Retreat or Move Forward?
When a governing body meets to ponder the future and set a vision, why is it called a retreat? Doesn’t that describe withdrawing, moving backwards, fleeing enemy lines?
Shouldn’t it be called “a forward”? It seems more appropriate, doesn’t it?
These are the things I think about when I am in the League’s car, travelling to council meetings to discuss municipal issues or just say “hi,” like I did the other night in a trip to Fort Morgan, a city moving forward.
What a nice group of people! Led by Mayor Terry McAlister and City Manager/Attorney Jeff Wells, the City’s motto is “Progress, Partnership, and People.” And it is very appropriate - some years ago, city leaders had a vision for a downtown improvements project. And today? Fort Morgan has won several state awards for its vision and we featured the whole initiative on the cover of Colorado Municipalities a few years ago. They have great leadership leading a great community. Fort Morgan didn’t retreat; they fast-forwarded with a unique and creative vision.
The CML Executive Board recently held its annual retreat, or forward, or whatever at the beautiful Arvada Performing Arts and Humanities Center with Arvada Mayor and CML President Marc Williams as the gracious host. It was a great meeting. Part of it explored the progress on CML's strategic plan, a guide and vision for the League’s future developed at the annual retreat (or forward!) from a year ago. The board also identified several emerging issues to keep in focus on behalf of municipal leaders statewide: marijuana and our local regulation of it; the future of transportation and transit funding at the state and municipal levels; additional public employment preemptions likely to arise in the 2014 Statehouse similar to this past session’s SB 13-025 (mandatory firefighter collective bargaining in certain municipal departments); the use of technology by CML and our municipal members; and how to engage the younger generation in the affairs of municipal government.
These are daunting and important issues for all municipalities… what do you think of them?
What issues have you identified in your city or town? How do you identify the challenge? Are you retreating, or are you fast-forwarding? I’d like to know.