This past week the Council held a lunch session with the past leaders of our unique City. The City Manager and I thought this would be an excellent opportunity to share this past year’s initiatives and gather crucial input from our past Council members and City Managers. This group was invited in acknowledgment of a great tradition of dedicated political leadership contributing to a variety of components that we love about our great City.
One such attendee was Rick Wykoff, who holds the unique distinction of serving as our City Manager, Mayor, Council member, and as a Planning Commissioner. He currently chairs that same committee.
This past year we created various sub-committees to address six initiatives we have decided to focus on. Two Council members serve on these committees along with the assigned staff to create potential action items for the full Council’s consideration. Each Council member shared their perspectives regarding their committee(s) and discussed upcoming issues they felt would need additional consideration.
This was followed by each former Council or staff member sharing their perspective on the current state of affairs and any additional areas or issues that may require future consideration.
I have always been a great fan of learning the history of any arena I enter. I have found that to understand any issue it is important to create a historical analysis of the issue and the past attempts to create a solution. Whenever possible I try to speak with those who actually addressed the matters and hear firsthand what their thoughts were at the time and in retrospect. The inner workings of any organization are best understood first hand or in the alternative as recollected by a participant.
We were honored to be joined by Marland Townsend whose knowledge and recollection of our City is second to none. His insights into the past as well as his thoughts about the present and potential future solutions were spot on. Also in attendance were past Council members: Art Kiesel, Linda Koelling, Bob Fitzgerald and Steve Okamoto, along with past City Manager Jim Hardy.
While the meeting itself was productive and impactful, I am more interested in the process and the future. I am hopeful that we as a community and elected officials can continue the dialogue that bridges the past into the present and sets the parameters for the future. It is important to remember that few actions taken by a Council have an immediate impact on our City. In most cases, the actual impact of any action occurs many years down the road. As we look at our current as-built City, it was the vision of a forty year plan that is almost fifty years old. More importantly the current changes that are underway were considered and vetted ten to fifteen years past.
With the understanding that changes to City take time and careful deliberation, it becomes increasingly important to become a part of the dialogue sooner than later. In this way residents can become informed, involved and understand the underlying foundation of the issue being considered.
In closing I would like to share a personal evaluation to what I picked up along the way. I ask myself what did I do well and what did I do less well. I then ask my team, what do they think I did well and what did I do less well. And then finally what would I do differently to improve my outcome in the future. We as a city and as a community must continue to evaluated and re-evaluate our efforts pre- and post- their enactment. In this way, we can both improve our performance and avoid nostalgic inaction based upon the perception that change is not necessary or not inevitable.
August 17, 2016
Legacy and Looking Forward