The Warren Resident Advisory Commission has a great proposal on the table - 10 community improvement projects with a different person in charge of each one and with a measure of accountability attached.
We may not agree with the 10 projects being proposed, but this is a legitimate idea for a residence group since the quality of life and economic development tasks it proposes affect how much people desire to live in the city.
It's time now for Mayor Doug Franklin and City Council President Robert Dean to embrace 10 projects and assign somebody to be accountable for their success. Hopefully the accountability part doesn't scare city leaders from embracing this approach. If anything, the accountability part should be expanded to existing ventures.
However, the committee asked for a commitment within 60 days (a pretty reasonable request) but now more than 30 days later there has been little response from the city.
In its request, the Resident Advisory Committee wrote, "Council, in cooperation with the Mayor, should identify at least ten meaningful projects as priorities to economic and community development, and that the list should identify the person or persons within the city government, or contracted entity, who will be primarily responsible for moving each project forward. This plan should also include a requirement that the responsible parties report in writing to the Mayor, the Council and the community, at least every quarter, to outline progress made in the previous quarter and plans for initiatives in the upcoming quarter."
That sounds like a common-sense approach to operating any organization. Which is why Franklin and Council should apply it to existing employees and contractors. Sure, department heads, when they show up, provide reports during council meetings. But those generally review statistical data. Nobody is actually charged with improvement projects.
The closest thing to this is Councilwoman Helen Rucker's Health and Welfare Committee status calls.
The Resident Advisory Committee's 10 recommended projects:
Initiate a professional marketing program;
Improve the Packard apartment building;
Form an education and medical district;
Develop the riverfront peninsula;
Rehab the Robins Theater;
Save the Saker Mansion;
Expand the bike trail;
Find a condo developer for the riverfront;
Establish a farmer's market;
Develop downtown apartments;
Develop the Mahoningside property.
All of these are taken straight from the Poggemeyer study, which the city purchased for $182,000. This proposal would prevent the study from becoming a waste.
The most important component is accountability. If Franklin and Council select different projects than those proposed, that's OK. Placing somebody in charge of each and holding those people accountable remains the key to success.