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Farmington council gets first look at updated strategic plan

Farmington city council member Doug Bonar has likened the city’s new strategic plan to an onion. Onions, after all, have many layers. So does the proposed strategic plan.

Introduced to the city council in draft form as part of Monday’s regular meeting, the strategic plan is the product of an all-day workshop held by city staff and council members in March. The workshop was conducted by Dave Unmacht of Springsted Incorporated, who facilitated the strategic planning process.

Council members and staff identified several areas they wanted to concentrate on improving, as part of that process. What city administrator David McKnight brought to council this week was the first draft of Unmacht’s findings and recommendations.

Unmacht’s draft strategic plan identified six major priorities for the city to work on: organizational development, application of technology, economic development, operations and finances, communication and engagement, and enterprise operations. Each priority is defined, and has more specific goals listed, and each goal includes action steps that can be reviewed and changed as necessary.

In his memo, McKnight called the strategic plan “a guide and roadmap for the city moving forward.” The plan will be updated as needed, and he intends to provide those updates each year.

It will also be used to help plan and prioritize expenditures in the city’s budget next year and beyond, McKnight said.

McKnight stressed that the document presented Monday was a draft. He is seeking feedback from city council members and will include that information in an updated draft, which will be put before council for a final approval when it is complete.

The strategic plan will enter its implementation phase once it is complete and approved by council members.

While several members have to still share their input, the initial response from council was positive.

“It reflects what we spent that whole day doing,” mayor Todd Larson said.

Bonar had shared his thoughts on the document with McKnight prior to Monday’s meeting.

“I’m encouraged by the next step we’ve taken as an organization,” Bonar said. “I do think that the six items that are listed in the work session are an appropriate representation of what we discussed.

“I will look forward to peeling the onion in the foreseeable future, to see how our city administration and staff accepts the short-term responsibilities in the implementation phase. I do see a few gaps in this presentation, I look forward to seeing how they are in-filled and hearing more from our department heads as to how they’re going to take this strategic plan and make it a living document,” he said.

Michelle Leonard

Michelle Leonard joined the Woodbury Bulletin staff in November, 2014, after 14 years covering news for the Bulletin's sister publication, the Farmington Rosemount Independent Town Pages.  Michelle earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Communications: News-Editorial from Mankato State University in 1991. She is an active member of the American Legion Auxiliary Clifford Larson Unit 189 of Farmington, and served as the 2014-15 Third District President to the American Legion Auxiliary Department of Minnesota. Michelle is also the volunteer coordinator for the Minnesota Newspaper Museum which is open annually during the Minnesota State Fair. She has earned Minnesota Newspaper Association awards in Investigative Reporting, Local News Coverage, Feature Photography and Column Writing. 

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