Numbers, percentages and list


Some days it seems we look at a lot of data. Look at, absorb, sift through, organize, rank, rate, verify….

It is all part of the process to run a quality organization that adds value. One thing I learned at Oakland University, located right here in Auburn Hills, in Statistics and Advanced Statistics courses is that numbers can be made to help someone tell just about any story. Want an example?

It’s called investment if the Federal Government takes money from you (taxes) and spends it to grow the economy.

It’s called selfish for you to want to spend or save the money you earn how you see fit for the betterment of you and your family.

I am not arguing or supporting either of the sentences, but people can uses data to support both.

The same can be done with issues. If we list 6 issues that governments deal with and had to prioritize where we spend tax payer dollars on, which 3 would you drop off of the government side of the equation?

  1. Jobs
  2. Education
  3. Safety
  4. Health care
  5. Environment
  6. Infrastructure

Again, people can use data to explain why they would keep or remove any of the items; some choices can be easier than others.

There is a reason people trust their local government more than their state or federal governments (68% trust local, 57% trust state and the feds come in at between 31 – 47%), it’s where things get done and can be verified. At the local level we are also held to a different standard than the state and federal units. We balance our budgets and show a 5 year budget to reflect how the decisions we make this year impact 5 years out. At the federal level they show a 10 year budget to demonstrate how they can spread their proposed cost out so it doesn’t seem so bad.

I think this alone should make people think.

Since the year 2000 our National Debt has grown by 161%. We, at the local level should not be allowed to do that, but we somehow think it is okay for our federal government to do this. Did you also know that there are 75 children or elderly (people not in the workforce) for every 100 working age adults (and this is not to be confused with working adults).

Trust has always been a factor in those who believe in our culture. At the local level we take it serious and hope to earn it on a daily basis.

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  • Peter Auger, Auburn Hills City Manager

    Peter Auger, Auburn Hills City Manager

    Thoughts on running a city, daily musings, and everything in between.