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Madison Needs Strategic Planning, Candidates Say

Recent votes 'point to the lack of a coherent strategic plan for our town,' Borough Council candidates Astri Baillie and Ben Wolkowitz said in a prepared statement.

In a prepared statement, candidates for Borough Council Astri Baillie and Ben Wolkowitz call for the initiation of strategic planning for the borough government. 

People who choose Madison as their home do so because they recognize what a special place Madison is. Everyone wants to reside in a town that provides a safe place to live and raise a family.  We all want good schools, good services, and good recreation. Madison has all these assets and more; however it will take careful planning, judgment and work to ensure that these assets evolve in the future, and at a price our residents can afford.

These days we are all especially conscious of value, making sure that our money is well spent. One method of contributing to doing just that is for the Borough to implement strategic planning. This process can give our residents  confidence that our taxes are being spent wisely and in a way that is consistent with realizing the interests of all to the greatest extent possible, now and in the future.

Strategic planning is a process of defining a strategy, or direction, for an organization whether a company, a non-profit, or a government entity, such as the Borough of Madison. A strategic plan defines where an organization is going over the next year or—more typically—3 to 5 years. You build a plan and then the actions you take support the plan—they make it happen. Once a direction is agreed on then coherent decisions can be made on how to allocate resources so as to progress in that direction.

Recent events, for example the construction of turf fields at the Madison Recreation Center without a viable plan for paying for them, the piecemeal approach to the use of the 49 acres, which includes the Recreation Center, the deferral of the repair of number of well-traveled borough streets, and the disrepair of our sewage pumping stations, all point to the lack of a coherent strategic plan for our town.

Decisions are made without the benefit of a framework and a shared direction. Operating in this way is almost guaranteed to result in an inefficient allocation of taxpayer dollars. In extreme cases the lack of a strategic plan can have even more unfortunate results. The public firing of our Borough administrator justified by the need to save money is just such an example. Fortunately in that case the sense of decency and fairness of our residents forced a reversal of that incredibly misguided action.

The presence of a strategic plan will not guarantee that every decision that will be made is a good one. What it does is provide an objective rational framework in which decisions can be made. In the end how the plan is formulated and used depends on the skills, talents and experience of people who have a shared interest in doing what is best for Madison.

A white paper that provides additional detail on strategic planning is available on our website, www.madison-dems.org.

The Madison Truth Squad October 04, 2012 at 03:21 PM
After nine years on council, suddenly Ms. Baillie thinks we need a "strategic" plan, or that we have nothing right now?? She might want to check the borough's own website, where they posted a presentation that was made this past week by Mayor Conley and Councilman Catalanello that outlined the borough's long range capital improvement plans - http://www.rosenet.org/uploads/3/capital_process_town_meeting.pdf The meeting was documented by the Patch - http://madison.patch.com/articles/electric-deal-could-free-millions-for-capital-projects, in case she missed it. Finally, she should also come clean about the abysmal effort that was done by the firm she and her Dem council mates hired to do a "Master" plan for the MRC. How much time and money was wasted on that effort? If she couldn't get that simple task accomplished, what makes people think she has the ability to drive a comprehensive strategic plan for the entire borough???
The Madison Truth Squad October 04, 2012 at 03:21 PM
One final note - Ms. Baillie keeps harping on "having a plan," but never talks about what she would like to see in that plan. If the past is any indicator of the future, it's fair to ask - Does it include purchasing more overpriced contaminated properties? Does it include restricting property rights? Does it include more budgets that drain the borough's reserve accounts to avoid hard choices? Does it include holding utility rates at their all time high levels, even as the borough's cost of purchasing electricity is about to drop significantly?
John Zimmerman October 04, 2012 at 04:40 PM
Come on. How can Baillie point fingers about anything? She and the councils she served on borrowed over $30 million dollars with NO PLAN other than to have THE TAXPAYERS PAY THE MONEY BACK. And they spent it foolishly (just look at the Public Safety building, the botched HDM rennovations, the contaminated land, and the pet project parks). Was her strategic plan to lock into a 5 year fixed price electricity contract at all time high prices? If so, she did a great job. As for the sewer pumping stations, these places were overdue for repair 10 or 20 years ago! The council last year and this year actually did something about it. I guess she believes if you keep telling falsehoods over and over again people will start to belive it.
Robert The Bruce October 04, 2012 at 04:58 PM
I'll bet you 25 bux that ex councilman Sam Cerciello has a letter to the editor in the eagle or patch next week repeating and/or reinforcing what this press release.

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