This week former state Revenue Commissioner John James wrote an op-ed piece in the Star Tribune suggesting that Minnesota’s 84 local human services programs be regionalized to improve efficiency.

 I have been part of government reorganizations.  People have to redesign logos, develop new civil service positions, decide about fonts for the stationery….  It takes years.  In the meantime, programs often tread water.

A better plan is to focus all that energy on improving outcomes.  Counties should regularly measure and report how their children are doing regarding mental health, level of trauma, cognitive skills, and physical development.

When local agencies compare themselves to their peers they will be continuously motivated to get better results.  They will figure out on their own how best to organize themselves to achieve that goal.