BY LAUREN HENRY
The Organizational Effectiveness Action Group worked toward finalizing an implementation plan for bettering the overall organization of Greeneville during a Wednesday meeting.
The Town of Greeneville's 20/20 Vision project is designed to develop ways to maximize the Town's resources as it moves into the future.
Wednesday's Organizational Effectiveness Action Group meeting was the group's second, and grew from the 20/20 Vision public workshop in November.
The November workshop, in turn, came from ideas presented at the Board of Mayor and Aldermen's Strategic Planning retreat in September.
The 20/20 Vision has five broad strategic emphases. An action group will focus on each one.
An action group for "Organizational Effectiveness" is one of the five and has completed its second meeting, while none of the other action groups except "Downtown Revitalization" has met yet.
The action group's facilitator, City Administrator Todd Smith, said he wanted to use Wednesday's meeting to go through an action plan and "solidify to the point we can do some homework."
Although Wednesday's meeting was not as well attended as the first, several who attended have volunteered their time and knowledge to making various points of the action plan a reality.
Smith wrote a draft action plan, which was published in Tuesday's edition of The Greeneville Sun.
He said the plan is a reflection of the previous meetings. Currently it consists of seven goals, with several strategies under each, and methods to measure the goals' success.
The plan served as a focus for Wednesday's discussion.
The first goal is to "revise the Town Charter by June 2014 to improve efficiencies and enhance service delivery."
Smith explained that the charter was changed once -- in 2012 -- when the switch to a city administrator form of government was made.
However, that change has "spurred additional changes" and several "opportunities to be more effective," Smith said.
He also said that language needs to be revised "since when it was written was 100 years ago."
Smith said he has spoken to the Board of Mayor and Aldermen and would like to hold charter-change workshops following three of the next board meetings.
The meetings would tentatively follow the two board meetings in February and the first one in March.
Smith would also like to utilize the assistance of the Municipal Technical Advisory Services (MTAS) of the University of Tennessee, which facilitated the Town's form-of-government change.
The second goal is to "deploy an effective Town website by February 2013 and utilize other social media tools to communicate with citizens.
Smith said the Town's Public Relations specialist, Amy Rose, is already working toward this goal by improving the website's design, and through the Town's new Facebook and Twitter presence.
Local businessman Robbie Britton attended the meeting and suggested the Town "don't forget Pinterest." He said it is currently the number three social site.
Smith said that the charter and the Municipal Code are posted on the Town's website but he said he would like to eventually publish the board's agendas and minutes and several other documents on the website on a consistent basis.
The Town is working with the same contractor who revamped the Greeneville City Schools website, according to Smith.
He said it will make it easier for internal use of the website. Basically, it will be easier for department heads to update their pages.
Smith said the final strategy for goal number two grew from the previous meeting's discussion: "Organizational Effectiveness Group to develop a third party platform to advertise special events in Greeneville."
Smith said he wasn't sure how this should look but looked to the group for ideas.
This prompted much discussion of how to communicate and organize Town events.
The resulting discussion covered the third goal as well: "build a community calendar of events that promotes a cross-section of community, entertainment, sporting, and other events within Greeneville."
Britton looked to area cities for examples and recalled how many have Town banners downtown that advertise events that are coming up.
"There is something nostalgic about that big banner," he said.
Other ideas included:
* developing a printed publication that would advertise community events;
* creating an online calendar of events;
* developing a calendar exchange with nearby communities;
* requesting The Greeneville Sun and/or the Greeneville Neighbor to increase coverage and better communicate community events and a community calendar.
Michelle Harmon said events organization interests her, and she volunteered to head the effort to turn this bullet point into a reality and figure out how it will look.
"If we can get it out that this is what we're starting, [the community], and new business in particular, will want to be a part of it," Harmon said.
The fourth goal focuses on the budget: "develop budget strategies by end of [fiscal year] 2013 that anticipates future challenges and opportunities to include capital projects."
Smith said there is currently a rough capital plan development and a rough replacement plan for the Town's aging infrastructure, but he would like to see it improved.
Greeneville Water Commission Superintendent Laura White was present and said that the Water Commission currently has a five-year projected capital plan, but much in the plan changes because "you never know what's going to happen [with water]."
She said sewer expenses are easier to project, but water is more of a reaction and emergency basis.
The next goal reads: "analyze town departments, joint ventures, utility partners, and other nonprofit service providers to strengthen service delivery and reduce costs."
Smith said he would like to see the Town, the Greeneville Light & Power System's board and the Water Commission conduct workshops on organizational efficiencies. He pushed the goal date of February back to March.
White said the Water Department is currently somewhat involved in joint ventures.
Smith explained that the GL&PS and the Water Commission's current cooperation centers around allowing GL&PS and Water Commission employees to be available once a month at the same place and time for individuals needing paperwork for Planning Commission and Board of Zoning Appeals approval.
Britton cited an example of how better communication among Greeneville service-providers could have saved money.
He said the construction at the Greeneville Municipal Airport was completed recently but portions will have to be redug soon in order to lay water lines, which could have been done simultaneously with construction.
Also, joint ventures of Greeneville and Greene County that are already in existence were discussed.
Some of those include the Greeneville/Greene County Public Library, the Greeneville/Greene County Transfer Station and Landfill, and 911 services.
Smith said documentation is needed that outlines who is responsible for what in the upkeep and organization of each of the joint ventures.
He would like to empower boards over each venture which would be responsible for most of the decision-making.
Beth Hembree, who works with the library, said that currently it is impossible to get improvements completed because no one knows who is responsible.
She cited several needed infrastructure improvements such as rotting columns, chipping paint, and leaks from the roof.
She said the library director has been trying to get work done since January of last year, but nothing has been started, much less completed.
"Incorporate Customer Service into (the) Town's culture" was the sixth goal.
Smith said all department heads will attend a retreat in February during which he hopes to spark the beginning of this emphasis.
He also said he has provided department heads with a book written by Graham Richard: "Performance is the Best Politics."
Britton offered the services of speakers on customer service who he uses for his own employees.
The final goal reads: "identify a process to capture additional grant opportunities."
Loveit Baumgardner said she is a grant writer and has recently attended a class on the grant-writing process at the University of Tennessee.
She said she currently gets the government RSS feed and would like to assist the Town with identifying and perhaps even writing grants.
"There is money out there," she said. "If I can help, I'm here."
Smith said he will take the discussion from Wednesday's meeting and revise the action plan. The final document will serve as a guide for the beginning of implementation.
He said he was pleased with how many persons volunteered their time to make this a reality.
"That is the purpose of these action group meetings," he said.
The next meeting on "Organizational Effectiveness" will most likely come after some of the strategies begin implementation, Smith said.