Alexandria, La. (Aug. 8, 2019) — Alexandria Mayor Jeffrey W. Hall announced the findings of his transition team report Thursday morning during his August State of the Community briefing at the Randolph Riverfront Center.
“From the day I took office, my staff and I have been carefully looking at every aspect of how your city government operates,” Hall explained. “To do this, we assembled a transition team with representatives from throughout the community. I asked each of these transition team members to take a hard look at how we operate as a city. I challenged them to candidly tell us what we are doing well and where we can improve.”
To ensure every aspect of city government was examined, transition subcommittees focused on five specific areas: quality of life, public safety, infrastructure, community services and support services. The city also enlisted the assistance of a strategic planning firm, Emergent Method, a Louisiana-based strategic planning consultant. The transition teams identified specific targets for improvement in each area.
“We reviewed each recommendation and compiled a list of overall strategic priorities,” Hall said. “These are the things we feel are the most critical and that we must address quickly to effectively meet the needs of our citizens.”
That process yielded eight specific items the administration has identified as strategic priorities. They are:
- Address issues with blight, dumping and other code violations that contribute to a dilapidated appearance and atmosphere. This includes taking steps to improve violation reporting and violation fee structures, addressing substandard living conditions and implementing longer-term strategies to revive dead zones.
- Identify and continue with short-term solutions to address growing crime issues in the area. This includes efforts to maintain competitive officer compensation to retain a full patrol, collaborating with law enforcement and criminal justice partners, empowering neighborhood associations, faith-based organizations, and community center programming to support crime prevention in addition to seeking grants or technical assistance to augment local resources.
- Assess and update policies, ordinances and procedures for addressing complaints related to panhandling. Efforts associated with this priority include enhancing panhandling ordinances and enforcement policies, launching a public awareness campaign to ensure citizens are contributing to legitimate organizations and needs and expanding the Harbor Patrol in the downtown area.
- Streamline internal processes that slow down the speed of government. Tasks associated with achieving this priority include continued improvements to the city’s permitting process, enhancing and re-launching the AlexConnects citizen request for service system, integrating and securing IT functions and systems as well as identifying and addressing limitations that slow procurement processes.
- Address city employee morale and culture issues through proactive and intentional employee engagement. Tasks associated with this priority include identifying and improving employee engagement levels, fostering open, collaborative leadership among supervisory staff, retention of top talent and positioning the City of Alexandria as an employer of choice, implementing a clear and consistent pay plan and instituting succession planning to address expected staff attrition due to retirement.
- Improve customer service across city government. This initiative includes instituting a robust customer service training program, providing leadership training to all supervisory staff, establishing a mechanism for citizens to provide feedback to the city as well as regularly seeking feedback from citizens and community groups.
- Leverage the growth potential that exists for downtown Alexandria by jointly promoting economic development and public safety. This includes implementation of ongoing measures to alleviate parking challenges, expanding local ordinances to accommodate ridesharing and leveraging and improving the downtown riverfront area.
- Develop comprehensive plan to address aging city infrastructure. This includes addressing near-term capital project needs, prioritizing infrastructure that is at or beyond its useful life while developing a long-term asset management and funding plan, implementing safety and training programs for the city workforce, modernizing infrastructure management functions and enhancing customer service and public engagement functions.
“These are the areas we will be putting the greatest emphasis on as we move forward,” Hall said. “We believe that if we do these things right – reduce crime, address critical infrastructure needs, improve employee morale, do a better job of serving our residents’ needs, make it easier to interact with your government without a lot of bureaucratic red tape and we knock down the barriers that impede growth and progress – then a whole lot of other things will fall into place.”
In addition to the overall strategic priorities, various action items were identified in each of the five categories as well. The complete plan will be available for review on the city website at cityofalexandriala.com.
“While the eight strategic priorities will be the focus of our efforts as we move forward, they won’t be the only things we are working on,” Hall said. “There is always much work that needs to be done, and things will come up – like weather-related events – that will demand our immediate attention and must be balanced against other key needs for our community.”
Members of the Transition Team include: William Barron, Jason Cobb, Mike Grant, William Earl Hilton, Damin Horieh, Matt Johns, Greg Jones, Rodney Jones, Gregory O’Quinn, Jimmy Sawtelle, Ron Smith, John Stigall, Phillip Terrell and Jerry Williams.
Members of the Community Services Committee include: Levator Boyd, Dr. David Brooks, Margie Harris, Dallas Hixson, Dr. Haywood Joiner, Patrick O’Quin, Clara Scott, Jannease Seastrunk, Lynell Smith and Morris Taft Thomas.
Members of the Infrastructure Committee include: Blake Chatelain, Thomas David, Thomas David III, Randy Gilchrist, Matt Johns, Anthony Mangun, Freddie Mason, Robert Ratcliff and Jeffery Washington.
Members of the Public Safety Committee include: June Johnson-Davis, Myron Lawson, Gary Maxwell, Amarjit Pillarisetti, Pastor John Russell, J. Michael Small and James Woodley.
Members of the Quality of Life Committee include: Shannon Basco, Mitch Daniels, Michael Jenkins, Richard Kyle, Oday Lavergne, Jay Lynch, Eric Mendoza, Mohammed Mohammed, Matt Ritchie, Nenita Roy/Mendoza, Mike Shelton, Chris Soprano and Mark Vasser.
Members of the Support Services Committee include: Mark Brown, Blake Chatelain, Marvinette Holly, Carmen Luneau, Gregory O’Quinn and John Stigall.