Santa Cruz County

Agenda Item
Accepted and filed
May 14, 2019 9:00 AM

Accept and file proposed Santa Cruz County Operational Plan for Fiscal Years 2019-21, and direct the County Administrative Office to return on June 25, 2019 with the final plan for Board approval, as recommended by the County Administrative Officer


Department:County Administrative OfficeSponsors:County Administrative Officer Carlos J. Palacios
Category:CAO - Board LetterProjects:Master Calendar
Functions:General Government


  1. Board Memo
  2. 2019-21 Operational Plan (weblink)

Board Letter

Recommended Action(s):

1)              Accept and file the proposed Santa Cruz County Operational Plan for Fiscal Years 2019-21; and


2)              Direct the County Administrative Office to return on June 25, 2019, with the final plan for Board approval.


Executive Summary

On June 26, 2018, the Board of Supervisors approved a six-year strategic plan defining what the County stands for and what we want to achieve. The County Administrative Office (CAO) now presents the proposed Santa Cruz County Operational Plan for Fiscal Years 2019-21 for Board consideration. The operational plan is the result of a year-long effort to define the Countys approach to achieving its goals, and to specify the department objectives and key steps that are the building blocks for realizing the County vision and mission.



The Santa Cruz County Strategic Plan for 2018-2024 was approved by the Board on June 26, 2018. The plan was the result of a year-long effort led by the CAO and the Strategic Plan Steering Committee (SPSC). The SPSC engaged with thousands of County residents and staff to develop a vision, mission, values, focus areas and goals. Each of the strategic plan’s six focus areas contains four goals, for a total of 24, which are presented online at


As outlined in the strategic plan, the County has developed a two-year operational plan for Board approval in June 2019. This first of three operational plans is an important step in changing the County culture and collaborating with departments to achieve the Countys vision and mission. The development of the operational plan took place concurrently with the implementation of the new two-year budget, as well as with initiatives in continuous process improvement and performance measurement. Over time, the operational plan will fully integrate with these initiatives.


The operational plan adds countywide strategies, department objectives and key steps for achieving the 24 strategic plan goals. These elements are defined as follows:


·         Countywide Strategies Approaches for achieving strategic plan goals.

·         Department Objectives – Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound (SMART) actions that work towards strategic plan goals and countywide strategies.


·         Key Steps Critical activities or steps necessary to achieve each department objective.


The full inventory of department objectives and key steps is presented in the attached two-year operational plan and replace department goals that were previously included in the proposed budget. The new two-year budget includes a strategic and operational planning section and references to department objectives and key steps where feasible.



The 2019-21 Operational Plan defines the County’s approach to achieving its goals through countywide strategies. Each strategy is comprised of department objectives and key steps. Objectives may appear under multiple strategies, as many objectives work towards multiple County goals. In total, there are 172 objectives across 22 departments, many of which impact several areas of our strategic plan.


To create the plan, the CAO convened an Operational Plan Steering Committee and six subcommittees made up of County leaders and subject-matter experts. In addition, the County conducted extensive community outreach, convening six focus groups of key informants, holding six open houses in the community, and presenting to over 20 local boards and commissions. The result is a plan reflective of community priorities, imbued with County values, and dedicated to achieving equitable, sustainable outcomes for all Santa Cruz County residents.


In order to successfully implement the operational plan, the County is adapting to meet current challenges. Collaboration and teamwork are key to our success and will allow the County to develop trust and ask the difficult questions that lead to real change for employees and residents. The other key to success is financing. Every objective presented in the operational plan is funded through the County’s new two-year budget, which is included as a separate item on todays agenda. In future iterations, this link will be made explicit.


Finally, the operational plan is a living document, and County successes and challenges will be transparent. Through the website, the County will track progress on each objective, as well as local, State and national indicators that demonstrate progress towards achieving the County’s goals, mission and vision. Progress reports will be made semi-annually in December and June.


The operational plan provides a robust introductory section that describes all aspects of plan development and provides guides for reading and understanding plan elements. During budget hearings this June, the CAO will provide an overview of the operational plan, and departments will present major objectives.


The CAO would like to thank the more than 60 staff that dedicated their time to the thoughtful development of the operational plan, as well as community partners and residents that collaborated and provided constructive feedback. This inclusive process has led to a stronger plan that will serve as a foundation for transforming our government and our community.


Strategic Plan Element:

6.D (Operational Excellence: Continuous Improvement) - The development of the two-year operational plan is the next step in strategic plan implementation, and represents the blueprint for how the County will achieve its vision for a healthy, safe and more affordable community.

Meeting History

May 14, 2019 9:00 AM Video Board of Supervisors Regular Meeting
MOVER:John Leopold, First District Supervisor
SECONDER:Zach Friend, Second District Supervisor
AYES:John Leopold, Zach Friend, Ryan Coonerty, Greg Caput, Bruce McPherson