Sunday, July 29, 2018

Last week’s Visioning Session at the Lake Worth City Commission.

Now that all the critics — the usual suspects and all the naysayers and malcontents have had their say — let’s take a look back at what happened last week.

This all-day Visioning Work Session will be the gift that keeps on giving. Content for many weeks and months of future blog posts.

Yes, there were some at this meeting who grumbled about this or that but that’s to be expected from those who spend most of their week trying to put out fires and dealing with complaints all day. But with fewer and fewer fires to fight it’s time to look forward. And that’s what City Manager Michael Bornstein decided to do. That was the purpose for “Visioning”. It was sad to see some cynical gestures and some ‘making of faces’ now and then from officials in the highest levels of this City administration. No doubt happy to be on the platform but not quite ready to board the train.

At any point whilst reading this blog post you can begin to watch the City’s YouTube video of this meeting, more information about the facilitating consultant, and some brief notes scroll back up and click on this link.

This Special Work Session was from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 on Tuesday, July 24th, attended by the City Commission, administration and department heads in a “retreat” format. The purpose was to allow the mayor, commission and staff time to focus and look at where Lake Worth will be in the future.

A big part of that future is messaging, branding and outreach which will draw some chuckles from blog readers. The City still hasn’t created an official Facebook page. Just keeps on dithering. Meanwhile, the nearby municipality of Greenacres has been using Twitter in combination with Facebook quite effectively for almost two years. Click on this link for a view of the Visioning Session on Twitter in Lake Worth City Hall.

You see, an official photo on the City’s Twitter feed is OK. But the City doesn’t have an official Facebook feed. November 11th will be another Veterans Day Parade in this City and then will come the annual hand-wringing and solemn faces at the City Commission why attendance is so low. Again. Just like the miserably low attendance at the Memorial Day event this year. Again. And the dithering about Facebook continues. . .

“So why now for this ‘visioning’ thing?”

The answer is simple. It was time.

Instead of dealing with the mundane daily business of running a City, it was an opportunity to look at the “Big Picture”. The meeting was held in the Commission chambers. The first two rows of seats where removed allowing a large table to be placed in front of the dais. The public could come and go all day long during the meeting. I showed up between 3:00 and 4:00. Curiously asked around if any news media or anyone from The Palm Beach Post showed up and nobody recalled seeing any reporters.

While I was there you could see that the Commission had been very busy earlier in the day with the help of facilitator and consultant Kevin Knutson. There were large sheets of paper posted on the walls showing thoughts expressed during the day about the general direction and condition of the City. I was able to capture most of them. Look them over. Some will be surprising and others not as much.

Click on all images to enlarge:

One of the recurring themes was how the City presents itself to the world. There was also a lot of discussion on the importance of redevelopment and getting a larger share of tourism dollars through additional hotel rooms. The City’s demographics, ways in which to improve incomes and the importance of our education infrastructure were all identified as important areas of future focus.

How the product of this meeting will manifest itself and become integrated into actual policies and procedures is yet to be seen. It is my understanding that Mr. Knutson and his colleagues will distill areas where the mayor, commissioners, administration and staff share a common vision. This should emerge as some sort of report in the coming weeks or months in the form of a written report or a public presentation to the Commission.

This is the first “Visioning Session” I remember this City holding in a quite a long while. They were much more common 10–15 years ago. For a while they were held on an annual basis. 

Here some more sheets posted
on the wall from the session:

Please check back every few days for more about this Visioning Work Session. And it might be good for some public officials to pay close attention as well when they begin to go “off the rails”. And this will also be good information for those seeking election and re-election on March 12th, 2019. The “Visioning” train is heading forward. Not backward.

When the next blog post is up will place a note at the top of the right-hand column.

And, as always, Thank You for visiting today.