At last night’s candidate forum I seized the opportunity to share how Maple Heights – in spite of its struggles – can find a way forward. The problems are serious and they require serious solutions. Listen to my comments and view the handout from last night below.
As I see it, we have a runaway government with no vision or financial responsibility. This has led to the current lack of trust which is evident by the failed tax levies and recent polling that found less than 20% of residents believe the City spends money wisely. This mismanagement of the public trust has had a deleterious effect upon our community. We see have felt this in our declining property values, deteriorated streets and infrastructure, and decreased sense of safety.
The negligence of city officials had led us to lose faith. It is hard to believe in the City anymore. But it does not have to be this way; we can make a change. We can find a way forward.
The Solution for Maple Heights
What we need is smart, courageous leadership in Maple Heights. Smart leadership will inspire commitment from residents, which can then be harnessed to turn this community around. The next leader of our City must tirelessly address the issues of transparency, efficiency and trust. They will also need to get out in the front with a realistic vision of what Maple Heights can become in the years ahead.
The solution for Maple includes overhauling government structures, casting a vision for the future, and empowering the City’s most important asset – the people – to make a difference.
Government Efficiency and Accountability
It is 2015, and we need to be using 2015 technology to our advantage. All manner of new programs and systems are available to use to make us more efficient and effective in our work. Additionally, programs like the OpenGov budgetary software greatly increase accountability by allowing residents the ability to see how every dollar is spent.
Maple Heights has resources available to it through the State Auditor’s office that can help us streamline and improve our services. Our next leader must guide Maple Heights through the restructuring that is necessary to prepare the City for the future. One of those restructuring steps may be transitioning from a mayor to a city manager form of government.
The leader of Maple Heights needs to answer these questions: Who are we? Where to we want to go? How to we get there? More or less, the mayor needs to lead the City in setting its course. Like the old proverb says, if we aim at nothing, we will hit it every time.
The next mayor needs to organize citizen advisory groups to solicit input from residents. He also needs to hold planning meetings with the various departments. Ultimately, he must lay out a 2/5/10-year plan for accomplishing the goals of the City. This is leadership.
The most important asset in any community it not the government – it’s the people who live there. At this pivotal juncture, we must enlist the help of as many people as possible. We need to create synergy between the government and the people. Then we can succeed.