Government programs are critical to a well-functioning society. But we don't often set goals for those programs, monitor our success at achieving those goals, and publish successes and failures in an accountable way. Catia has spent her career bringing data and social science to bear to establish systems for performance and accountability, and plans to bring these ideas to the State House.
The City of Somerville is a state (and, frankly, national) leader in promoting good government and accountability through the SomerStat program. Catia seeks to promote a similar outcomes-oriented approach at the State House, building upon her work developing systems to monitor performance of social services through pay for success contracts while working at the Executive Office for Administration and Finance for the state.
Catia's specific area of focus in her career has been using data and research to make better decisions about government programs, and to openly discuss results with the public and stakeholders to collectively improve.
Her job at the Governor's budget office was to establish metrics by which programs ought to be measured for success that were about actual outcomes for people, not just dollars. Then, she designed program requirements to measure the outcomes achieved and report on those outcomes. She coordinated multiple stakeholders and agencies to get people who don't normally work together to talk about their shared goals for the people they served, and how to improve their outcomes each day.
One such program was the pay for success program, which focused on expanding social programs targeting people who needed preventative services to intervene early and prevent future needs. Catia designed contracts that only paid for services if they reduced recidivism, or increased the income of non-English speakers, or kept homeless people stably housed.
Check out a fact sheet I co-wrote on the Roca pay-for-success project to reduce criminal involvement of young men by helping them get jobs.
Another such program was the Infrastructure Investment Incentive (I-Cubed) program, which held developers accountable to job creation targets. Catia analyzed whether a proposed development project could reasonably be expected to create enough new tax revenue to the state through newly created jobs to repay debt service on public infrastructure like the Assembly Row MBTA station. She then wrote contracts with developers that required clawbacks of funding if new jobs weren't created as scheduled.
Catia now seeks to bring this knowledge to the local level, helping Somerville better navigate state processes and make better decisions and partnerships, and assessing risk when making development decisions more effectively.
Check out an explainer on how to make smarter decisions about state investments in development projects, and hold developers accountable to producing results.
Unlike in more traditional government programs, Catia and her colleagues published all of these contracts online to promote transparency and accountability in government.
The state can and should do more to ensure that each agency and program develops metrics for success that are based on outcomes for people, not number of people served. Catia will push for more generation of evidence for programs, increase the use of data to inform decision making, and promote transparency and accountability of agencies. She will work to get agencies working more closely than they otherwise do in recognition that many agencies serve the same people, as she has done for her whole career.
Here is one of the three contracts we published online, for vocationally-oriented English classes for non-native English speakers to help them obtain gainful employment.
Many of the programs Catia has worked on acknowledge the simple fact that residents often use services from multiple government agencies, but agencies operate in silos. For example, housing and healthcare services can prevent arrest and prison time. But the housing agency and the healthcare agency don't work together very often, and they don't work with the police or with the jails and prisons. Catia has experience bridging these gaps in the bureaucracy to focus on the whole person.
A focus on customer service and treating residents like the whole person and whole family that they are is what Catia will bring to the State House.