The Link Between Program Performance and Budget

John P. Comeaux, Director

Nevada Department of Administration



Nevada statutes have required performance measures in every program’s budget for a decade.  Early measures concentrated on inputs and outputs.  We have seen improvement over the years, as some agencies have started to measure quality, timeliness, efficiency, and outcomes. These measures are used to make decisions in both the executive and legislative branches.  The Department of Administration and its Budget and Planning Division have promoted performance measures as a management tool for agency heads, allowing them to monitor how well they are moving toward achieving their goals. We also believe we get better budget requests from agencies that plan where they want to go and how to get there -- before they ask for funding.


1.     Nevada statutes require performance measures in the budget:

a.      NRS 353.205 Sec.1.(b) “…Part 2 [of the budget] must include a mission statement and measurement indicators for each program.”

b.     NRS 353.210 Sec. 4. “The estimates of expenditure requirements…must include a mission statement and measurement indicators for each program.”

c.     The budget includes projected measurements for the current year, and the following two years that are covered by the proposed budget.  It also includes data for the year before the legislature meets, both what the previous budget projected, and what actually occurred.

                                                              i.      Example: in fiscal year 2004 - fiscal year 2005 budget had

actual for fiscal year 2002, and projected for fiscal years 2002, 2003, 2004, and 2005


2.     History of requirement 

a.      The 1991 biennial legislature passed Senate Bill 154, which added the requirement for mission statements and measurement indicators in the budget. 

b.     This first affected the fiscal year 1994/95 biennial budget, all 1733 pages of it.


3.     Started with mainly output and input measures in the FY 1994 – FY 1995 budget

a.      Prisons (now Corrections)

                                                              i.      Average monthly inmate population

1.     output -  caseload

                                                            ii.      Total number of beds available

1.     input

b.     Highway Patrol

                                                              i.      Number of accidents investigated

1.     output

                                                            ii.      Number of arrests

1.     output

c.     Criminal History Repository

                                                              i.      Number of inquiries processed

1.     output

d.     Investigations (criminal and drug investigations)

                                                              i.      Number of arrests

1.     output

                                                            ii.      Number of investigations conducted

1.     output

e.      Peace Officers Standards & Training

                                                              i.      Number of peace officers attending POST Academy

1.     Input – caseload

2.     [number graduated would be an output measure]

f.       Emergency Medical Services

                                                              i.      Number of licenses issued

1.     output

                                                            ii.      Number of providers trained

1.     output

g.     Hazardous Material Training Center

                                                              i.      Firefighters receiving training

1.     output

                                                            ii.      Number of classes taught by state

1.     output

h.     Emergency Management

                                                              i.      Staff hours devoted to: response and recovery planning, warning and communications, exercising and testing public awareness, as well as radiological maintenance

1.     input

                                                            ii.      Number of training conferences conducted

1.     output

i.        Parole Board

                                                              i.      Number of parole hearings held

1.     output

                                                            ii.      Number of revocation hearings held

1.     output


4.     Have added more types of measures over the decade, a slow but definite improvement

a.      Corrections (was Prisons)

                                                              i.      Percent of escapes to total population

1.     Outcome

2.     FY 2002 actual .0019% projected 0%

                                                            ii.      Percent of offenders incarcerated with prior Nevada convictions

1.     outcome

2.     FY 2002 actual 29.8% projected 26.32% 

                                                          iii.      Percent of offenders incarcerated with prior convictions (from anywhere)

1.     Outcome

2.     FY  2002 actual 49.6% projected 43.97% 

b.     Public Safety Technology

                                                              i.      System Uptime – Law Enforcement Message Switch

1.     Quality

2.     Actual FY 2002 99.38% forecasted 98%

                                                            ii.      System Response Time within 3 seconds

1.     Quality – timeliness

2.     FY 2002 actual 57.93% forecasted 80%

c.     Justice Grant

                                                              i.      Percent of sub-grant budgets and other areas of concern negotiated prior to grant distribution

1.     Quality – timeliness

2.     FY 2002   actual 90% forecast 45%

d.     Criminal History Repository

                                                              i.      Percent of criminal fingerprints processed within 3 days

1.     quality – timeliness

2.     FY 2002 actual 66% projected 95%

e.      Nevada Highway Patrol

                                                              i.      Number of DUI arrests made prior to crashes occurring

1.     Proxy for DUI crashes prevented by Highway Patrol, which is outcome measure but we can’t measure it directly

2.     New this budget cycle so no projected or actuals

f.       Highway Safety Grants Account

                                                              i.      Ratio of all crashes to commercial vehicle crashes

1.     Outcome – this group inspects commercial vehicles, a larger ratio means commercial vehicles are involved in a smaller percent of crashes, and thus are safer compared to other vehicles on the road

