“Goals, Roles, & Expectations”

Most municipalities do not have a master strategic plan to guide them into their future. This can create confusion, dysfunction, and inefficiency among the professional staff and board members. The Meyner Center will lead a discussion of the municipal elected board to help them to identify and prioritize short- and long-term goals for the municipality.  The meeting is conducted on a day and time separate from a regular board meeting with all members of the management staff present to answer questions from the board.  We will lead the board through a listing of all possible goals, and then assist members in establishing the priority of the goals.  This is a public meeting where the public is welcome to attend and hear the deliberations, but the creation of the master strategic plan is best done solely by the board without any public input during the creation.  The public obviously has the ability to comment on the deliberations and creation of the plan in the future.

Once the priority of goals is established, we will continue to facilitate the discussion to help the board determine who in the municipality (elected members, staff, committee officials, and/or appointed professionals) should be providing what role to meet those goals and objectives.

Once the goals and roles are established, we will help the board identify expectations in terms of how to measure the attainment of the goals.  While the performance or completion of some objectives is easily measured (such as the construction of a building or street), measuring the performance of other goals is more complicated.  We will assist the board in setting realistic expectations for accomplishing this master strategic plan, and the format for reviewing performance.

When the session is completed, we will provide a final report summarizing the day’s accomplishments. While a municipality’s vision should change through time, this master strategic plan will identify the baseline list of prioritized goals for the future.  By identifying roles of the board and staff, you create an understanding as to who will be responsible for what, and by when.  The establishment of expectations will provide the necessary barometer for measuring the degree of completion of the Plan.

This facilitated meeting and the final report will provide several, significant benefits to the municipality. The final report will provide a master strategic plan that can be amended in the future to reflect the changing needs of the municipality.  Of equal importance, the process can develop trust and camaraderie among staff and members of the board.  It can open the lines of communication that will help the board to understand one and another, and provide the staff with the opportunity to better understand the board’s vision for the future.  While individual board members may not always agree on some policy and operations, they will have the opportunity to express their individual opinions, and to develop an understanding of each other’s views.  This trust, respect, and understanding will help to make future municipal meetings more efficient and productive, which will benefit everyone individually and the municipality as a whole.

Strategic plan preparations have included:

Easton City Community and Economic Development (2022/2023): The Center worked with Easton’s Community and Development Committee to facilitate a Business Recruitment Strategy.

Lehigh Valley Institute of Justice (2021): The Center worked with the Lehigh Valley Justice Institute to facilitate a retreat and produce a report of the retreat and strategic plan.

Upper Providence (2017): The Center prepared a strategic plan for Upper Providence Township.

Princeton (2016): The Center prepared a strategic plan for the Public Works Department of the Town of Princeton, New Jersey.

Upper Uwchlan (2016): The Center prepared a strategic plan for the Public Works Department of Upper Uwchlan Township, Pennsylvania.

Lehigh County Commission Retreat, Pennsylvania (2011): On January 25, the Associate Director facilitated a discussion among all nine members of the Lehigh County Commission, helping them establish goals for the year. Chief Clerk David Barilla also was present.

Forks Township Strategic Plan (2011): In March, the Center facilitated a discussion among the members of the board of supervisors and prepared a report with the second update of the township’s strategic plan.

Associate Director Nicole Beckett has 21 years of experience in municipal management in northeast Pennsylvania, including 12 years as the Borough Manager in Lehighton, where she managed a full-service municipality with a total budget of $20 million. Her experience in municipal government provides her with an excellent background to assist municipalities in managerial recruitment, administrative studies, financial analysis, and preparation of strategic plans.  She understands the culture of municipal government and the importance of the services provided by efficient and productive management personnel who work closely with the elected board.