, we’re in big trouble.
It isn’t clear how a city goes bankrupt. Technically bankruptcy occurs when an entity can’t pay its debt obligations. But a city can raise taxes and cut city services to the bone well before bankruptcy. In this case, the city simply ceases to be livable (e.g. Camden) Read the rest of this entry »
Since 2006, Trenton has been included in the new American Communities Survey (ACS) which updates important census data yearly rather than every 10 years. The ACS is a boon for economist and policy planners as it provides neutral and consistent data about cities in America.
One of the most important things an organization can do to improve its operations is to measure its success. Yet, measuring city population and income would be prohibitively expensive for any local government, not to mention inherently inconsistent with other localities. Therefore, it is fortunate that the Federal government fills this role for us.
Yet the first words about Trenton’s most recent ACS Census results from Mayor Palmer were to call the results incorrect. Read the rest of this entry »