Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Respect is what Flint Needs.

Good Morning Flint!
By Terry Bankert 2/18/09 [2nd draft]


My City Of Flint wants to regain its respect.

Respect for Flint was lost starting with "Roger and Me" peaking with the turmoil between the legislative and executive branches of our city government. What fools fodder we have become.
Respect is what we need.

Respect is esteem (the regard in which one is held) or a sense of the worth or excellence of, a person, a personal quality, ability, or a manifestation of a personal quality or ability. In certain ways, respect manifests itself as a kind of ethic or principle, such as in the commonly taught concept of "[having] respect for others" or the ethic of reciprocity.

Many of us want the City of Flint and its people to be respected and highly regarded because of their commitment to excellence and sense of worth ( ability) as a community.

How do we achieve this "excellence" as a community.

First we have to take care of our own home. That home is the City of Flint Municipal Corporation. Our Municipal accounts are in disarray.

(1.) Our elected, selected and vested interest leaders must get Flint’s money accounts in order first.

The elected leadership is the Flint City council. The selected leadership is the City Administrator acting a temporary Mayor and department heads.

The vested interest leaders are, the downtown business people that have managed to rebuild downtown Flint and others who have improved this town amid all of its turmoil. I include the University and Colleges that have stayed in Flint and are privately re- building. I include those responsible for the new housing in Flint, any business that has stayed in Flint. I include the Flint School system. Without good school young parents will not desire to live in Flint. And lastly I include unions, churches, agencies, neighborhood groups and the individual resident that have dug in deep and are committed to living here.

A. Let the public know what are the state of Flint Finances . The Flint City Council should tell us their financial plans for the city.

My read of the Flint City Charter is that we have a strong council on financial issues and policy.

By a slight of hand, many think it is the Mayors job to set ,monitor and amend the budget but that responsibility falls clearly to the Flint City Council under the Flint City Charter.

Clear the air and let the Citizens of Flint know our real state of financial affairs.

When the City Administrator acting as temporary mayor presents a budget in April what an opportunity to reinvigorate the city? The community must be advised fully.

B. Balance our budget and avoid another State take over at all costs. Do this harsh duty fairly but quickly, before the August election.

C.Use the Council powers of investigation and audit to clear the air of any past actions and impact on current and future budgets. Give who ever the new mayor is breathing space to rebuild Flints service capabilities along the lines of professional management.

D. Regularly advise the public in understandable terms of our current financial plight and how we are getting our economic house in order.

2.Our next mayor and the current city administrator acting as temporary mayor must commit Flint to excellence in municipal administration.

A.Appointments must all be professionally competent

B.Demand a culture of professionalism and dedication to serving the public

C. Report regularly to the public the status of Flint Public service delivery, police, fire, water, roads, etc...

D. Report to the Flint community on how we are building for our future. Put in place mechanisms to cause this. Bring community leaders into this process and regularly advise the public.

The Flint Citizens through individual actions and organizations must be brought into the process of citizen participation.

The three prongs of business, neighborhood, institutions must be brought together. I include the Flint Shools System as a critical institution. We must all work together for Flint.

The real work of Flint occurs within these prongs.

Respect the tremendous value of developers have when they are involved in advocating city policy decisions. There is not city in America that can grow without the involvement of private developers or organizations like Uptown investment.

Respect them, give them their dues, but do not let them run the show.

Institutions like the Mott Foundation, are a natural resource ,a water fall of public benefit.

We did not bring them here, we cannot redirect their activities . We must can respect the foundations. Allow this institution to become fully engaged in the public benefit of Flint. They have a right to their private agenda of "Good". They will pursue their agenda some where why not here.

The neighborhood groups should be supported, not told what to do but helped as they ask for help and open the door to these groups to participate with business and institutions in the future of Flint.

By a commitment to excellence that begins with who ever sits in the Mayors seat, the department heads, policies developed , the monitoring of service delivery and the actions of individual employees we can commit to a search for excellence and respect.

The work environment in the City of Flint has been horrible. A new tone is being set today. The next Mayor must commit to continuing a search for excellence in delivery of municipal service and bring this culture of excellence to the individual employees.

We have a special responsibility to those that work for us. Municipal employees are our employees. They should be treated with the dignity and respect you would want from your own employer.

Our business the Municipal Corporation of the City of Flint must downsize. That can only mean fewer people. This must be done with compassion but firmly. A logical process to preserve basic service must be in place. The executive and legislative branches as equal partners, which they are under the charter, must commit to this painful process.

Flint can begin to regain respect by how it deals with our " accounts" and how we get them in order.

Flint will be measured by our choice for our next Mayor. What kind of Mayor will give us that respect.

1. A Mayor that can recruit, from within or from the outside, and retain professional leadership to delivery Flint services. These professionals must follow the priorities set by the Mayor in organization and the Flint City Council by funding. These professionals must respect the role of the council to set and monitor the budget.

2. A Mayor with the ability to bring together the three prongs of our community business, institutions and the neighborhoods is critical to regaining our respect.

3. A Mayor who will be respected by new business that may with to look at Flint for location. Our Mayor must be respected by other local and State of government agencies . Intergovernmental cooperation is a basic requirement of new business development, efficient and effective delivery of services.

4. Inter governmental co-operation is essential. Flint must come back to the table with other units of government in Genesee County , Regional and State Wide. These relationships are essential.

If we can accomplish these things within the year we will be well on the way to regaining respect as a Municipal Corporation and a people who have chosen to live in Flint Michigan.

Posted Here by
Terry Bankert
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