A LETTER TO THE CITY STAFF: MAYOR JOE PITTS
Thursday, April 18, 2019
Dear City Staff,
We recently completed the first one hundred days of our administration, and I want to say upfront that I am overwhelmed with the response you have given us and with the dedication you devote to your job each day. Earlier this month we finished a tour of every City building and had the opportunity to meet most of you, and I am more proud than ever to be your mayor.
During our visits I came away with a few noteworthy observations:
1. We are dedicated to a high standard of excellence, and an unparalleled commitment to serving the customer.
2. We are creative and innovative, using the tools and talents at our disposal to complete every job to the best of our ability.
3. We are interested in continuing education and additional training to perform our work at a higher level.
4. So many of us have had long careers with our City, and we are eager to share our knowledge and experience with our co-workers, especially new hires.
5. And finally, we have a positive attitude and a driving desire to make a positive impact, and we deserve the support to accomplish the tasks that we face every day.
My commitment will be to champion the needs and concerns you have raised during the hundreds of conversations we’ve shared over the past one hundred days. I started this journey knowing we need to take care of our people, and as we look into the future, I remain committed to the principle of addressing every concern and suggestion.
The next few months are critical to our City. We face unprecedented growth, and with growth comes the demand for more and better service. Our economy is doing well, but City wage growth hasn’t kept pace, and we need to ensure our prosperity extends to all.
Thank you for your kindness toward us as we learn the ropes of this new assignment. Thank you for your patience while we learned your names, and worked to understand the history of your concerns. And thank you for your outstanding performance over the past one hundred days. As you’ll read in a full report about our progress below, we are off to a great start. But our best days are ahead, and I look forward to celebrating more successes with you in the coming weeks, months and years.
Mayor of Clarksville
A REPORT TO THE COMMUNITY
Mayor Pitts’ First 100 Days
Early work improves intergovernmental relationships
Mayor Joe Pitts’ first 100 days in office have produced dramatic improvements in local intergovernmental cooperation, extensive administrative and budget-planning initiatives, and a strong focus on communicating with citizens.
EARLY PRIORITIES -- Mayor Pitts, elected in November 2018 and sworn in on Jan. 2, has pursued an aggressive early schedule. He and First Lady Cynthia Pitts have conducted “Meet and Greet” breakfast sessions with each City department, where he has shared his early priorities, which are to ensure the City is:
- An efficient City that provides transparent, first-class customer service.
- A collaborative City that partners with County government, the public school system, APSU and Fort Campbell to promote and enhance the quality of life.
- An inclusive City government that projects strength through diversity of thought and innovative ideas.
- A secure City with safe neighborhoods.
- A supportive City committed to providing a professional work environment for employees.
LOCAL GOVERNMENT COLLABORATION -- Keeping faith with a key campaign promise, Mayor Pitts has dramatically changed the tone of intergovernmental communication and coordination, especially with Montgomery County Government. Mayor Pitts has established regularly scheduled meetings with Montgomery County Mayor Jim Durrett, APSU President Alisa White and CMCSS Schools Director Millard House. City Department Heads have met with Fort Campbell officials to discuss ways the post and city can collaborate and coordinate service delivery and facilities.
Mayor Pitts also is building strong collaborative relationships with City Council members, with thoughtful committee assignments, and more attention to the City’s departmental committee process.
BUDGET FOUNDATION -- Mayor Pitts’ leadership choices will be clearly defined and made public during the annual budgeting process, which begins in earnest this month. The Mayor has begun laying the foundation for the budget he will present for FY 2020. He is meeting regularly with Laurie Matta, Chief Financial Officer, and department leadership teams. Budget deliberations will be conducted in April and May, and budget votes are scheduled in June, ahead of the July 1 start of FY 2020.
These budget priorities are taking shape:
ROADS -- The City’s crowded thoroughfares are one of Clarksville’s pressing issues. Mayor Pitts has quickly gone to work with the City Street Department to begin working on a 2020 Traffic Study. He also is moving forward with these key road projects:
- The Mayor and Street Department hosted a neighborhood meeting April 3 on plans to improve Whitfield Road near the 101st Airborne Parkway, Needmore Road and Glen Ellen Elementary School.
