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Former Madison Mayor spreads gospel of efficiency
to governments across the globe

BY JOHN GILLESPIE
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SMALL TOWN FOLK
Joe Roda, L’74
Ruthanne Beighley, L’76
Pasco Schiavo, L’62
Joe Sensenbrenner, L’73,
Joe Sensenbrenner, L’73, three-time mayor of Madison, Wis., walks to work each day and sails from his backyard pier on Lake Mendota.

“So the purpose of moving to a big city is…?” he asks. Sensenbrenner may prefer the idyllic life of his home state, but he has spent much of his professional career in the rough and tumble of politics trying to make government work better. His ideas on government efficiency have won him a national following. A disciple of the late W. Edwards Deming, the efficiency expert who helped transform postwar Japan, Sensenbrenner was one of the first public officials to apply Deming’s theories to the public sector using customer service as a watchword.

“Government needs to treat citizens as customers in the same way business treats buyers of its products,” he says. Understood in those terms, he says, government will naturally strive to act more effectively.
 
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