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About SANDAG

Plan of Excellence


An action plan committed to listening to stakeholders, learning from experience, and leading continual improvement.


As a taxpayer-funded agency, integrity and reliability are essential for SANDAG to be effective. Introduced by the SANDAG Board of Directors in November 2017, the Plan of Excellence is a comprehensive response to the requirements and recommendations SANDAG committed to undertake to strengthen the organization through increased transparency and accountability.

The Plan of Excellence reflects the convergence of people, processes, and technology that are fundamental to the agency’s success. More than 35 action items are organized into 8 focus areas that integrate improvements to existing business practices and introduce new operational procedures to help SANDAG become a better regional agency based on a standard for excellence that benefits the entire San Diego region.

A status update on the Plan of Excellence was presented to the Board of Directors at their meeting on July 13, 2018, including progress reports on action items from each of the eight focus areas. As of June 2018, more than half of the commitments made in the Plan have been implemented.

Plan of Excellence

View more information about the Plan of Excellence.


Components and Sources of Recommendations

The Plan's components include implementing changes to governance and oversight functions, reviewing organizational structure and staffing resources, defining performance expectations for programs and employees, adopting more efficient and effective project delivery and operational practices, and ensuring transparent communication both within and outside the agency.

These components were derived from several sources:

  • Data Accuracy and Modeling Work Plan
    On February 24, 2017, the Board of Directors approved a Data Accuracy and Modeling Work Plan that outlined seven actions to investigate the Measure A forecasting error, identify the potential impacts, address any substantive problems that may have resulted with the agency’s work products, and put in place policies and safeguards to ensure similar problems do not occur again and that any concerns that may arise are brought to the attention of the Board.

  • San Diego County Taxpayers Association
    In April 2017, the San Diego County Taxpayers Association provided SANDAG with a report outlining recommendations to enhance communication and understanding between SANDAG, local governments, and San Diego County residents.

  • Measure A Revenue Estimate Communications Examination
    To ensure public trust, the SANDAG Board of Directors at its February 24, 2017, meeting voted to undertake an independent examination of Measure A communications. On August 4, 2017, the firm hired to conduct the independent examination presented its findings at a special meeting of the SANDAG Board of Directors. The final report found that SANDAG did not intentionally mislead the public or the Board regarding its forecast. However, the report did identify various issues that needed to be addressed, and included a series of recommendations. In addition, at its October 27, 2017, meeting, the Board received an independent forensic analysis report that showed no documents were inappropriately erased by SANDAG staff from the "Hana" server "Tools" folder used to store working files as staff searched for the cause of errors in the agency's forecasts of future revenues.

  • Assembly Bill 805
    In September 2017, Assembly Bill 805 (Gonzalez-Fletcher) was signed into law and made various changes to the governance and responsibilities of SANDAG, including implementing internal control guidelines, requiring annual reports to the California State Legislature and local jurisdictions on public transit and overall agency programs and projects, and establishing an Audit Policy Advisory Committee and Board-level independent performance audit function to prepare and implement an annual audit plan.

  • FY 2018 TransNet Triennial Performance Audit
    In June 2017, the TransNet Independent Taxpayer Oversight Committee (ITOC) selected an independent auditing firm to conduct the required triennial performance audit of the TransNet Program for the period between July 1, 2014 and June 30, 2017 (Fiscal Years 2015, 2016, and 2017). The audit concluded that SANDAG and its partner agencies have made significant progress toward accomplishing many TransNet goals and identified several areas where improvements could be made.

  • SANDAG Board of Directors
    The SANDAG Board of Directors has been engaged in evaluating agency practices and directing staff to make improvements to reporting and communication strategies necessary for effective oversight and stewardship of agency responsibilities. SANDAG staff will present ongoing progress reports to the Board of Directors and ITOC to keep them and the public informed.

Ongoing Implementation

While a majority of action items in the Plan of Excellence were implemented by June 30, 2018, others will be completed in FY 2019 or early FY 2020. View the Plan of Excellence status update for estimated completion dates for items that are in progress or scheduled for future implementation.

Additional Resources

Project Manager

Melissa Coffelt, Manager of Human Resources
Phone: (619) 699-1955, Email: melissa.coffelt@sandag.org

For media inquiries, please contact the SANDAG Public Information Office at (619) 699-1950 or pio@sandag.org.