Dear Bainbridge Islanders,
Last week, I explained that during the last few columns I write as your City Manager, that I want to focus on what I
believe to be the four most impactful initiatives undertaken by the City to improve the organization during the past six years. Those initiatives are: Use of Best Practices, Strategic Thinking, Performance Measurement, and Transparency. Last week, I wrote about how the City has used best practices.
This week, my focus is on the initiative of Strategic Thinking. Local government has a very broad focus and a never ending list of issues, projects, and problems to solve. The fact is that we simply can't do everything, which is why strategic thinking is so critical. In a nutshell, strategic thinking in local government is about identifying what local government can and will do to improve the community - with the understanding we can't do it all.
Beginning in 2012, the City Council and City Management Team have conducted annual strategic planning sessions (we call them Advances) to discuss our values and vision, internal and external pressures, previous accomplishments, and identification of priorities for the upcoming two years. Of course, we have a very clear vision and values established in the Comprehensive Plan, which is a strategic plan. Our annual approach is a more focused look at how the goals and priorities outlined in the Comprehensive Plan will be implemented. Even though we have directed significant energy toward implementation of the Comprehensive Plan during this past year, I would point out that the Comprehensive Plan is intended to be a 15 year plan. It is not meant to all be implemented within a year or two after it is adopted.
Once the City Council has agreed upon the one or two-year strategic plan, staff will develop a work plan, including a schedule of work. The work plan is incorporated into budgeting decisions and, it is then the responsibility of the City Manager to make sure the goals and priorities established by the City Council are implemented.