Santa Monica Lookout
Santa Monica Seeks Manager for Well-Being Project
By Jason Islas
August 20, 2013 -- Five months after Santa Monica received a $1 million award to develop a system to measure and record its residents' well-being, the bayside city is looking for someone to manage the project.
The project manager, a two- to three-year position, will be the driving force behind developing an index, which officials hope will be used to gauge Santa Monica's overall well-being based on a variety of factors, including health and social ties.
City officials hope that the project, which is funded by an award Bloomberg Philanthropies, will provide an overview of residents needs in order to help allocate resources to improve the lives of Santa Monicans.
“This is a milestone,” said Mayor Pam O'Connor who received the award on behalf of Santa Monica from New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg in March.
“We are moving forward in implementing the Wellbeing Project with the end goal being to develop the well-being index,” she said.
The position, which the City began advertising Monday, promises to be a challenging one.
“This project will involve development of a dynamic measurement tool and extensive stakeholder engagement,” according to the job description on the City's website.
The manager “(c)oordinates the work of consultants from diverse disciplines, works closely with the interdepartmental City project advisory team, oversees all administrative details related to the project, and supervises project support staff,” the site reads.
Until now, City officials have been focused on laying out a framework for the project.
“Now we have to take it beyond the framework and really look at how we are going to” build that index," O'Connor said. “It's a big project.”
Finding a project manager is the next major step in a process that began in early spring after Santa Monica was one of five cities -- along with Chicago, Houston, Philadelphia and Providence -- awarded grants after winning Bloomberg Philanthropies' Mayors Challenge. ("Santa Monica Moves Forward with Well-Being Project," March 14)
The challenge, founded by New York's outgoing mayor and designed to encourage innovation by municipal governments, revolves around the philosophy that some of the biggest problems facing the U.S. and the world have solutions at the local level.
Santa Monica's “Wellbeing Project” was one of 305 proposals submitted last summer.
“There was a lot of energy and work that went into putting together the concept of what this project was going to be,” O'Connor said.
“It's going to be a while until” Santa Monica has a well-being index, she said since such an index will be the first of its kind developed and used by a city government.
Applications are due at the end of August.
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