- Right of way planning and preliminary design continues on the Northeast Connector, which would be a major city-built roadway to take traffic pressure off of major roads such as Wilma Rudolph Boulevard, the 101st Airborne Division Parkway, and Trenton Road.
- Work continues on adding Adaptive Signal technology on Wilma Rudolph Boulevard to improve traffic flow. Mayor Pitts has also encouraged the Street Department to make signalization adjustments in advance of full implementation of the signal project.
- Preliminary design continues on Trenton Road, which is a cooperative state/city project to widen this key road from Exit 1 to the 101st Parkway.
- Right of way acquisition is complete on the first phase of the project to improve Rossview Road, near the Rossview Schools Campus, closest to the schools complex and Interstate 24. Bids will be let this spring, with construction to start this summer.
PARKS & RECREATION -- Mayor Pitts has met with representatives of all the major sports organizations in Clarksville to hear directly about the need for more facilities and opportunities. He is reviewing a new Parks & Recreation Facilities Master Plan and discussing how best to use some 300 acres acquired last year at Exit 8 for a new Clarksville Family Athletic Complex. He’s announced he wants to bring recreation facilities to more parts of the city.
PUBLIC SAFETY -- Mayor Pitts actively supports building a new Police District 3 Precinct Headquarters near Exit 8. He is also helping the Clarksville Police Department introduce Officer Body-Worn Camera technology across the City. His 2020 budget will include resources to strengthen the Clarksville Police Department and Clarksville Fire Rescue in terms of manpower and equipment.
The Mayor also has focused on these topics during his First 100 Days.
COMMUNICATIONS -- Mayor Pitts has expanded the City’s use of Social Media to inform and engage the community. He held City Government’s first in a planned series of Virtual Town Hall Meetings to directly answer questions from residents. A new City website was introduced April 8. He also has commissioned a Strategic Communications Plan to focus on informing and engaging the citizens.
LEADERSHIP SEARCHES -- After the announced retirements of Fire Chief Mike Roberts and Clarksville Transit System Director Arthur Bing, both effective at the end of June, the Mayor has outlined a process to begin the search for a new chief and a new transportation director using committees of citizens and experts to help evaluate candidates.
Mark Riggins has been named acting General Manager of Clarksville Gas & Water, after former GM Pat Hickey resigned April 4. Riggins will lead the department for at least a few months, giving the Mayor time to analyze the organization and chart a long-term course for the department.
OTHER ISSUES -- The Mayor and department leaders are evaluating ways to bring more parking facilities downtown, and another evaluation of a new location for the CTS Transit Center downtown is under way.
YOUR MAYOR IN MOTION
Here’s a list of actions taken or initiatives started by Mayor Joe Pitts.
- Mayor Pitts has established regularly scheduled meetings with Montgomery County Mayor Jim Durrett, APSU President Alisa White and CMCSS Schools Director Millard House. This puts a clear focus on intergovernmental collaboration, cooperation and coordination.
- City Department Heads have met with Fort Campbell officials to discuss ways the post and city can collaborate and coordinate service delivery and facilities. This has resulted in work on developing Intergovernmental Support Agreements (IGSAs) with Fort Campbell.
- Put the city on a course to be designated, along with Montgomery County, as an AARP "Age-Friendly, Livable Community."
- Established, with Montgomery County, an Interstate Exit Enhancement Task Force.
Internal Administration Initiatives
- Introduced weekly Departmental Situation Reports (SITREPS) for department heads to inform the Mayor and other departmental leaders about on-going initiatives, critical tasks, and important upcoming events.
- Launched a Wellness Committee with members from various city departments to develop and launch wellness and well-being initiatives for the benefit of city employees.
- Initiated development of a phased approach to strategic management. Known as T3 (Transition-Transform-Transcend), Department Heads have begun meeting more frequently to assess how the city operates, determine how the various departments align with the City Vision and Mission, and to begin development of a strategic plan.
- Re-designed the budget development process to integrate the City Council into the budget development process earlier.
- Initiated "Mayor-in-Motion" steps to raise awareness of the Mayor's active interest in supporting the full constituent base. This includes introducing web forms to request the mayor’s attendance at events and to request proclamations and certificates of recognition.
- Re-launched the Mayor's Youth Council.
- Jointly sponsored a small business seminar with the TN Small Business Development Center at Austin Peay State University to create a dialogue between small business owners and City government.