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City of Germantown, TN

Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award
2019 Award Recipient, Nonprofit

Emergency Services employees from the City of Germantown, TN standing in front of the fire truck at the station.
Credit: City of Germantown, TN

Highest-Ranking Official*
Patrick Lawton
City Administrator

Public Affairs Contact

*At time of award


For more information
Jessica Comas
Marketing and Communications Manager
City of Germantown
1930 South Germantown Road
Germantown, TN 38138
jcomas [at] germantown-tn.gov
https://www.germantown-tn.gov

    Located near the Mississippi River along the historic trails of the Chickasaw Indians and established in 1841, the City of Germantown operates under a mayor-council form of government through a private act charter by the State of Tennessee. With a certified population of 40,123, the City has one defining mission—Excellence, Every day. The philosophy guides staff commitment to align performance excellence with the City’s vision and long-range strategy, represented in the Germantown Forward 2030 Plan. The City comprises 19.8 square miles and its key product offerings include education, economic development, public safety, sanitation, and utilities (water and sewer).


    Highlights

    • Since 1994, the City of Germantown has received the highest possible credit rating from Standard & Poor's and Moody’s.
    • Germantown’s unemployment rate has improved from 6% in 2014 to just about 2.6% in 2018, better than the current U.S. unemployment rate of 3.7% and other small cities that average 4–5%, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
    • Earning a net promotor score of 71 in customer engagement in 2018, Germantown has consistently exceeded the benchmark of 50, which is considered excellent; over 70 is considered world-class.
    • The community rating for satisfaction with employee ethical behavior has been above 93% since 2014 and is approaching 100% in 2018.

    Senior Leadership

    • The City vision, part of the Germantown Forward 2030 Plan, and community values are developed by citizens during the strategic planning process and deployed to staff, vendors, partners, volunteers, customers, and other stakeholders through the Leadership Model and varied communication tools. Vendors and partners receive a copy of the vision statement and Code of Ethics, with senior leaders providing education and communications to ensure that expectations are clear. Aligned with the vision, key performance measures for departments and key partners are integrated into dashboards, with operational measures incorporated into department business plans. 
    • The community rating for satisfaction with employee ethical behavior has been above 93% since 2014 and is approaching 100% in 2018. Ethical behavior is promoted through an open-door policy, ethics training, performance indicators, an orientation program for new employees, a Code of Ethics for public officials and employees, and eight key processes. Ethics violation reviews yield improvements to annual refresher trainings.
    • According to the employee survey, overall more than 83% of Germantown employees trust and respect senior leaders, a key driver of employee engagement, compared to the 2018 Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey (FEVS) benchmark of just 71%. In 2018, nearly 80% were satisfied with their jobs, surpassing the FEVS rating by about 10%. In addition, 85% agree that they have enough information to do their jobs well, compared to the FEVS benchmark of just 69%.

    Financial Results

    • Since 1994, the City of Germantown has received the highest possible credit rating from Standard & Poor's and Moody’s. The Standard & Poor's Global Ratings 2017 statement indicated a very strong economy, management, budgetary performance, budgetary flexibility, liquidity, and debt-and-contingent-liability position, with overall net debt less than 3% of market value. 
    • Germantown is one of 124 municipalities in the United States (out of 19,500) to hold a dual AAA bond rating from Standard & Poor's and Moody’s. Total general fund reserves continually increased from nearly $25 million in 2014 to exceed $40 million in 2018. This is in comparison to a 2009 best practice of the Government Finance Officers Association that the minimum reserves a government should consider should equal about 16% of revenues or expenditures, which would be about $28 million for Germantown.
    • Germantown’s sales tax revenue has been increasing steadily since 2014 at nearly $8 million to over $13 million in 2018. The commercial tax base revenue has increased by approximately $2 million since 2016 and now represents about 23% of the total property tax revenue.
    • Germantown’s unemployment rate has improved from 6% in 2014 to just about 2.6% in 2018, better than the current U.S. unemployment rate of 3.7% and other small cities that average 4–5%, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
    • Per capita personal income has consistently exceeded $50,000 since 2015 and approaches $55,000 in 2018, surpassing 2018 Federal reserve bank benchmarks for the states of Tennessee at $46,245 and North Carolina at $46,117.

