A news release was issued today by Commissioner Ann Murguia listing the goals of six Unified Government commissioners, a majority of the commission.
According to commissioners, the release is an effort to get their goals known to the public.
The release was a topic of discussion at the Jan. 16 UG Commission meeting, where Mayor Mark Holland asked Commissioner Murguia if it was worked on outside of a public meeting. It was not part of a public meeting. The release had been emailed by Commissioner Murguia to members of the commission to get their comments and make changes to it.
The six commissions whose names were on the release included Murguia, Hal Walker, Jim Walters, Angela Markley, Mike Kane and Tarence Maddox.
The goals covered in the news release were discussed in recent strategic planning sessions.
The goals, according to the release, include the hiring of a new administrator and police chief; studying the UG charter to see if changes are needed; ensuring that the UG ethics policy does not impede initiatives that would benefit the county; economic development; getting delinquent property back on the tax rolls; reviewing development projects that are not successful; finding ways to improve or construct new buildings for public safety; improving sidewalks; code enforcement sanctions and fines, and animal control.
The text of the news release:
Six Unified Government Commissioners of Wyandotte County announce their Unified and On-going Commitment to Progressive and Open Government for Wyandotte County in 2014.
In 2013 the entire Commission engaged in two separate strategic planning sessions to determine their priorities. As a result of those public meetings ten (10) priority goals for the upcoming year were determined. Currently the Commission meets three (3) of the four (4) Thursdays every month. Given the number of goals the Commission wants to accomplish it has recommended to the Mayor that the Commission meet every Thursday evening. The Mayor has begun to work on the 2014 calendar and the Commission will continue to follow up on their request to add an additional commission meeting night to accomplish the goals listed below.
1) New Unified Government Administrator and Police Chief The announced retirement of Unified Government Administrator Dennis Hays in 2013 has had the Commission diligently seeking a quality replacement. The search firm has been hired and finding the best qualified candidate is well underway.
The Administrator is the top Unified Government staff person and is in charge of the daily county government operation throughout the County. It is the Administrator that the elected officials rely on to disperse the financial resources the Commission provides, evenly, throughout the entire county in the most efficient and effective manner. It will be crucial for the Administrator to lead the way on enhancing cooperation with Edwardsville and Bonner Springs. The Administrator must serve as a role model for the staff working at the Unified Government. That is why it is imperative for the Administrator to be honest, trustworthy, fair, and inclusive and a person of high integrity.
The Mayor will recommend a candidate to the Commission for hiring. It requires at least six Commissioners to approve the recommended candidate to be offered the position. This process should be complete by March 2014.
Like the Unified Government Administrator, the Commission is looking forward to the hiring of the new Police Chief. The new Administrator will hire for this position.
2) The Charter The Unified Government Charter is a top priority. It has been 15 years since this consolidated government was formed, and given our experience we want to look at whether we can make changes that emphasize a more open and professional government.
3) Ethics Commissioners fully support ethics ordinances that outline what the Commission determine appropriate behavior for elected officials and employees of the Unified Government. However, we need to ensure that the ethics policy does not impede progressive initiatives by elected officials or staff that benefit our county. In addition, the Commission, who establishes the ethics policy, wants to be assured it is being implemented fairly across the board from the Mayor to the volunteer at the Unified Government.
4) Economic Development Economic development is one big way to expand our tax base and finally supply some much needed tax relief to our constituents. Wyandotte County continues to experience successful economic development across the county.
The Commission hopes to take economic development to an all new high level of success in 2014.
5) Taxes Getting tax delinquent property back on the tax roles is as important as bringing new housing and business to Wyandotte County. In 2013 a team of Commissioner’s worked to develop new policy around the current tax sale and land bank system. Discussions will continue and it is anticipated that by summer 2014 a pilot program will be in place.
6) Project review 2014 is definitely a time for review and that should include our past investments in development. We have much to celebrate but there are some projects that have not proven as financially or socially lucrative as hoped. Over the spring and summer these projects will be reviewed and the Commission hopes to utilize our professional staff to present alternative strategies for those less successful projects.
7) Public safety Fire and police station improvements remain a challenge for the Commission but we are dedicated to identifying progressive and innovative ways to improve and or construct new buildings over the next several years throughout the entire community.
8) Sidewalks Sidewalks are a big topic of discussion for this Commission. They are the connections to everything in our communities. They allow all of our constituents, regardless of economic status to access local businesses, churches, schools and each other. We need to invest sufficient resources and foster partnerships with private business, neighborhood groups and charitable organizations to improve infrastructure that can be used by each and every one of our constituents.
9) And 10) Code Enforcement and Animal Control Code enforcement and animal control are very important to the Commission. There needs to be sanctions and fines for those who do not comply. To have the public care about their property we need to reward those who are following the law by penalizing those who don’t. The Commission has spent significant time on looking at ways to be more aggressive in these areas. We are all confident that significant changes will be made to our current system to ensure the best possible results for the entire community in 2014.