TO City Council
I posted something in all categories that I could see. Please double check that you see something. Feel free to add to the reports or if you can't ... send me your edits and I'll add them.
copy sent to Alex and Steve Milhorn, future City Council people.
I posted RATIONALES as follows
Our rationales were as follows
1) We believe in transparency. We each came to the meeting with open hearts and we did not hide any problems or agenda items.
2) We communicated the hopes and fears of our sectors and plan to bring along the future city council people in future meetings.
3) We arrived with open ears, having previously discussed and listened to the challenges of the other sectors.
Our rationales for investing NOW rather than passing a surplus on to next session was that we don't want to WAIT for our town to respond to the repairs that are needed in Community Services.
We don't want to leave Social Services in deficit, so the added 3% will help cover the needs of Fire and Police.
We believe in open discussions and NOT micromanaging, so we expect there will be a lot of work in the sectors. We gave them extra money so that they can raise the levels of service and quality where possible.
What is the team''s vision for the community?
ANSWER: We believe in high quality. We want to see investment now, aiming to meet the needs of the future, rather than waiting for something to happen and then raising levels of service to meet the challenge.
Have the team members participated with commitment and enthusiasm to meet the team goals?
A team is more than a group of people. Working within boundaries, communicating, and making decisions within time lines to accomplish the tasks requires motivation and planning. In this section, you need to describe your role in the team.
STEVE = the guy who called on the phone to make sure we got around a recalcitrant WIMBA system.
VALERIE PATTERSON = concerned about the welfare of people who need bus rides, and worried that we might assume that the arriving company might generate a larger population than in reality. She helped us see that we needed to assume that there might be only a 5% growth rate in the population from 10% job growth.
VAL HALL = with the smallest budget, Val did the most listening and was very supportive in building a consensus.
SHERRY Washington = the able administrator of social services, argued strongly for a secure town. She also quickly reported a glitch that left her sector with $122,000 in deficit despite our increased allocation.
There may be a time, when you may not agree with the decisions made by your team. You would need to provide a reason for your basis in this section. The final decision made by the team will also be included in this section.
When there is a surplus of money, it is not difficult to arrange for a consensus. The bulk of the money went to Community Services and Social Services (3% increases for each) and education got little, since there is not a clear need for the surplus at this time. In a time of deficit, there might be more opportunity for dissent.
our session generally met with a strong consensus because our city council puts a premium on listening to the others and a distate for micromanaging.
I posted this on the NEWSPAPER
Our four sectors met in city council Tuesday Sept 6.
The following is a summary of what was discussed in the meeting
Vision: we see our city as investing in quality. We prefer to invest now in general areas of quality than to simply stay where we are and pass on surplus monies to the next council.
We hope to pass on this vision of "hands off" and "no micromanaging" of sectors, trusting that there will be balanced growth in quality to meet the challenges of the future. For example, we know that we can't solve all problems in one session, but we believe that in the next four meetings we can increase the level of quality in all areas and make sure we are ready for that coming hurricane and possible health care crisis (epidemic?)
We calculated that the current budget adds up to 91% so we believe that there is ample additional funding for the following:
1% to Econ Devt
3% to Community
3% to Social Services
1% to Education (which is our largest area of the budget)
Our timing: we believe the city council should meet quickly because the individual divisions will need time to decide how to judiciously spend the funds.
We waited 48 hours to think about these allocations before posting these amounts. From our understanding of the process, when the city council commits to spending levels, the money will trickle down to the departments.
From our readings we have seen that progress is made generally in an organization when there is transparency, good communication and a persistent vision that is carried through year to year. We believe it is a good policy to invite each sector to bring along their next council's person to meetings of the council.
FOR THURSDAY Sept. 8
1. We had trouble setting up WIMBA, so we held two-way calls with pairs of council people, concluding the following...
a) we delayed having to decide on which of the investments to make (Option 1, 2 or 3 or none) .. since the important work was allocating and investing the surplus.
2. We delayed on how much land we should sell to provide space for future housing (5% or 10%). We hope that the citizens of our town will judge our temerity as a way of letting important decisions take time to develop, like wine and great cities. Rome wasn't built in a day and we hope that future council people will delegate the tough decisions to the sectors.
3. We also hope to recommend to Community services the level of "investment recovery" for UTILITIES since that is a potential source of revenue to the city. Should we ask utility users to pay 1% extra to raise some funds, possibly to be applied to subsidizing another area, such as the transit? We decided to leave this decision for Valerie Patterson to make.
In summation, our city is in a surplus time. We could have passed on investment, but we in the council decided to allocate funds to the sectors to decide how they will help raise the quality of life in our city. We recommend raising all qualities of service at least one mark in this session.
on Sept 4 we had trouble with WIMBA
By telephone and by email the three members of the group have had exchanges of information in three sessions prior to our meeting by phone on Tues. Sept 6:
Thursday Sept 1
Alex and Steve Milhorn tried to connect by Wimba
Monday Sept 5
Steve and MAC connected by phone to agree on the general philosophy of "Let's invest in quailty now rather than just relax. If we can get more dollars form city council, we can put the money into mroe teachers to react to the mandate.
Tues sept 6, 6 pm
By phone Mac and Alex met, where Alex raised the point of "What exactly is the mandate? Are we possibly already at the mandated level?"
8:15 pm for 30 minutes
The education department met on Tuesday evening (in a phone session that was recorded and available for listening to via a youtube private video) to confirm the direction of the department -- which has an overall vision of improving quality.
Some of the themes of this session include:
-- should we pass on our budget surplus? (we generally agree that we need to spend much of it)
-- should we invest the surplus in hiring teachers? or other needs?
-- Alex D. asked that we find out if possible WHAT the state mandates as a student-teacher ratio. It might be that our city already meets the required ratio... in which case hiring more teachers could be a poor use of dollars (which could have been spent improving building quality, for example).
-- what will be the impact of adding 10% to the workforce? What will these new workers need from the schools (education for their children? additional training?)
The Education Department is hopeful that there will be an increase in funding from City Council.
THE BIG PICTURE
There is agreement in our department that we don't know what will happen but a hurricane will probably hit us. We therefore need to be aware of the need for the city to prepare