San Diego Ranks No.1 Nationally for Innovative Initiatives and High-Performance Government

Friday, May 31, 2019 – NEWS RELEASE

San Diego Confirming the City’s commitment to being as innovative as the people it serves, Governing Magazine today announced San Diego as the No.1 city nationwide for high-performance government.

The magazine’s annual “Equipt to Innovate” report ranked San Diego the top overall performer based on the City’s fiscal responsibility, racial equity, resident engagement and evidence-based policymaking.

“From overhauling the infrastructure system to making city data transparent, we’ve transformed how San Diego operates, engages and delivers results for all residents,” said Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer. “This recognition reflects our efforts to improve year after year and invest in a better future for all San Diegans.”

Of the seven core categories, the city also earned top performer in the race-informed category and landed in the top five cities for the following categories: dynamically planned, broadly partnered, resident-involved, employee-engaged and data-driven. Key examples of city initiatives include:

  • Race-Informed:

    • Conducting a wage equity study to investigate compensation inequalities and increase diversity in leadership roles within the City
    • Commissioning a disparity study to determine if the companies that do business with the City reflect San Diego’s diversity
    • Eliminated overdue fines and late fees last year and in March 2019 reinstated nearly 74,000 library patrons who were barred from using libraries due to unpaid fines
    • Created a new library donation distribution policy so that donations would benefit libraries throughout the city
  • Dynamically Planned:

    • Updating community plans and the City’s Parks Master Plan for the first time in half a century
    • Launched an interactive online planning tool to capture resident input
    • Provide online surveys to allow residents to provide their feedback if they are unable to attend workshops and planning meetings
  • Data-Driven:

    • Provide hundreds of city data sets to the public through the City’s first Open Data Portal
    • Created PerformSD and StreetsSD to allow the public to track performance through 40 visualizations linked to key performance indicators
    • Deployed the Get It Done application to allow residents to report neighborhood issues, including potholes, graffiti and illegal dumping

San Diego’s biennial resident and employee satisfaction surveys, work with public and private sector partners and communication efforts also helped secure this recognition.

“With support from the Mayor and Chief Operating Officer, the Performance & Analytics team is proud to promote innovative initiatives both inside City Hall and across the region,” said Bahija Humphrey, Director of the City’s Performance & Analytics Department. “Empowering our employees to work in creative and collaborative ways not only fosters a more enjoyable workplace but also furthers our mission to more effectively serve San Diego’s growing communities.”

The 2019 survey had 66 cities participate representing more than 30 million residents and included 17 first-time participants and half of the top 10 largest U.S. cities.

“Mayors and city managers know that innovation is the key to high performance, but they also know that they cannot simply demand that staff innovate,” said Mark Funkhouser, Publisher for Governing. “The key is for cities to create conditions that spur innovation and that’s what our Equipt to Innovate survey measures. The results of this, the third annual Equipt to Innovate survey show that cities are continuing to actively build their capacity to create vibrant communities of engaged residents.”

San Diego and other high-performing cities will be recognized in June at the 2019 Government Performance & Innovation Summit.

For a comprehensive overview of the survey and a discussion of all the categories, download the report “Profiles in High-Performance Government: Cities on the Move” at “Equipt to Innovate” is a joint initiative launched by Living Cities and Governing magazine.

CONTACT: Ashley Bailey at (619) 392-0686 or

City Named ‘High Performer’ in Six Categories Including Race-Informed, Resident-Involved and Data-Driven
Equipt to Innovate
Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer
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