On A Wide Range
Of Specific Items
BY LAUREN HENRY
"Organizational Effectiveness" was the focus Wednesday of the first Action Group meeting related to the 20/20 Vision project for the Town of Greeneville, but ideas for Town improvements spanned everything from event planning to infrastructure upgrades.
"This is just an introductory meeting, but we've already started sharing a lot of ideas on how to make ourselves more effective," said City Administrator and Action Group facilitator Todd Smith.
The Town of Greeneville's 20/20 Vision project is designed to develop ways to maximize the Town's resources of all kinds as it moves into the future.
Wednesday's Action Group meeting grew from the 20/20 Vision public workshop in November. That 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.
"Organizational Effectiveness" is one of the five and the first one to have an Action Group meeting.
Smith said Wednesday that he wanted to hold an introductory meeting before the holidays but really begin work in January.
He presented the group of business-owners, church leaders, and other community members with his proposed goals. They were gleaned, he said, from discussion during the November public workshop.
He presented the following preliminary goals:
* Revise Town Charter by June 2013 to improve efficiencies and enhance service delivery.
Smith said the date will be pushed back a year given the board's decision this week to delay pursuing possible charter changes for a year.
* Deploy an effective Town Website by February 2013 and utilize other social media tools to communicate with citizens.
* Develop budget strategies by the end of fiscal year 2013 that anticipate future challenges and opportunities, to include capital projects.
* Analyze Town departments, joint ventures, and utility partners to strengthen service delivery and reduce costs.
* Incorporate Customer Service into the Town's culture.
* Identify a process to capture additional grant opportunities.
"Already these concepts have ... evolved," he told The Greeneville Sun following Wednesday afternoon's meeting.
A theme voiced by the members of the Action Group was increased community participation.
"It is not up to this group. It is for the citizens in this community," said community member Loveit Baumgardner. "Somehow we have to get them involved."
"I would like to see us develop a few models of what we would like to see in a few years and then present those models to key business leaders, educators and even students," community member Robert Clark said.
"They [the students] are going to be either those who live here or move away."
The group presented ideas they would like to see discussed for possible implementation:
* an event coordinator or community calendar to better coordinate and communicate all events in the Town;
* better Internet Web presence for services available in the Town and organizations available for participation as well as events;
* introduction of wireless Internet for the entire downtown area either all the time or during festivals and community events; and
* increased cooperation with Greene County on joint ventures, such as Kinser Park, the library, Parks and Recreation, and others.
Smith boiled down the comments to three words: cooperation, effectiveness and community.
Action Group member John Brown added to that list two other words: communication and participation.
The Action Group is made up of any interested member of the community. Those present Wednesday expressed passion for the Town of Greeneville.
"I want to be more involved in my community," Clark said. "I like the opportunity to voice my opinion and have people listen."
Clark said he came to Wednesday's meeting with specific goals in mind.
He said he would like to see Greeneville capitalize on some of its natural resources. He also said he envisions a community that integrates cycling and mountain biking into overall community life and tourism opportunities.
He was optimistic about Greeneville's future and said he has grown to love the Town's character and history. He said he attended the meeting to do his part in "directing" Greeneville's future.
"I have some hand in my future," Clark said.
'PARTNERING WITH COMMUNITY'
Greg Isom attended the Action Group with his wife Ginger Isom, pastor of Christ United Methodist Church.
"It is part of our church's vision to partner with the community to better Greeneville," Greg Isom said.
He said he hopes that either he, his wife, or both will be able to attend all of the Action Group meetings on Organizational Effectiveness.
Recently diagnosed with diabetes, he is also passionate about local health and education -- two other of the five major 20/20 strategic topics -- and said he hopes to become active in those Action Groups as well.
"With my diabetes I became acutely aware of eating right," he said.
Isom said he has lost about 50 pounds and has avoided medication by changing and improving his diet.
"A lot of people don't know about healthy eating," he said. "And it starts with education."
He said it is important for the community to become involved.
"It is about the community, for the community. The community has to be a part of this for it to work."
WORK TOWARD CONSENSUS
"By the next meeting we will get more in-depth with these goals and try to come up with a consensus with the group and start putting a plan together to implement," Smith said.
"We really want people who are really interested and have the same passion to move people forward. I think it is quality as opposed to quantity when it comes to volunteers," Smith said.
"I think there are some great ideas out in the community about where we want to be in the future," Smith said.
The next Action Group meetings will be announced at a later time and are open to the public.