Residentdriven Thrust Announced To Set County Directions
By Victor Cruz
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Mayor Alex Penelas and county staff have announced a strategic planning initiative for Miami-Dade.
The 18-month process, planned to begin later this month, is intended to be a resident-driven effort to make county government more responsive to the community.
First suggested by former county manager Merrett Stierheim, the process will include a series of public meetings and workshops to solicit information from the community, its leaders and elected officials. It also will include a large community forum Dec. 13 in the Miami Beach Convention Center.
The strategic planning process would ultimately be tied to the county’s budget, said County Manager Steve Shiver last week during his announcement of the plan.
A five-person consulting team, four of which hail from the Tallahassee-based research and consulting firm MGT of America Inc., was retained to oversee the process. The four include project director Fred Seaman, project manager Jeff Ling, project integration coordinator Raul Castro and Krista Mooney. Roymi Membiela, senior vice president of the KSR research firm, is also a project manager.
County commissioners, currently being interviewed by the consultants, are to nominate focus group participants in strategic areas of importance. Those areas are planning teams for human services, economic development, transportation, environment, public safety, culture and recreation and neighborhood services. Members will be encouraged to obtain feedback.
In the past, said county staff, recommendations for where to spend resources came from county management without a formal way of getting community input. This process will change that and develop a consensus on the community’s beliefs as to the county’s strengths and weaknesses, officials said.
The idea is to tie the annual business plans of the county’s more than 50 departments to the components of the strategic plan so that each area will be accountable for accomplishing its part. The plan also would be linked to other strategic initiatives launched by the mayor and to the annual review of community councils that asks the groups to define priorities.
The plan, according to county documents, will develop a vision, a mission and a set of guiding principles for county government. Then a set of goals, strategies and key objectives are to be developed.
At least five workshops are scheduled to gather input from citizens. A workshop schedule is being drafted and will become public within two weeks, said Corrine Brody, director of the county’s Office of Performance Improvement.
In addition, at the county’s Sept. 22 budget hearing, those in attendance will be asked to fill out surveys about Miami-Dade’s service-delivery priorities, vision and guiding principles. A survey will be available to the public next week on the county’s website – www.miamidade.gov under the "strategic plan" heading, Ms. Brody said. Those without computer access would be encouraged to use Miami-Dade County libraries to complete a survey form.
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