Former Madison Mayor spreads gospel of efficiency
to governments across the globe
BY JOHN GILLESPIE
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L’73, three-time mayor of Madison, Wis.,
walks to work each day and sails from his backyard pier on
“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