As you may recall from a previous newsletter, throughout the year I plan on sharing updates about the City Strategic Plan. We have six key focus areas of responsible growth, transportation and infrastructure, business and economic vitality, public health and safety, a vibrant and sustainable community, and government excellence. The focus in this newsletter is on Government Excellence. Our Strategic Plan states the following as it relates to government excellence:
Meridian will encourage open, transparent and approachable government. We will embody our CARE values utilizing proactive, high quality communication with our citizens and stakeholders enhancing community engagement. We will invest in our employees in order to deliver our citizens the most innovative, efficient, and value-added services, while providing financially sound, resilient and effective government.
To achieve success in this focus area, we have identified several goals (listed below) in Government Excellence that our departments are actively working on.
Provide increased accessibility and transparency to government information at all levels, which empowers residents to make decision, utilize their voice and make informed decisions.
One major effort from our IT and Communications teams, in partnership with our departments is our new redesigned website, which launched on November 30th. It represents a huge step forward in usability, presentation and content. Our MyMeridian Podcast was also created and implemented this year to provide our citizens an opportunity to learn about how our city works, and the core functions of local government. We look to expand our podcasts this spring with our City’s partners; such as ACHD, West Ada Schools, the Meridian Library District, and more.
Pursue solutions to ensure growth pays for itself in areas of education, transportation, and other government provided services to achieve community priorities.
We have been working closely with our education partners and legislators to pursue solutions so that education needs are not dependent upon property tax bonds and levies. And while the City just updated our impact fees for police, fire and parks, we continue to work with Ada County to see if impact fees should be utilized to fund the future needs of Emergency Medical Services, the Ada County jail and other County services. We have also continued to work with our partners at the state to ensure ACHD has the resources necessary for roadway improvements connecting to the future Highway 16 extension.
Empower employees to innovate operations, update ordinances and simplify processes in order to improve effectiveness and provide premier services to our citizens.
I have made a big commitment emphasizing our CARE values of: Customer Service, Accountability, Respect and Excellence by empowering our employees to innovate in their work. Our City’s Innovation and Change Academy has been busy this year, training 39 employees to identify waste in internal processes, and find solutions in those areas to improve the effectiveness of the services we offer. We improved processes in our inventory management and budget amendment routing system to reduce 200 hours of staff time spent in these processes. Additionally, we have worked to reduce red tape by removing outdated ordinances and updating policies, as exampled by the removal of an extra affidavit step of one permit process or removal of fees from other permits.
Utilize data informed decision making to meet the premier standards for customer service and service delivery.
Our 2022 Citizen Survey provided lots of great data comparing how our city is viewed with other cities around the region and country. The good news is that we rank higher than our peer cities across the country in 41 out of the 43 categories that were surveyed. We also drilled down on some key areas that deserve our attention. You have concerns about growth and its impacts on transportation, traffic, education and core services in traffic enforcement and planning and zoning services. We are listening to you and we have taken steps to work on addressing these issues.
Exemplify and prioritize premier service through investment in our employees with skill-based training and career path advancement opportunities.
Government excellence can sound like a wonderful soundbite, but without our employees, it means nothing. Your Meridian employees treat their roles and duties with great care, and are the best I have been privileged to work with. The job market continues to be one of the most challenging in recent memory, and our City is not immune to those impacts. We have taken steps to retain employees, improve our supervisor training programs and update career path development.
Every single resource we commit is precious, and I’m proud of your public servants who deliver the best value to our community. The Meridian Way is alive and well with the actions we take in Government Excellence. As we continue to use our strategic plan as our guide, I am confident that there is excellence in government services to ensure Meridian is the premier community in which to live, work and raise a family.