What do you think of the updates made on Nov. 16, 2013 by the Council regarding their 2011 Strategic Plan with its goals and focus areas?
On November 16, 2013, the County Council met in a four-hour work session to review and discuss their strategic goals, first adopted in 2011. The goals are part of the County’s long-range (20 year) planning process, and guide the staff in setting internal priorities – most specifically in the area of fiscal budgeting from year to year and workload/staffing decisions. The Councilors held the work session on Nov. 16 after deciding a timely review of the goals was worthwhile, given that five councilors were not serving on the Council at the time the goals were first adopted in 2011. Citizens are being asked to read the background information provided below and then download the 2014 Updated Council Goals document. To view the previous 2011 goals, link here.
The format for the work session included four tasks, briefly described below with its outcome at the close of work session:
Task: Review the wording and grouping of the focus areas contained for the goals. Some of the questions the Councilors asked themselves were… Are the goals still relevant today – have conditions changed since 2011? What kind of feedback have we heard from citizens recently that may or may not be reflected in our emphasis and goal setting actions? Is there language in the goals that should be refined, added or deleted to reflect our current emphasis? Should we add goals or focus areas? Outcome: While the majority of the wording for the goals and their focus areas did not change, the Councilors did better define or clarify some of the goals, including adding language to some focus areas that they felt was missing – for example, they added “support for local businesses” as part of their Economic Vitality goal, because it was missing in the original document, and they had very clearly heard citizens asking for more County support of existing businesses, not just bringing in new businesses.
Task: Simplify the goals. The 16 goals adopted in 2011 encompassed ten focus areas – a significant amount of information that made it difficult to relay effectively to citizens and converse easily about the goals when making decisions. The Council wanted to greatly simplify the presentation of the plan to facilitate public outreach efforts and aid citizen understanding, as well as assist the Staff in being able to easily identify with the goals in their day-to-day activities. Outcome: The Council refined and regrouped the goals into three new over-arching categories where they would like to concentrate staff efforts and spending. The three new categories are: Economic Vitality, Quality of Life & Quality Governance. Three new goals were added, increasing the total number of goals to 19. Focus areas were re-organized to fit under the three main categories, but remained largely intact. (Note: in the attached 2014 Updated Goals document, the items that were modified are highlighted with an asterisk.)
Task: Review the goals in light of today’s current budget constraints, and consider limited staffing and resources to accomplish the Management Action Plans that staff will develop in order to achieve the adopted goals. Outcome: The Councilors conducted an exercise so that they could personally identify the goals that they felt were the greatest areas needing focus in the short-term, and then used that data to have a broad discussion as a Council about the results. This was an important part of building consensus among the Councilors about a path forward for the future. While the Council emphasized repeatedly that the exercise was simply one for internal guidance, because all of the goals and focus areas are important, they felt at the close of the work session that their general discussion had been useful in setting the framework for the upcoming budget development, beginning in November.
Task: Determine “next steps” for soliciting public feedback about the updates made to the goals, prior to taking any official action at a Council meeting to adopt the 2014 Updated Goals. Outcome: Council requested that the County launch a public outreach campaign, including such options as this “Open Forum”, to publicly post the revised document and show the public the changes that were proposed on November 16th. It’s important to note that the Council did not take formal action to approve the new document on November 16th. They are interested in hearing from the public first. No Council meeting date has been set yet for the Council to adopt the new document; however, it is expected that they will either make further revisions based on feedback, or, will take action to adopt the document in January 2014.
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Outcome: Council Mtg Discussion
February 4, 2014
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