2014-01-30 / Front Page

Council sets goals for 2014

Acting on recreation study one of town’s top priorities
By Margo Sullivan

The Town Council set its goals for the upcoming year on Monday afternoon at a special work session. Council President Kristine Trocki presented the condensed list of 14 goals as a starting point for the discussion.

The recreation study stayed on the front burner, as the councilors attempted to whittle the list of goals down from more than 30 potential objectives. The list, however, sparked some disagreements between the councilors and the town administrator.

Among the items that made the cut, the councilors on Jan. 27 decided to:

• Choose on a preliminary design for the golf course;

• Discuss affordable housing;

• Develop a community policing model;

• Approve a policy on surveillance cameras;

• Finalize an inventory of harbor and town assets;

• Establish a policy for liquor on town property.

After consulting with the individual councilors, Town Administrator Kevin Paicos had developed a list of about 34 goals, but Trocki said she wanted to delete more than half the items because the council has already completed the projects or because they should be considered normal operations. For example, establishing goals and setting deadlines could come off the list because the councilors were undertaking the task now, she said.

She also suggested removing the individual names of councilors from a specific goal because the objectives should belong to the entire Town Council.

But Paicos replied that all the items on the list of goals had come from the councilors. “All I did was put them on a piece of paper,” he said.

Also, he put the names of the councilors beside the goals they mentioned for a reason. Paicos said he wasn’t sure if the goals were a shared concern among the councilors.

“Unless I hear from the whole council, I don’t know if it’s one councilor or the whole,” he said.

Paicos said he would need the information to prioritize and function effectively.

Councilor Blake Dickinson asked for clarification about the short list of goals. He said he was unclear how Trocki decided which items to omit.

According to Trocki, she felt some projects were either done or ongoing.

For example, the landfill closure is staying on the list temporarily due to its significance, but in reality, the work is all but completed, except for a couple of minor tasks, she said.

As an example of the council’s regular responsibilities, she and Councilor Mary Meagher mentioned the goal to dispatch the public’s business in a professional and respectful way.

Trocki also said capital improvements should not be a goal because that work is ongoing.

“It seems like policy things are out,” Dickinson offered.

“Yes,” she said.

Trocki explained she cut out items the department heads would probably propose because they would be department goals, not council objectives.

For example, the fire chief plans on budgeting funds to train medical workers in advanced life support.

“They will be policy issues,” she said.

Trocki said she wanted to keep council goals separate from the objectives of department heads. She eliminated some goals on the Paicos list so the council could come up with a manageable document.

“Let’s get us into a working document,” she said, rather than try to work with a list of 34 “things.”

According to Trocki, the recreation study should be at the top of the list. She noted, however, that Meagher “had a potential issue” about words used to state the exact goal.

Meagher said she saw the entire review of the department as the “preeminent goal,” and not merely the action plan Paicos was proposing about implementation.

Trocki noted several other important issues and projects seemed to be “subsets” of the recreation study. Specifically, she said, she would list the decisions about the golf course, Fort Getty and possibly building a performing arts center.

However, the questions about the performance center may be separate, according to Meagher. Trocki said the council could in reality opt to break out separate topics later, but she maintained the recreation study worked as the “umbrella” to organize the other projects.

“I see five I would like to ask you for clarification,” Paicos said.

He went on to say Trocki had eliminated establishing goals and setting deadlines, but he needed some direction about whether the council wanted him to develop a system for evaluating department heads.

He estimated the task would require about 200 hours of his time.

“Goal setting is the first step,” he said. According to Paicos, labor laws require that employees must understand “what they are being evaluated against.” However, Jamestown does not have any annual evaluation system, so Paicos would have to develop one.

Councilor Eugene Mihaly suggested putting the item back on the list, but Meagher said perhaps the evaluation was “important, but part of a bigger discussion.”

Paicos replied it would be a “massive work undertaking,” and would qualify as a goal because it represents a project that would consume “a lot of my time and staff time.”

Trocki said she would not want to see 200 hours spent on evaluating department heads.

Dickinson suggested going through the list and targeting council priorities, and Meagher suggested starting with the Paicos list, since that approach might be faster.

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