Monday, April 12, 2010

The Rest of the Story

Our fine local paper has published a story documenting my first 100 days in office. Personally, I do not find the story negative in any real way except that it fails to list a myriad of initiatives that have come about in the last few months. Before I continue, I would like to state this for the record. Much of the stuff that has been initiated should have been happening for the last 10 years at least. However, the reality is that I was not Mayor ten years ago and what is even more sad is that no one in Dayton stood up to the system and said "Enough is enough" during those same ten years. Until now.
The critics are coming out but I have realized that critics rarely step up to the plate to do their part. It took a "No name nobody from the neighborhood" (as I have been described) to get every ones attention.
I am charged with making common sense out of the consequences of decades of indecision. Can I really be expected to produce results in 100 days? One thing I have realized is that as a city organization we tend to be reactive. Not pro-active. I have often stated, and will continue to state that I am a problem solver, not a politician. I have taken many initiatives in the last few months that should help solve many time consuming problems. I have recognized many simple solutions that will reduce the waste of staff time.
Here is what the paper failed to print, probably due to space limitations and the fact that these types of headlines fail to sell newspapers.

My leadership council has volunteered to assist with making improvements in our building and zoning code regulations that inhibit small business growth and start up. In fact, several issues have been resolved because city staff has a clearer understanding of how an entrepreneur thinks. This understanding has already gone a long way in the facilitation of our existing pool of business start ups. In fact, many things have happened behind the scenes that the newspaper has never been aware of. I like it that way. They can write about success after it happens instead of failure before it happens!

I have made a point to to proactively talk with businesses when I hear that their lease is due to expire and that they have the option to leave. I will try to retain businesses here before they have to make a decision.

I am trying to develop a list of non-profits for Dayton but include in the list exactly what services they offer. There are over 1200 non-profits in Dayton and few are aware of who their competition is. Publishing such a list should enable consolidation and make our non-profits more effective in their ventures. This work involves utilizing several community entities and is still in the development stage.

I am also trying to establish a similar list for committees and boards in the area so people wanting to help can tap into what already exists. There is no need to re-invent the wheel.
I initiated a City of Dayton Employee Appreciation Week that helped lift employee moral and have begun looking into establishing an employee recognition program. This used to be done at city hall but was cut due to budgets. I am looking into using some of my own money and partnering with the business community to initiate a program once again.

Our department heads are being challenged to be entrepreneurial in their thinking. They are being asked to develop ways to enterprise their departments in such a way that it generates revenue for the city.

The city manager and myself have committed to meeting the county administrator and a county commissioner regularly on a monthly basis.

I am attempting to attend all meetings that involve our suburbs in an effort to reach out and solicit support from our neighbors. This has already had a positive impact.

We are pushing even harder for recycling efforts.

Our police department is being encouraged to become more transparent with regards to crime reporting so that our citizens have the needed tools to be more vigilant in their own neighborhoods.

We are aggressively increasing our databases so that we can communicate with our citizens and stakeholders. Our email database has almost doubled since I was elected.

I have regular appearances on Channel 2 and Channel 45 once a month in the mornings to talk for three minutes about good things happening in Dayton and the region.

The reality is that I cannot list all the small scale initiatives that I have taken in the last 100 days. None of these initiatives involved the vote of the commission. Most of them make sense when it comes to being more effective or efficient. More things have been initiated in the last few months then have been over several years. Things will continue to develop. When we run out of ideas, then it is time to look for new leadership. I hope I don't run out of ideas and I will always encourage citizens to submit theirs to city hall.

As for the video clip about me. It was also fair. It was snippets compiled of my conversation with the reporter. I can't figure out why they want to focus on my hands though. Maybe they think it reveals something about me. I would like to add though that that my hobby became my profession for over a decade. This is something that many people dream of. Instead of developing a career, I was able to design a lifestyle for myself that was the envy of anyone who truly understands what this entailed.

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