|Photo Credit: Leadership Sandy Springs|
Successful organizations have succession plans. And so should Dunwoody. How are we proactively grooming our neighbors in their 20's, 30's & 40's to carry the torch and continue creating a beautiful place to live, work, play and raise a family? How are we proactively increasing diversity and conducting outreach into other communities? Right now, there's a big void. Right now, it's a "Who do you know", and almost a, "How did you help Dunwoody become a city in the prior decade?" We can do better. We MUST.
First thing to do is to ensure we appoint these 20-40 year olds to our city boards & commissions. Don't get me wrong: I LOVE the fact that retired folks are interested in serving, and do so. But it's not an equal representation of our residents. We've seen many of the same folks who tirelessly volunteer in our community on various non-profits and civic organizations, also serve on these boards. They LOVE our city and it's WONDERFUL that they are truly helping to make our city be a better place to live. We ALL LOVE DUNWOODY. And want to see it flourish into the future. Board members need to rotate out of those roles after serving an extended period. Don't let your ego get in the way. Nobody is irreplaceable. And if somehow you think you are, then you're doing a disservice to the future of our city. The reality is that one day all of us reading this will stop being a citizen of Dunwoody. In one way or another.
In order to succeed, those that are active today and "in the know", must be grooming, educating, mentoring and be willing to LET GO. Put these new folks in leadership roles. Put folks in positions today that DON'T KNOW OR CARE WHY WE BECAME A CITY. They live here now, and simply want to guide us in the second decade of our existence. Maybe they only moved to Dunwoody a year or two ago. So what?
PS: Did you know during the first few years as a city, there was no formal mechanism to apply for a position on a city board or commission? Or a public-facing awareness that residents could even apply? I fought for a change in that process in 2013, and it finally took effect.
Apply for a Board Position
Why wait? Apply today!!
City of Dunwoody's Charter
If you read our city's charter, you'll find no mention of only focusing on PARKS, POLICE & PAVING.
If you read our city's charter, you'll find no mention of only having a BARE BONES REACTIONARY STAFF. In confidence, ask any one of our city staff in leadership roles. They'll confirm that they are just keeping their head above water. Putting out fires. You think our Community Development Director has time to actually "Develop" our community? Sorry. That ain't happening
If you read our city's charter, you'll find no mention of NOT OFFERING ACTIVE RECREATION PROGRAMMING OR SERVICES.
If you read our city's charter, you'll find no mention of every year taking sacred budget surpluses and PAVING MORE & MORE ROADS. (We spend around $3M/year on this. When we became a city, we budgeted & forecasted out spending around $2M/year. What other SERVICES or AMENITIES or QUALITY OF LIFE investments could we be making instead?)
If you read our city's charter, you'll find no mention of PAY AS YOU GO / NEVER TAKE ON DEBT. Except if you want to stop an apartment complex from being built and redeveloping it as a livable public/private space, then you can go out & get a low interest loan from the Georgia Municipal Association. Or if you want to buy a building for a new city hall. -- BTW, I fully supported our city doing both of these actions.
If you read our city's charter, you'll find no mention of OUTSOURCING EVERY STAFF POSITION. We started with only police and a few key staff roles as employees. Early on I publicly advocated to bring in our Director-level positions as employees. Read my post back in 2015 about it. They have institutional knowledge and expertise. They cannot simply be swapped out on a whelm "plug & play" dropping in a new person and keep on going. Several years ago, the city finally brought in the director roles. I'd bet we could do an ROI of the total cost we pay to the private companies that we use to outsource the rest of our staff, and find a few more positions that would actually SAVE US MONEY. Afterall, we're paying those firms a profit to act as our city's staffing agencies. (Yes, add in Worker's Comp insurance, employer-portion of FICA / Social Security, employer-match to 401(k) and administrative & overhead costs, and I STILL think we'd come out ahead.)
Is Dunwoody an Innovator or a Laggard?
What do you think?
Inflection Point in Dunwoody
After a decade in existence, our city has proven we can execute daily & tactical governmental operations. We've made a few strategic moves that have been beneficial. But the pace of change is crawling. We're being left behind by Sandy Springs, Chamblee, and our younger neighboring city of Brookhaven on their visionary risk taking and investments for their residents.
We're at an inflection point. It's 2019. It's an election year.
Leadership DunwoodyLook over to our friends in Sandy Springs. Their city budget is roughly four times as ours. They have a great civic organization called Leadership Sandy Springs. They solicit and engage at-large community members to develop, educate & connect them.
Now, we don't necessarily need to create a new organization and raise $$ funds to have paid staff. But surely we can leverage our existing civic organizations, partner with our city government; create and implement a focused leadership development program right here in Dunwoody.
All we simply need is our current leaders to step up and make this happen.