Seeing to it implies a commitment to assure, not simply to hope that things come out right. Seeing to it that things come out right requires three steps: First, the City Council must describe "right" - that is, the criteria that would signify success. These are noted below. Second, the Council must hold someone accountable for reaching these criteria. This is most easily done by using the City Manager function, for that role allows the focusing of performance in one individual even though actual performance occurs due to many individuals. Third, the board must systematically and rigorously check to see if criteria are being met, that is, the board must monitor performance regularly.
Traditional Council operation fails in all three areas, especially in the first and third. Outcome expectations (what difference is to be made in recipients' lives) are rarely or incompletely stated. Acceptability of practices and methods is rarely clarified. Hence, when a Council tries to monitor, it has no criteria against which to do so. The result is not monitoring, but foraging about. Observe any Council approving a financial statement or a budget: the Council has no coherent idea what it would disapprove, for it has given the City Manager no criteria to be met. Traditional Council "development" will help a Council to follow this path with more ability to read financial statements, but does nothing to help the Council find a more effective way to use its time.