    Customer Process with Results

    • Germantown uses a net promoter score based on respondents’ answers to “how likely would you be to recommend Germantown as a place to live?” Earning a net promotor score of 71 in customer engagement in 2018, Germantown has consistently exceeded the benchmark of 50, which is considered excellent; over 70 is considered world-class.
    • More than 70% of residents have lived in Germantown for more than 10 years, and more than 90% of residents plan to stay for five years, a percentage that has remained consistent since 2014.
    • Germantown has sustained a close to 80% overall satisfaction rating since 2015, better than the 2019 FEVS benchmark at just 60%. Almost 95% of residents are satisfied with public safety, including police and fire services and response time.

    People Process with Results

    • According to the employee survey, overall employee engagement improved from 72% in 2016 to 87% in 2018, outperforming the FEVS benchmark by 17%. In addition, 91% of employees were satisfied with support from management, and 90% were satisfied with benefits. 
    • Germantown’s investment in its employees is evident through employee’s individual employee development plans and the Play Like a Champion (PLAC) leadership program, a development initiative started in 2012 that allows employees to experience work in other departments, broaden their understanding of City responsibilities, and form relationships with coworkers from other areas. As of 2018, more than 20% of the workforce graduated from the program. With knowledge levels tested before and after PLAC day, knowledge improvement among employees exceeded 70% following the completion of the 2018 class. 

    Strategic Planning

    • To ensure a sustainable future, all City work is guided by the resident-created Germantown Forward 2030 strategic plan. The eight-step strategic planning process is led by a 30-member steering committee appointed by the Board of Mayor and Aldermen, with the involvement of 300 residents. To ensure that customer requirements are met, departments conduct biennially customer focus groups to extensively review the department’s impact on the strategic plan.
    • Annually, Germantown deploys the Financial Trend Monitoring System to understand current conditions and identify important trends and blind spots. Strategic objectives are correlated to key performance areas that include action plans, timetables, and key performance indicators. 
    • Action plans are deployed through individual employee development plans and quarterly department business plans. Each department connects its plan to the organization’s strategic objectives, timelines, action plans, and key performance indicators. Senior leaders are accountable for presenting progress at quarterly reviews, where performance issues are addressed and any needed modifications are developed.
    • Germantown ensures responsible governance through a charter that defines organizational powers, checks and balances, functions, and procedures. Quarterly business plan reviews are shared with elected officials and the public. Additional elements of accountability and operational transparency include use of the Government Accounting Standards Board, compliance with State Open Meeting Law and Public Records Act requirements, and internal and external audits. Along with succession planning for senior leaders, collaboration with Leadership Germantown, a local non-profit, results in leadership training for residents who ultimately become leaders on the City’s boards and commissions.

    Process Efficiency/Effectiveness with Results

    • Police emergency response time has improved from 4.5 minutes to just over 2 minutes since 2011, compared to other city benchmarks of 5 minutes, and police non-emergency response time improved from 5 minutes in 2012 to just over 4 minutes in 2018. Similarly, 911 calls have been answered in less than 10 seconds almost 100% of the time from 2016 to 2018, better than two local cities that averaged about 95%.
    • Germantown’s Fleet Services was selected by a national organization as one of The 100 Best Fleets in America for the past two years and named it in the top 50 Public Sector Fleets in 2018. Availability of the network, telephone, radio systems, and servers has been 100% for the past five years. 

    Citizenship with Results

    • Germantown’s commitment to the community is demonstrated through various training and educational events such as 43 active-shooter-scenario-training events in the last year with schools, community groups, and neighboring cities; five Safety City events; Heart Saver training for nearly 6,000 people; periodic Police Academy training for citizens; and a recycling campaign. Neighborhood summits have occurred, as well as periodic code compliance and home remodeling offerings. The City hosts an annual Night Out where public safety officials and other city staff visit about twenty locations throughout the community in observation of Crime Prevention Month. 

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    Created November 7, 2019, Updated November 20, 2019