Seymour City Council explores idea of a workshop with department heads


In hopes of allowing the Seymour City Council to oversee future strategic plans for the city, a councilman recently proposed the idea of having a collaborative workshop between department heads.

Drew Storey pitched the idea of such a workshop at the council’s latest meeting on May 24.

Its intention would be to allow for the discussion of long-term plans of city departments with the council and to set key performance indicators to reach intended goals.

Storey said Mayor Matt Nicholson has said he was “working on our house” and looking at long-term strategies and plans for the city.

“One of the things that became really apparent to me is that council wasn’t really in the know what that strategic plan would look like, so I’m asking if we councilmen could commit, with the mayor and clerk-treasurer of course, to leverage what that plan might look like,” Storey said.

The mayor said at this time if a department head needs something, they bring it to the council and ask for their blessing after they’ve prepared their plan.

He said wasn’t sure what the council wanted aside from that.

Nicholson said the city’s budgetary workshop occurs in late June or early July each year, and the capital improvement plans is submitted in January each year.

The intention of the proposed workshop would be to have the council be less reactive and help departments be prepared with long-term and short-term goals, Storey said.

Councilman Jerry Hackney said he and fellow councilmen Dave Earley and Seth Davidson see financials every month but don’t see the performance side of the departments.

Police Chief Bryant Lucas attended the meeting and gave the council his thoughts about the workshop proposal.

His initial reason for attending the meeting was to provide an update to the council about his department’s plans to hire two school resource officers.

Lucas said setting performance goals is difficult for certain departments.

He said that’s because it can be hard to gauge how some departments, such as police and fire, are performing using key performance indicators since they might not accurately reflect success.

With a workshop, Storey said the council could have better understanding about what KPIs could be used for since someone with expertise in the department could meet with them and discuss what would be helpful.

Nicholson also said KPIs aren’t easy to establish with some departments.

“Some things are easy to think about, and other things are hard to slap a performance goal on for the sake of a performance goal,” he said.

Storey said even though it might be difficult to figure out department KPIs, there should still be an attempt.

One of Storey’s concerns was the only goal that anyone on the council has had was renovating city hall.

Another concern from the mayor was the workshop could violate Indiana’s{span} {/span}Open{span} Door {/span}Law {span}that requires {/span}{span}government agencies meet {/span}{span}publicly except in certain cases such as pending {/span}litigation and the proposed purchase of property.

{span}There was not discussion about whether or not the proposed workshop could be attended by the public or press.{/span}

{span}As an alternative, Councilman Chad Hubbard suggested asking department heads to come to city council meetings and give a report about how goals are being met and how successful their department has been. He said this allows for the council to provide feedback on how departments are operating. {/span}

Nicholson said that was an option and to remind him ahead of meetings about what departments the council might want to learn about if that was what they wanted to do. He also said the council was welcome to go to department meetings.

Another alternative was proposed by Davidson, who said the council could receive meeting minutes from other departments to review.

No posts to display