Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The City's Top 10 List

I have to give this mayor credit when credit is due. He knows how to play the publicity game at City Hall. There has never been a mayor who has pushed out more press releases on everyday business goings on like he does on a daily basis. That is not a bad thing as long as the steady stream of pablum from 9th Street is interesting and informative. And sometimes it is and sometimes it is pablum.

On January 3, 2012, the mayor's special projects coordinator presented the city's top 10 project list to the city council. She stated this list was not all inclusive as there were many projects she was tracking as well as projects the departments were doing on their own. What was interesting, at the conclusion of the presentation, there was nary a question regarding these projects. The only question was would the coordinator be back for updates or would the information be posted online.

Projects on the "Top 10 List" that we haven't heard a lot about at City Council Information Briefings are the Health Department initiative to push forward a plan to reduce community heart disease, cancer, stroke, and diabetes by 5%;  the Pension Plan project to reduce the city's contributions rates by reducing the employee pension benefits; or the new software projects related to finance, land management integration and online plan review & work flow. All the other "top 10" projects have been on the information radar for quite some time.

Project management was happening long before the mayor's special projects coordinator came on board. The Engineering Division of Public Works is the master on project management. . Major projects "sponsored" by various departments with departmental "project managers" have always existed in city administrations. The directors and management staff have always performed project management duties. So let's not start beating the drums of mayoral accomplishments at business acumen again. Project plans, summaries, milestones, risk planning process, dependency planning process, project sponsor, project manager - all fancy terminology to show something new is happening down at City Hall when it's really not new at all.

I looked for the Top 10 Project List on the city's website but it is not posted yet. It probably has something to do with that "outdated software" issue. Personally, I like the fact that I will be able to go online and track progress on major projects in the city at one location on the city's website.  That's what's new. What's not new is project management where directors and former mayor's used their Chief of Staffs to do the same thing internally.


  1. "nary a question regarding the projects"
    Could it be because this Council got sucked in by the Mayor to fire their competent and knowledgeable chief of council operations who had the ability to look at agendas and raise the questions for the esteemed council? It's a pity the council "ate one of their own".

  2. Good blog Jennifer. As a guy who has been in PR for more than 20 years, sometimes the idea is to flood the media and others with as much info as possible in effort to confuse...or at least deflect... From a PR expert - Frank Meredith -- "Most of the flood of news releases and statements and long-winded speeches we editors get is sheer trash-bait. They're issued more for the greater glorification of your powers-that-be than for serious consideration for space in the paper or time on the air."
    The Genz.

  3. I was at the meeting. I got the impression that most of the audience was not really interested in all the "project" terminology. I've been on special project teams for a large corporation and I really thought this part of the presentation was unnecessary AND way too long................!!

    I believe one of the reasons the Council showed no interest in asking questions is because they understand that a "big part" of why the presentation was happening is to show that the Mayor is NOT going to spend all of his time between now and April 2014 on the Events Center!! They don't believe that and neither do many citizens.