Recently, the County Council took part in a two day strategic planning retreat. I was a little nervous that we would actually get through this process, work together and come to a consensus of the direction of the Council and the County. In the five years I have been on the Council we have never had a strategic plan. I have always worked under a strategic plan in another government office that I have held, in the non-profits that I worked in and the various boards I have served on. So, I always thought it odd that this Council and apparently former Councils never have had a plan. This year the Chair of the Council, Doug Richardson, agreed to hold a retreat. Some of the other members were hesitant but went along. Hence, my nervousness – would they sabotage the efforts by not participating or would they be fully engaged. At the end of the two days my nervousness was put to rest.
It was decided prior to the retreat that this year we would review the focus areas we developed for 2017 and plan strategically for 2018. In 2019 we would do a 3-5 year strategic plan. I agreed that this would be a good process in order for the Council to ease into long term strategic planning. This was a facilitated process that allowed for open discussion with eventual consensus on our values that we need to operate under that included respect for others, respect for differences, work together for the benefit of the whole, be proactive in policy and when necessary, speak as one voice on decided up policies.
Then we got down to the nitty gritty of developing priorities in the focus areas of homelessness and behavioral health, economic development, public safety, and public nuisances and abatements. Our staff is culling the information to produce a working document for this year. I paid close attention to the comments and priorities around homelessness and behavioral health. I chair this committee so I am very interested in working to develop these policies. Other Chairs will do the same for their committees.
This retreat was helpful to all of us. Because we all had input and worked toward consensus, none of us will be working in a vacuum especially in our committee work. This will allow us to be focused and directive in our work and better able to serve our residents. I am looking forward to this year.