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Royal Oak Super Bowl

 Yes Royal Oak, your about to have "The Big Show." Bigger than the Dream Cruise, more exciting than Arts Beats and Eats, surpassing even Christmas and New Years. At this time over the past five years, I have felt the tension in the air, the apprehension that something big was about to happen, and you could feel it in the air!
 Now you have the fantastic opportunity to watch this show. Join hundreds of your fellow residents and friends for this free and enlighting extravaigansa and see, first hand, your city government in action. You will be entertained by a group of elected officials and city administrators putting on a dazzeling display of "Brain Storming" and "Strategic Planning." As advertised, this show will be this Saturday at 9 a.m. at the Royal Oak Police station.
 To be honest, you will hear hollow words, empty promises, and a tremendous lack of commitment. The two words you will find hard to discern are Responsibility and Accountability. In today's modern politics
these concepts are avoided like the plague.
 In my five years, I expected to see our elected officials develop a Mission Statement and Vision Statement based on their promises to the electorate and approved by them in the electoral process.
 For me the planning process began to fall apart when, I felt, that the administration and staff failed to determine the goals and objectives to achieve  the statement goals. I became disenchanted when I witnessed
goals and objectives being planned with a total absence of methods to measure the results.  I could never understand if you didn't know where you were going how would you know when you get there?
 I firmly believe the city manager, as the administrative head of the city, should determine the staff responsibility's, accountability's, and time frames to meet their assigned goals and objectives. This information would then also become a method for performance review by the city manager. If a goal or objective cannot be measured then it cannot be listed as doable.   
 I did attend last years meeting at Beaumont Hospital and years before in Troy. Still a Saturday morning 9 am meeting? Why not schedule a few CITCOM meetings in this time slot? Could put a lid on public comment!
 I would request that the objective to "Review the city's website for optimization in effort to make it more user friendly (w/in 12 months). How do you measure if we hit this objective? Because it's coded green does this mean we were successful? Why not try to make the system more transparent. What is the present delivery time to citizen's regarding agendas, complete minutes, materials presented  at meetings and their inclusion into minutes. Failures to meet Michigan Open Meet Act requirements. Transparency regarding FOIA policy, charges and delays.
 I'll skip Community Goals as their so vague and unmeasurable. How can "promote", "Rejuvenate", "Review", "Update" honestly be considered goals or objectives. To much "Blue smoke."
 Operational Goals. Same as Community Goals. "Develop a plan", "Provide opportunity", "Explore the possibility", "Review all boards", "Continue working with", "Find efficiencies"' Establish a list" seems to be a pattern. What is the objective and what is the expected results? We have nine barganing units in the city. All city contracts expired the end of June. To date only three BU's have signed contracts. That leaves 6  that need to be signed. Whats the problem? Rather than when to determine when TA's will be posted why not establish a time frame when
all contracts should be signed. Being 7 months past the expire date makes me wonder what the goals and our objectives are for the cities labor attorney and wither we should have a goal to explore retaining another attorney. Maybe the freed up funds in the general fund realized by the Public Safety millage has gotten the attention of the BU's.
 Economic/Tax Base goals. Again, requests that plans, updated lists, and presenting "visions", to what end...what are the expected results.
Fiscal Goals. The city is facing an unfunded liability of over 170 million dollars. This system is not sustainable and is a total drag on the financial stability of Royal Oak. Providing a letter to the state, having a revenue meeting, Prop A, Headlee Act by exploring development and staff demands is not going to solve the problem. Reading the city managers position does not present much hope. Taxes, taxes, taxes, bonds, everything but a plan to start working on the problem. Maybe a goal to start educating the residents would be in order. The city's mission statement reads "Our mission is to provide a safe, healthy, and sustainable community." How do you do this with an unsustainable budget.    
   
 The City of Royal Oak needs a good well grounded Strategic Plan. We have not had one in decades. Lets all watch the results of this Saturday and see if we realize that plan. I'll hope for the best!         

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