Well, the end of the year is at hand. The end of my first term as your city commissioner is at hand. So what am I thinking about as the year winds down?
For those of you who are old enough to remember the Ed Sullivan Show, who was that guy who kept all the plates spinning atop those pointed wooden sticks? You know, he would start one spinning, and another, and another, all the while “re-spinning” slowing plates so as not to let them fall off the sticks. I think that might be a metaphor for the past 24 months. Just to mention a few city plates that were spinning: a hotel, curbside recycling, E 911, the animal shelter, the “bump out” riverfront park, and of course the unexpected structural problems with City Hall. These are the big plates that cannot come crashing down. Fortunately, we have a cadre of talented people in City Hall. Yes, we all have our stories, and I certainly have had mine, but at the end of the day we really have a good group. I would be particularly remiss in not thanking City Manager Jeff Pederson for taking time to have lunch with me most Tuesdays, for probably the most productive hour I spend all week. So, thanks.
Moving into 2015, I’m thinking that we all have a real opportunity to work closely with our (largely new) county government. While I’m at it, I have met the Paducah Economic Development guy, Scott Darnell, and he is a winner. Already there is a better working environment between our two organizations, and that’s a good thing.
Then, there is this quiet guy in the city. Shhh, don’t tell anyone… but it’s Jon Perkins, head of finance. We have a lunch date, over chili, about once a quarter. I always feel better about our finances after lunch with Jon, and it isn’t the chili that gives me that good feeling either.
My biggest surprise in elected office has been that we (the mayor, commission and department heads) don’t meet just by ourselves. Of course I understand “sunshine” laws, with the media always in the room, and that’s O.K. It’s just that when I was in business, I met with department heads monthly to hash it out and get those ideas flowing. Even the crazy ideas always had a kernel of good in them. We can’t do that like I’m used to, and I’m not convinced that we are better for it.
Lastly, I’m thinking of the conversations you and I have had about our city. I would not change those meetings with you all (I guess I’m supposed to say “y’all” there) one bit. So here’s the deal—for the next 24 months, you keep me informed on your thoughts, and that will keep me energized.
Now if I can just figure how to sleep through the night…