Priorities: Top Ten List for the City Manager

I outlined the need for top ten lists. The magic number may not be ten, maybe only three. But some suitably small number that people can carry around in their hip pockets to keep everyone marching to the same tune.

I’ve also offered a top ten list for the Council.

So here I offer for your consideration a top … well, seven so far, list for the City Manager. Please comment and provide suggested additions, deletions, and changes, but also please provide your reasoning and underlying factual support.

1. Build the infrastructure to execute the Council priorities

  • The Council serves at the pleasure of we the people.
  • The City Manager serves at the pleasure of the Council.
  • The City Government serves at the pleasure of the City Manager.

Therefore, the City Government serves at the pleasure of we the people through due process. So let’s just let everybody get it straight and publish some rules and priorities that follow the law:

2. Communicate with We the People

Build the infrastructure to communicate with the taxpayer. This post provides a range of suggestions. In short, the CM needs a way to hang out with the people and get their sense, as well as their priorities.

3. Reorganize City departments into Current Operations and Future Operations:

We need two major departments at the top of the city organization:

     * Future Operations
     * Current Operations
Each and every element of the current city organization:

http://www.cityofnewport.com/departments/city-manager/2013-14-city-organization-chart

can be parsed into one or the other of these two departments.

I discuss this further in this post.

4. Develop a strategic plan for the city for Council ratification

Develop such a plan in a modular form, publish the plan on the City website and encourage public feedback and contribution

See this post for further thoughts.

5. Fervently examine outsourcing much farther than is currently done:

Include replacing city operations functions with contractor operations utilities, teachers, harbor division, and on.

Check the ORG chart. All, with the exception of Police, Fire, and emergency services could be quite happily performed by contractors such as SAIC, NetSimCo, Booz Allen, and a host of others. It works for the Feds, it can work here. Such entities would seek out local talent, since they are experienced and don’t need to be retrained.

6. Examine current contracting policy, with an eye towards maximizing the use of Firm Fixed Price (FFP) contracts:

Is there a “contracting policy” now?

Section 9 of the City Charter addresses budgeting, but I cannot find any specific contracting policy. SECTION 9-23. COMPETITIVE BIDDING requires competitive bidding, so would be a good place to put such a policy.

7. Enforce more energetically the laws already on the books: loitering, jay walking, noise, red-light running, violations of rights-of-way, speeding, bikes on sidewalks, bikes in the wrong direction, parking in the wrong direction or wrong side, derelict property (“broken windows”), etc.. etc., etc. At present, Newport, especially downtown, Bellevue Center, and the Point, is a mecca for petty lawlessness. The “Broken Windows” approach has proven the adage that “Take care of the little things and the big ones take care of themselves.”

More to follow. Help me out. Comment and make your suggestions.

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