City Staff Meets To Review Strategic Planning Initiative

OCEAN CITY – City Manager David Recor’s strategic planning initiative is well under way as a working document, the Leaders Guide 2012, was released this week and a workshop was held with city staff and management to review and update before forwarding to the Mayor and City Council.

The Strategic Planning Model starts with a vision that will describe the value-based principles that describe the preferred future in 15 years. Next is a plan of goals that focus outcome-based objectives and potential actions for five years. Third is the execution of a work program that includes a policy agenda for the Mayor and City Council and a management agenda for staff and major projects. Fourth is a mission to include principles that define the responsibility of town government and frame the primary services and core service businesses. The final item is core beliefs of personal values that define performance standards and expectations for employees.

The guide includes a list of action ideas in 2013 from the Mayor and City Council’s perspective of 81 items. The list includes a variety of items, such as a tax differential, outsourcing of town services, a storm water management plan, a north development project, pedestrian safety, canal dredging, comfort stations, smoking on the beach and even an IMAX theatre.

Following the Mayor and City Council’s action ideas are other action ideas developed by city departments beginning with major challenges, projects and issues in progress, and targets for 2013 and 2014 that go on for 136 pages.

“All those need to be folded into those issues that have been raised by the elected officials,” Recor said.

The draft vision statement is, “Ocean City 2028 is a 1st class coastal resort with a great beach and waterways the choice of families. Ocean City 2028 is safe and clean, is accessible and easy travel, is a place for fun/enjoyment for all, and has livable neighborhoods for full time residents.”

“It is a working draft of a vision,” Recor said. “Each one of those elements of that mission is a guiding principle.”

The Leaders Guide breaks the statement into each individual guiding principle and lists what that principle means in a number of ways to Ocean City’s residents and visitors, along with a priority column. The council will vote to refine the vision.

The same will be done with the draft mission statement, which is, “The mission of the town government is to provide personal caring municipal services and to serve as a responsive host to our guests and residents while acting in a financially responsible manner delivered by a professional town workforce.”

Next the Leaders Guide lists five proposed goals for the Town of Ocean City 2018. They are at this point a 1st class resort and tourist destination, a financially sound town government, revitalized Ocean City, development and redevelopment, more livable community for residents and excellent service through a high performing town organization.

“This is where the foundation of the strategic plan has been built,” Recor said.

Each goal comes with a list of objectives that also comes along with a column to rate its priority. The council will also vote on the final goals and objectives.

“Not every one of these will survive, but that does not necessarily mean it will fall off the table,” Recor said.

On Tuesday, the department heads, management and staff spent the day developing goals, objectives and action items that will be used to help the Mayor and City Council and community realize the vision.

“I couldn’t be more pleased with the staff,” Recor said. “They were engaged the entire day. There were departments interacting with each other that you normally wouldn’t expect … it was a lot to pack into one day.”

On Dec. 17 and 18, the Mayor and City Council will begin the process of building consensus and prioritizing the information in the Leaders Guide.

An updated version of the Leaders Guide will be posted to the city’s website prior to the Mayor and City Council’s meeting, which will be open to the public and held at the Roland E. Powell Convention Center.

After the council’s review, the document will return to department heads, management and staff where the action items and implementation schedule will be set up.

Next, will be a citizen’s summit where the Mayor and City Council will have the opportunity to appoint at least seven residents and business leaders to review and evaluate the plan for feedback.

The Strategic Plan should be completed by early March, according to Recor.