Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Goals, Values, Vision

The City Council recently approved a draft set of values, a draft vision statement and 15 two-year goals. Now we are interested in community feedback on all three.

Before I talk about the community feedback process, let me give you some background on how we got where we are. Each year the council gathers to create a list of goals in order to give staff, our volunteer commissions and the Council itself a set of targets to focus our work for the upcoming year(s). This year, however, we have two new council members and a new mayor so we felt it was important to additionally establish the overarching values and visions of this community. This is important to ensure the Council and city staff is representing the community’s view of itself and of its future.

Community involvement in this project is of the utmost importance. I feel that the Council cannot, and should not, finalize any of these values, visions, or goals without allowing ample time and opportunity for community dialogue.

In an effort to reach as many citizens as possible, we are approaching the community involvement process in many ways including; council liaisons will be presenting the drafts to each of our commissions (ideally, commissioners will respond both as individuals and as a group), there are feedback forms for each of the three components (see the links below) on the City of Ashland website, we will be talking to local service clubs and organizations, and, as always, we encourage everyone to offer feedback via responses to this blog, letters, e-mails, phone calls, and public testimony at council meetings. If you have any additional suggestions on how to get the word out about this process, please be sure to let me know.

Here is a link to the draft values feedback page. Values are supposed to represent what is most important to us as a community.

Here is a link to the draft vision statement feedback page. A vision statement should describe the long term direction in which Ashland should be moving.

And here is the two-year goals feedback page. Goals should be concrete policy actions the Council expects to focus on through July of 2011.

Ideally all three (values, goals, vision) would be completely consistent with each other. In the real world, however, there are often tensions among the three. It is the purpose of our community dialogue to refine, clarify and better align these three elements.

The Council expects to review a revised list of values and a revised vision in November. Input regarding the goals will be used for the Council's goal setting process for Fiscal 2011, which begins next January.

If you have any questions about this process check out the City’s website or contact Ann Seltzer at 552-2106.

Thanks for your help. Be sure to spread the word to your friends and neighbors and encourage their participation in this important work. The Council and I are looking forward to your response.