My self-imposed probationary period ends on July 1st, 2018.
When I took office in January I committed to spending at least six months learning the intricacies of municipal government in general, and the City of Willoughby operations more specifically. A crash course in Mayor 101. I understood that the administrative/executive branch of city government (mayor) and the legislative branch (city council) worked as a collective, but with different roles and, fortunately, my experience on City Council helped my transition to Mayor tremendously. What I didn’t fully realize is the complexity of municipal government.
My background in private sector business has been based on providing monoline services. That is, we focused on one product and worked to do it better than our competitors. Sounds simple, but difficult in execution. Municipal government is vastly different. It is like running multiple businesses, each with different responsibilities, goals and personnel. Police/Fire, Service, Parks and Recreation, Finance, Economic Development and Law all function differently and require their unique sets of skills and training. All need to operate together to provide the services we are fortunate to enjoy.
My probationary period was also a time to become better acquainted with the directors, administrators and staff of City Hall and our Police and Fire Departments. More than learning their responsibilities, I was eager to learn about them as people. To understand what is important to them, what motivates them and why they invest so much into our community. In private sector, they call this “culture”, an overused term today but still, in my opinion, the key to success and important to insure a results-driven team. Building a culture of trust, respect, empathy and ethical behavior fosters positive results. I’ve seen this happen and I know it works. Apparently so did Dave Anderson. I found that Willoughby government functions at a high level and our staff truly cares about this community. There is always room for improvement in both services and staff development, but the team Dave assembled has proven to be responsible and effective. I am delighted to be working with them.
With my probation over, it is time to start looking forward and continue working to create a shared vision for our City. Working with City Council and our departments we will be investigating new opportunities for our Community in the coming months. As this vision is developed and vetted by staff and Council we will be bringing them to our residents for their input. This is really exciting for me!
We have just begun our new course in Mayor 401.