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New Website Paints Data-Driven Picture Of Cuyahoga County Government

A new website that attempts to quantify the effectiveness of Cuyahoga County government is now live.

It is called Cuyahoga Performance. Its purpose is to provide data that county leaders and the public can use to assess how the county is doing economically, socially and bureaucratically.

Statistics now on view include basic economic indicators that track unemployment, poverty, school graduation rates and gross domestic product. Other measures focus on the environment (e.g., air quality), the criminal justice system and health outcomes (e.g., the number of children with elevated blood lead levels).

One data set even tracks the number of followers that the county has on its various social media accounts.

"I'd say it's probably half-and-half, brand-new data versus data that was collected before," said Catherine Tkachyk, chief innovation officer for the county. "But this is the first time where it's all been put into one place."

The current dashboard sets out baseline measurements and will be updated quarterly, but Tkachyk said she's already noticed some trends in the numbers.

For instance, the average wait time forcalls to the Cuyahoga County Department of Health and Human Services' Contact Center went from about five minutes in the second quarter of 2018 to almost 30 minutes in the fourth quarter. The main reason for the long delays was a spike in calls, said Tkachyk, after the department began processing applications for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) through its call center. Since that trend was identified, the department has focused on reducing wait times.

Cuyahoga Performance is part of a larger initiative to make County government more data-driven in its approach to decision-making and problem-solving, Tkachyk said.

"This is not by any means a perfect report," Tkachyk said. "We're going to continue to try and develop additional metrics that we can improve."

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