City Beat May 2023
As published in the February issue of the Mission Village Voice
Everything in life is based on communication, and kudos to the Mission Village Voice for allowing the City Manager to write these articles! As a student of political science, I understand that an independent press as the “watch-dog” of government’s three branches of government, and is an essential component of democracy. The “press” is often referred to as the “fourth branch” or “estate” of government.
On Friday April 14th and Saturday April 15, 2023, the City Council dedicated more than 10 hours of meeting time with the community to set its priorities. Partial results from the community survey were shared, as well as interviews with each Commissioner, Councilmember, and City employees. A candid assessment took place, that included the status of the budget (General Fund reserves are stronger than they were in 2019), public safety needs, and critical and candid review of the City administration. Yes, preserving San Juan Bautista’s small-town historic culture, and water and water quality continue to be citizen’s top priorities. There is a growing demand for establishing recreation programs as well.
But my biggest “take away” is the need for clear, accurate, and timely communication between City administration and the community. Together on Friday afternoon, a Mission Statement, Vision Statement were drafted, and the Council prioritized the City’s values. We began to update the City’s “Brand.” This will all be presented in a draft report, that includes implementation. Staff is already looking at ways to make City Hall “more approachable,” and receives this candid feedback seriously.
At the April 18, 2022 City Council meeting, the Council approved the recruitment of a new recreation staff position, and authorized the City Engineer to seek construction bids for the new $18 million sewer force main to Hollister. More to follow. Feel free to call or stop by City Hall for an update anytime.
Don Reynolds, City Manager
BA Liberal Arts, Political Science 1989 CSUN
Master degree in Public Administration, 1993 CSUN
Member of the International City Manager’s Association (“ICMA” 2019)
Past President of the Monterey Bay Area City Manager’s Group, Cal ICMA