Council/Mayor "Retreat" from doing th...

Council/Mayor "Retreat" from doing their job Part One

Posted in the Doraville Forum

Enough Is Enough

Atlanta, GA

#1 Aug 14, 2012
Doraville City Council and their illustrious leader recently held a retreat off site to come up with solutions to the city's problems. One citizen responds to their miserable findings and empty actions they plan to take.
City Council,
Thank you for the summary. But to be honest....this might be the nail in the coffin for my family's time here in Doraville.
There is absolutely nothing of merit in this document. The “action” items are not really action. If you did everything on this list….nothing would change. It is all smoke and mirrors. And it confirms my fears that Doraville isn’t going to get better anytime soon, and my family will be better off investing in a different community.
improve morale and pride in city
How? What is the plan?
develop identity
Wrong. You have to pick something and then it will develop. Not the other way around. Make us the best located city in all of GA. Make us the best retirement community. Make us the most ethnically diverse area and the China town, little Italy, mini Mexico of the south. Make our schools dual language schools, build a huge Chinese style gate on Buford highway.
Just PICK….because in the mean time…we are “developing” a reputation as a rental city, as a wholesale city, as a run down city, as a massage parlor/check cashing/pawn city, as a city that upwardly mobile people and businesses don't want to be.
explore incentives to attract desirable business
How about “OFFER” incentives…. This should have been explored years ago. We don’t have time to keep exploring.
develop awareness campaign
What is this? Awareness of what? To who? And when? Who is in charge of this? We’ve already started a website in a matter of months that has done more than city council has in a decade to make people aware of the good things we offer. How about "Roll out awareness campaign designed to ride the wave of all the transportation talk in the city and make sure people know and think of Doraville as the most convenient place in GA."
explore rerouting 5K to highlight more attractive areas of town
Why ‘explore’?? You can’t just do it? You can’t just tell someone….hey, reroute the 5k so it goes by better looking stuff? There is no action here.
And the underlying issue here…is that Doraville is run down. Where is the action item on here that cleans us up? Because then, this isn’t even necessary. How about the person in charge of “EXPLORING” takes that energy and just picks up some trash.
improve website
This is a great, vague, non measurable “action” item. What is this? Who is doing this? This is something you could ask Citizens for Progress to help you with. But my guess is you won’t.
identify cities that are effective at marketing and contact them to learn best practices; Donna - Oct. 1, 2012
Again, you could ask us to go out and do this and report back to you. Although this should have been a long time ago. And it doesn’t mean anything to just talk to someone. What are you going to do with the info? This should read “Talk to other cities and enact a minimum of 3 of their initiatives by the end of the year.” Real action….not “look like I am doing something but I’m not really doing anything.”
Enough Is Enough

Atlanta, GA

#2 Aug 14, 2012
Space limitations made me have to split the report in half. Here is the second part:

If a president at a company put as his action item,“Investigate other companies and try to meet with other successful companies to learn from them.” He’d be fired on the spot. People in charge do that anyway, they stay on top of their industry; they read and constantly learn about all the new stuff in their field. This should just get done AND something should have to happen as a result.
And you have one of the world’s greatest city planning schools at GA Tech. Get Doraville to be one of their students' thesis. The BeltLine project was a student thesis.
conduct SWOT analysis via SurveyMonkey; Walt - August 15, 2012
This one is the most offensive to me. We’ve done this. This is a waste of time and money and gets us nowhere. You are the city that cried survey/ study. The last four years all you’ve done is gather info. DO something with that info.
And I can tell you what our weaknesses are. You know what they are. One of them is NEVER committing to any real change as proved by this document.
develop time-line of tasks to be accomplished before change occurs; search firm and City Attorney to develop
What? Developing a time line isn’t actually doing anything. So, you have a list of things to do before the change? Did you do them? Will you? Or will you look at the list after the change and say (what is becoming the new motto for Doraville)“We are fully aware of the things we should have done.“
determine what can be accomplished under Home Rule and what needs to go before the General Assembly; City Attorney - October 1, 2012
How about “Produce the necessary deliverables to successfully go before the General Assembly.”
research residential permit fee abatement; Brian - October 1, 2012
Again, we are going to be the most researched city in the world with nothing to show for it. Why don’t you just try it, for 6 months and see. Why isn’t this,“Roll out pilot fee abatement initiative from September to the end of the year and use the information gathered to determine the next phase of fee abatement plan.”
meet with major landlords to share city’s goals and see where they can help; Robert to develop strategy including commercial breakfast - October 1, 2012
This is another…”look like we are doing something without having to really commit to anything or make any changes.” This should at least be,“Meet with landlords to share city’s goals and vision and make sure businesses understand that the city expects them to respect this plan and the citizens in whose community they are guests.”
contact leaders of Doraville Business Association to encourage revival; Donna - September 1, 2012
How are you going to “encourage” this? What does this mean? This is another meeting with no deliverables.
develop foreclosure registry; Trudy - October 1, 2012
And then what? I think Trudy might actually be able to do this…but then what are you going to do with it. You guys are stopping short again of action and commitment.
reach out to Collier Pharmacy for annexation; Donna to initiate contact - August 1, 2012
Reaching out is not doing. What do you want to accomplish? Meetings are not accomplishments.
share annexation “punch-list” with Council; Donna to distribute - August 1,2012.
Sharing a list isn’t actually doing work or making changes. You have as one of your priority action items…”email people something.” Why don’t you add in red to this list.“Go to bathroom”“Drive to work” And what happens once this is shared…What is the desired outcome from having shared this? The more important action item would be…”AND THEN…do something with this info.”
have City Attorney inform Council of issues regarding sign codes; August 13,2012
Why hasn’t he done this? And where is the necessary follow up of “AND THEN…make necessary changes.”
distribute draft code to Council; Donna - August 3, 2012
AND THEN….????
Enough Is Enough

Atlanta, GA

#3 Aug 14, 2012
And finally, the rest of the summary.

This is posted so people will see just what kind of leadership (or lack thereof)we have running our city.

need trash receptacles at MARTA stops; Donna to have staff reach out to MARTA - September1, 2012
You just made this a 3 degrees of separation responsibility. Donna has to first contact a staff member who then has to contact MARTA who then might get these.
You don’t hold yourselves accountable ever. You could technically say that you did your job, when you make your job telling someone else to do something. Make your job getting these trash cans. Agree to having them at the stops by the end of the year.
AND THEN….
have each department develop annual goals and objectives that are tied to performance measures; Donna will work with HR to begin process –
You don’t have this already? Scary. AND THEN….
In fact…add AND THEN….to everything on this list. That is what matters here. And I honestly feel like this city council and management group have no intention of getting to the most important part….the AND THEN part.
When do we see the results? You haven’t committed to anything that matters. You had a retreat to come up with a list of things to NOT do. That’s what this list is. Things you will look like you are doing, but not actually deliver.

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