Vail Daily letter: Put campaign talk to action, Vail council
Vail, CO, Colorado
The two meet-the-candidate forums centered heavily on the economic impacts to Vail. There was also considerable focus on changing and improving the process of government. Hence, I am highlighting certain statements made by the candidates and my suggestions as to making it happen.
“More time on policy, etc., less on minute details.” How to find time-inclination for:
n Staff to improve their “completed staff work”: visual aids, comprehensive pro-con assessments, etc., so council members do not have to micromanage.
n Preparation by council members. The council meeting should probably be the tip of the iceberg of the time spent on town issues. This is a tough challenge, but is part of the job. Note: Time commitments were not really addressed by council candidates.
n More time away from formality of the “horseshoe”; e.g., quarterly “annual” retreats.
“Better interaction with the public, including work sessions.” How to find time-inclination for:
n Council members should view public input as more important but establish speaking time limits and assist potential speakers with handouts, visual aids, etc.
n Improved agenda sequencing.
n Less imposing setup for the public to speak, perhaps being seated at a table.
n Town hall- or coffeehouse-type gatherings.
n Better public awareness of what input the council is receiving. Perhaps summarizing e-mails.
“Consider (if necessary) on-going budget cutting, being tougher, etc.” These are all top down perspectives. But there was no mention of bottom-up, “organic” improvement savings from within the black box of staff operations. They are clearly doing a good job. But without a measurement program in place, you don’t have trend data to know how much better things could be. Remember: “If you measure it, it improves.”
“Improve relations with Vail Resorts.” Good, but no real focus on one end result in which guests do not sense, for many aspects, any dividing line between town government and Vail Resorts in terms of service delivery and responsibilities.
In short, guests should see a more seamless Vail, just as the more integrated resorts of No. 1 Whistler-Blackomb and No. 2 Deer Valley are viewed as single entities.
One piece of the solution may be a publicized 24/7 hot-line staffed by people who can contact the appropriate person to take action, whether the town or Vail Resorts. This takes a proactive approach and avoids “that’s not my responsibility” statements that we are all familiar with.
In summary, let’s see some of the electioneering rhetoric put to action, but not without thanking all those who ran and congratulating those elected.