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Great city goals means great city results

by Joe Panella

Boca Raton’s annual 2020-2021 Strategic Planning Session, also known as “Goal-Setting”, will be held on April 29, 30, and May 1.  The City Council and members of the City’s Executive Leadership team, facilitated by consultants from Strategic Government Resources, will meet to discuss the vision for the City and develop strategic goals for the 2020-2021 fiscal year.  The meetings are open to the public and there will be time allotted daily for public input.  

Last year’s 2019-2020 Strategic Plan is online at myboca.us.  It is informative and easy to read.  Anyone interested in good governance should take a few minutes to read it. Decide for yourself how successful Boca Raton is at setting and achieving goals.

Which brings us to the question at hand

The Objectives associated with reaching the goals are, in many cases, not specific or measurable.  They all lack a due date for completion of an objective.  And in most, there is no specific outcome that can be measured.  

Here’s a great example, related to the retention of skilled city employees.  

  • The Goal is titled: City Services and Staffing
  • A key Objective is:  Measure, propose innovative approaches, and report on changes to current practices to assist in maintaining a qualified workforce, recruitment practices, on-boarding, succession planning, and class & compensation model to address employee retention, recruitment, and salary compression issues

Good enough, so far as it goes.  But how is one to know if success has been achieved?  A specific, measurable Objective should read, “Achieve a 95% employee retention rate by 2021”.  That is a goal that can objectively evaluate the effectiveness of any actions related to the Objective.

Here’s another city goal

  • The Goal is titled:   Partnership with the Greater Boca Raton Beach and Park District
  • A key Objective is:   Develop one all-inclusive master agreement with District to address roles, relationships, responsibilities, financing, and support by the City for various District facilities/operations.

In this case, the Objective is specific, but there is no due date.  When will this happen?  In September of 2020?  March of 2021?  Sometime in 2023?  With a specific target date, a plan could be built and executed to meet this date, and we could declare success if the date is met. Is it any wonder 2019 had the worst relationship with The District in recent memory? 

Let’s set good city goals and evaluate leadership against achieving them

So what can we, as interested citizen-voters, do to improve the outcomes associated with this rather large taxpayer investment in Goal-Setting?  

  • Ask the city leaders, both councilors and city staff, to ensure that this year’s Goals and Objectives are specific and measurable.
  • Make suggestions for concrete goals and timeline to achieve them that you think will improve our city.  Many of the goals in prior years were put forward by citizens, so you have a voice!
  • Ask City Council to add goals and dates to the performance plans of the City Manager and Assistant City Managers and evaluate job performance against the goals and dates.
  • Ask City Council to institute bonus plans for managers and city employees for exceeding and/or meeting goals.

Making requests can be done during public comment periods during the Goal-Setting in late April, or by emailing your city councilors (see links below)

To that end, BocaFirst has several suggestions for this year’s Goals:

  1. Begin construction of the Wildflower/Silver Palm project no later than August 1st 2020.
  2. Fund and implement safety initiatives on East Palmetto by September 30 2020:
    1. Crosswalk at Wavecrest Way
    2. 20 mph speed limit
    3. Improved visibility at crossroads
    4. Add state of the art protected bike lanes
  3. Work with the county, approve and fund plans for the Beachside Renovation project by November 1 2020
    1. Mirror downtown portion on section east of bridge
    2. Replace concrete sidewalks with pavers
    3. Implement decorative lightposts
    4. Landscaping on Palmetto Park street corners
    5. Add wayfinding signage throughout Boca Beachside not just Palmetto
    6. Public Art in public spaces, not just parks
    7. Fund and implement Gumbo Limbo master plan
  4. Develop and fund plans for roadway and transportation improvements required to manage traffic coming and going from the new Brightline station by January 1 2021.
  5. Ensure fully funded last mile transportation and state of the art pedestrian crossings of tracks, Dixie and Federal Hwy by Brightline opening.
  6. Fund and execute necessary changes so the city can apply for Silver Bicycle Friendly Community award status with an August 2021 application
  7. Develop and fund a plan for to complete the Palmetto Park combined pedestrian/bicycle path east of the El Rio Canal by December 1 2020.
  8. Submit successful grant application for El Rio Trail pedestrian/bicycle tunnel under Spanish River Blvd in February 2021
Boca Raton City Council

Good governance begins with citizen involvement. Have your voice heard at City Hall by contacting your City Council/CRA Members:

As shown (L to R):
Jeremy Rodgers jrodgers@ci.boca-raton.fl.us
Andrea Levine O’Rourke aorourke@ci.boca-raton.fl.us
Mayor Scott Singer ssinger@ci.boca-raton.fl.us
Monica Mayotte mmayotte@ci.boca-raton.fl.us
Andy Thomson athomson@myboca.us

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