City manager stresses being the “best” in his strategic plan for the City of Paris
This was the slide that city manager John Godwin used at Monday’s meeting of the Paris City Council to open his presentation of a comprehensive strategic plan for the City of Paris. (eParisExtra photo by Charles Richards)
By CHARLES RICHARDS
City manager John Godwin on Monday night delivered a long-sought objective by this and previous city councils by outlining a strategic business plan for the City of Paris.
“This is really the first time it has been done, and I want to compliment Mr. Godwin and the staff involved in it,” mayor AJ Hashmi said. Other members of the council joined in expressing their appreciation.
City manager John Godwn
“This is meant to be a starting point toward helping Paris move forward,” Godwin said as he began a department-by-department plan that took more than an hour to present. He used the council’s overhead screen at the back of the chambers to show his recommendations in each of 16 areas of concern.
“Paris is an excellent community with great potential, and we are blessed with many fine, conscientious employees,” the manager said.“But Paris seems to have allowed itself to feel too comfortable with the status quo, and as a result, our organization has been static for some number of years, doing many of the same things the same way year after year,” Godwin added.
Throughout his strategic plan, Godwin used the desirability of having not just good departments, or just being better than other cities, but being the best in the region.
Here are the introduction lines the city manager listed for each of 16 areas of concern:
- Fire Department: “Create and maintain the highest quality fire department in Northeast Texas.”
- Police: “Create and maintain the highest quality police department in Northeast Texas.”
- Public Works: “Create a highly responsive and flexible department that ensures high quality local transportation, reliable wet utilities, successful parks and recreation services, and excellent and affordable sanitation services.”
- Utilities: “Create a highly reliable and flexible department that ensures the safe and reliable supply of potable and raw water, and the proper treatment and disposal of wastewater.”
- Human Resources: “Ensure high quality employee recruitment; the hiring, training and retention of excellent employees; the provision of appropriate competitive benefits; and a safe work environment for city employees.
- Library: “Create and maintain a regionally known, up-to-date, resource-rich, and reliable library facility and function.”
- EMS: “Maintain the highest quality Emergency Medical Service in Northeast Texas.”
- Community Development & Planning: “Create and operate an exceptionally responsive, efficient and efficacious organization dedicated to community development, quality, and improvement.”
- Cox Field Airport: “Establish and maintain Cox Field as the region’s primary general aviation airport.”
- Finance: “Ensure the security and efficient use and investment of public monies.”
- Downtown Paris: “Create and maintain an outstanding, highly competitive downtown that draws regionally.”
- Economic Development: “Create significant economic vitality and competitive growth, establishing Paris as a net destination location.”
- Management: “Create and maintain an outstanding, highly competitive, regionally known community and organization.”
- Animal Control: “Minimize the number of stray and other loose animals in the city, while establishing and maintaining an outstanding shelter facility with a higher-than-industry standard for returning animals to owners and adopting animals to responsible new owners.”
- City Clerk: “Ensure the highest quality administrative and record-keeping support to the Paris City Council, city manager, city attorney and staff.”
- Legal: “Provide high quality and professional legal services to the City of Paris, city council, city management, Paris Economic Development Corporation, and city boards and commissions.”
While setting goals, Godwin’s plan did not suggest how to achieve them.
Mayor Hashmi said: “I think the strategic plan that has been presented is very good, but it is also important to have a plan on how the goals will be achieved.”
He added: “I personally would like to leave that to the city manager. We as a council should provide him directions and objectives and leave it for him to decide how to achieve these goals, and then to bring it back to us.”
Strategic planning is not something that can be done in one day, the mayor said, noting: “It will take some time. We have embarked on a task that we have not done in years, and I again commend the city manager and his staff to have taken this task to heart.”
Hashmi recommended that the council spend several meetings going over each of the 16 chapters of Godwin’s strategic plan – a chapter for each of the city’s departments.
“We will have to go over it for the next few sessions back and forth to finally come up with a plan that we will all be proud of,” the mayor said.
Hashmi then listed eight specific objectives of his own:
- “I want the population of the city to go up by 5,000 over a 10-year period.”
- “I want the infrastructure of the city to be replaced over the next 20 years.”
- “I want the Lake Crook facility developed over the next five years.”
- “I want the airport to become a profitable source of income for the City of Paris.”
- “I want the fire department to reduce the number of fires and decrease the response time.”
- “I want the police department to reduce the crime rate in the city.”
- “I want to develop a parks department plan to ensure beautification and maintenance of our parks.”
- “I want our human resources department to develop job descriptions and assist in hiring and training and determine shortfalls in retention of personnel.”