2.     FY 2002 actual 40.64:1 projected 33.25:1 so better than expected

g.     Capitol Police

                                                              i.      Percent of incidents with immediate resolution

1.     Quality -- timeliness

2.     FY 2002 actual 88.25% projected 80% (so better than expected)

h.     Public Safety Training

                                                              i.      Cadet course evaluations on a scale of 1 to 5

                                                            ii.      Quality – customer satisfaction

                                                          iii.      FY 2002 Actual 4.37 Projected 3.5 so better than projected

i.        Bicycle Safety

                                                              i.      Annual percent increase in helmet use

                                                            ii.      New measure for FY 2004 – FY 2005 budget – no historical forecast or actual – project 5% increase per year

j.        Fire Marshall

                                                              i.      Average turnaround time per plan inspected

1.     Quality – timeliness

2.     FY 2002 Actual 35 days   Projected 30 days

k.     State Emergency Response Commission

                                                              i.      Percent of Community-Right-to-Know information sent within 30 days of request

1.     Quality - timeliness

2.     FY 2002 Actual 100% Projected 90% so better than expected


5.     Administration’s Budget & Planning Division helps agencies develop measures

a.      Since the best performance measures come out of strategic planning, verbalizing where the agency wants to go, then measuring if it’s getting there:

                                                              i.      We offer a class and facilitation on strategic planning from vision through performance measures.

                                                            ii.      We even send part of our planning staff out to agencies, helping them write strategic plans all the way through performance measures

b.     We stress a range of measures, including outcome, efficiency, effectiveness, and recommend only one output/caseload measure per budget.

c.     We stress strategic planning and performance measure as management tools for agency administrators’ use

d.     We get better budget requests if agencies first plan where they want to go and how to get there – before they ask for funding.

                                                              i.      For example Wildlife started using their strategic plan in building their budget request and presenting it to the Legislature

1.     They swear by the results

2.     Their budget analyst reports he was getting better quality budget requests after they started strategic planning


6.     How used by executive and legislative branches

a.      Executive branch

                                                              i.      Nevada is still the fastest growing state so almost all our caseloads (inmates, arrests, investigations, parolees) grow every year. 

                                                            ii.      Governor looks at measures on programs where he has particular interest

1.     Example: Senior Rx

                                                          iii.      Agencies

1.     Corrections

a.      Corrections used the measure number of escapes as justification to request a second fence at a single-fenced prison that had many escapes; after the second fence was built, escapes dropped.

b.     Corrections used recidivism rates to support the request for a re-entry center, assuring the Legislature that the center would cut measured recidivism

c.     Corrections has for years used the caseload measure number of inmates to support budget requests for food, caseworkers, supplies, and medical expenses

d.     They also use long-run forecasts of their inmate caseload to request new prisons, showing when they would run out of beds and the effect a new facility would have

2.     Internal Audit

a.      Tests trainees’ knowledge before and after being trained, in watching the effectiveness of their classes. 

b.     Measures the effectiveness of their audits by tracking the percentage of agencies implementing their recommendations.

3.     Parks

a.      Uses their visitor satisfaction survey to help prioritize maintenance projects statewide.

                                                                                                                                      i.      For example, complaints about the condition of bathrooms can prioritize bathroom renovations

b.     Uses visitation numbers by park and cost of park operations per visitor to adjust staffing between parks

                                                         iv.      Budget office

1.     The Parks budget analyst uses the satisfaction survey results in evaluating maintenance requests

2.     The Corrections analyst uses inmate forecasts to evaluate budget requests

3.     Our planning group uses Corrections’ forecasts of new prison needs, generated from inmate forecasts, in putting together a state-wide long-run capital improvement plan

b.     Legislative Branch

                                                              i.      Legislative fiscal staff look at caseload and compare them to increases in budget requests

1.     (why is the budget requested to grow 7% when caseload is only projected to grow 4%  ? ).

                                                            ii.      Legislators look at outcome measures haphazardly

1.     what is being accomplished in a program the legislator is interested in

7.     Conclusion

a.      Nevada requires performance measures for every budget account

b.     Ten  years ago they were mostly input and output measures

c.     They’ve improved, and now we see many efficiency, effectiveness, and outcome measures as well

d.     The Department of Administration helps agencies develop performance measures that will help administrators manage their agencies as well as help budgeting decisions, starting with helping them write a strategic plan

e.      Measures are used in many parts of Nevada state government, from the Governor through budget analysts, in agencies, and by legislators and their staff.  Not in an organized, consistent manner, but where the measures appear to be helpful indicators.