The Government Operations and Rules Committee held a public meeting on Tuesday,
December 7, 2010, beginning at 10:15 a.m. The purpose of the meeting was to finalize the City Council goals for FY 11-12 and FY 12-13 to present a recommendation on the goals to the City Council.
Present at the meeting were Councillor Sam Seidel and Councillor Timothy J. Toomey, Co-Chairs of the Committee, Councillor Leland Cheung, Vice Mayor Henrietta Davis, City Clerk D. Margaret Drury and Sandra Albano, Executive Assistant to the City Council.
Councillor Toomey convened the meeting and explained the purpose. Councillor Cheung said that it was not quite clear to him how these proposed goals were developed.
Councillor Toomey reviewed the process. He noted that this process of goal development has gone on for quite a while. The first committee meeting on the topic took place on August 16, 2010. The FY 11-12 and 12-13 goals were the subject of a facilitated roundtable meeting of the City Council on September 20th. Stacie Smith, Consensus Building Institute, who facilitated the roundtable, met with senior administrative staff and conducted individual interviews with councillors. The City Manager contracted Opinion Dynamics Corporation, a national public opinion polling firm, to conduct a statistically valid citizen satisfaction survey. The Government Operations and Rules Committee sponsored a World Café event on for a discussion by representatives of a wide variety of Cambridge citizen organizations about the future of Cambridge. CBI staff submitted a final report with findings and recommendations. (Attachment 1), along with reports of the goal setting events (Appendices A-F). On November 17th, the co-chairs of the committee met with the facilitators to go over these reports which included recommendations for some adjustment of the current goals as a result of analysis of all of the input from the sources described. The co-chairs then sent a draft of the proposed goals and CBI reports to all members of the City Council inviting their comments and any proposed changes prior to this meeting. No comments or proposed changes were received.
Councillor Cheung asked why there were no sub-goals. Councillor Toomey explained that at the roundtable meeting they heard from several of the councillors that they believed that the City Council should establish a set of overarching goals and not go to the next level of detail during this process. Some councillors felt that shorter term objectives for these overarching goals could be left for council committees to set in consultation with administrative staff who are working on those particular issues.
Vice Mayor Davis said that she strongly supports making the connection between committees and City Council goals. There is a partial chart illustrating that approach in Appendix B to the facilitator's report. She suggested that some time in this meeting be devoted to working out a lead committee for each goal. Lead committees would not have exclusive jurisdiction; other committees could consider issues related to their committee; it would assure that every goal would have a committee that is paying attention to it. Councillors Toomey and Cheung both voiced concern about making a recommendation assigning specific goals to specific committees without providing an opportunity for committee chairs to be involved in a committee discussion on this issue. All agreed that this matter is an important issue that needed further consideration and should not be overlooked in the face of the myriad time demands faced by members of the City Council. Councillor Seidel said that the administrative staff working on the subject area of the goal and the committee should also be better connected. The following motion was approved by all present:
ORDERED: That the issue of how to ensure that the City Council goals, the City Council committees and the City departments all connect to foster efficient and collaborative results be referred to the Government Operations and Rules Committee.
Councillor Toomey asked if there was any further discussion on the proposed goals.
Vice Mayor Davis said that perhaps there should be a goal relative to the zoning amendments that the City Council spends so much time on; that work is actually work on Cambridge's future.
Councillor Seidel said that implicit in all of the goals is the City Council's work on the future of the city.
Councillor Toomey made the following motion:
ORDERED: That the City Council go on record adopting the following goals for FY11-12 and FY12-13:
Foster Community and support Neighborhood Vitality. Support Opportunities for Citizens to Participate and to Know Each Other within their neighborhoods and across the city.
Evaluate City expenditures with a view of maintaining a Strong Fiscal Position and awareness of the impact on taxpayers while providing a high quality array of city services.
Strengthen and support Human Services, Public Education and Out of School Learning in Cambridge for the benefit of residents of all ages.
Value and support the racial, socioeconomic, cultural and religious Diversity of our city.
Promote Public Safety and address the challenges and opportunities for Multiple Modes of Transportation to Safely Share roads and sidewalks.
Promote a Healthy Community and Environment to advance Cambridge as a leader in public health and environmental sustainability.
Preserve and create Affordable Housing for low, moderate and middle-income families and other residents across the city.
Promote doing Business in Cambridge and work to strengthen our mutually beneficial Partnerships with Businesses and Universities.
The motion passed without objection.
Councillor Toomey and Councillor Seidel thanked all those present for their participation. The meeting was adjourned at 12:15 P.M.
For the Committee,
Councillor Sam Seidel, Co-Chair,
Government Operations and Rules Committee
Councillor Timothy J. Toomey, Jr., Co-Chair,
Government Operations and Rules Committee