Strategic Planning and Leadership

Strategic planning requires a clear vision

Successful planning and leadership for Clarksville requires imagination, research, timeline projections and resources to make vision a reality. The principals of strategic planning are straightforward, but the concept is many times forsaken due to personal political agendas. Planning cannot continue to begin and end with the development of the yearly city budget. Strategic planning requires a clear vision of the near (3-5 years ahead), intermediate (5-10 years) and long term (10 to 20+ years) future. Annual city planning and budgets must be crafted toward accomplishing specific, documented objectives and visions of future years and should include the input of the full council and the citizens of Clarksville

Documented long range planning makes many career politicians nervous, as it requires providing a vision with its associated plans. Such action provides a roadmap of where a mayor plans to lead the city, but it also provides a “scorecard” for citizens to use in evaluating that mayor’s performance. Politically, it is much safer to talk about “moving Clarksville forward” without any specifics.

Lack of leadership…becomes a paralysis

Clarksville has spent millions of dollars for studies that address potential future visions only to see them sit on a shelf. Lack of leadership, loss of interest, fear of political backlash or no funding becomes a paralysis that embeds itself in the decision making process. This has been particularly noticeable with projects such as the East-West Corridor, revitalization of downtown Clarksville, Clarksville Smart Growth Plan 2030, and the River District Master Plan to name a few.

This process is sometimes further degraded by borrowing money to do studies. On several occasions when asked if the initial borrowed sum for planning or study purposes will be followed-up with concrete actions, goals and timelines to make a project a reality, the answer has been “no”. If large sums of borrowed money (and associated interest payments) are going to be spent to potentially map the city’s future or projects, then it should be done so with the commitment that the study or plan is only the first step; not the end-all.

Thoughtful, effective leadership can do that

A Summers’ administration will not borrow money to do studies and plans for our future. Money spent for such planning will be a down payment on getting something done! In addition, many well-researched studies already await motivated leadership to put them into action. We have a large selection of near, intermediate and long-term projects that need to be fully developed with goals, resources, metrics and timelines. Thoughtful, effective leadership can do that.

We can no longer afford to be slow to react

Strategic planning also enables us to recognize development and financial opportunities that may arise ahead of schedule. With such planning comes the capability to collect and hold these opportunities until they can be fully utilized. We can no longer afford to be slow to react or completely miss opportunities and substitute “spin doctor” excuses or rationale as “political cover.”

One of the finest and most recent example of long-term strategic planning is Clarksville’s selection for the new $800 million Hankook Tire manufacturing facility that will employ up to 1800 workers. The executive director of the Industrial Development Board continually emphasized in the media that the decision to invest millions and expand the industrial park 12 years ago was based on a “vision at that time” of what could be accomplished. It was vision and leadership in 2001, along with the planning, goals and resources invested that made Clarksville a winner in 2013. The continuous shortsighted yearly planning process will NOT yield future “Hankook type” rewards that Clarksville needs and its citizens deserve.

As your mayor, my leadership style will have the imagination, innovation, communication, implementation, motivation and evaluation aspects of planning to set a foundation for Clarksville’s future.

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Election Day 2018

From November 06th to November 06th