What does city/county management mean to you? For me, City/County Management means providing assistance, services and support to the people we serve. It’s an important opportunity to make a greater impact on my community. The services we provide from the most basic such as sanitation, Police, Fire to recycling wastewater, providing funding to local nonprofit organizations, and offering outreach efforts to embrace diversity have a profound effect on the quality of life of our citizens and help us complete our Core Purpose of together we serve to make Dodge City the best place to be.
What does a successful improvement or project look like? A successful improvement or project depends on the scope of the project but in my experience, it is one that involves community engagement, public/private partnerships, meeting established deadlines and coming in on budget. The public should be able to recognize the value of the project or improvement and how it improves their lives. It should also fit in with Dodge City’s core value of Ongoing Improvement where together we value progress, growth, and new possibilities by providing and preparing for the community’s future.
What is one improvement (operational, policy or physical) that you are most proud of? I am so fortunate to have had the opportunity to be part of so many exciting projects like the expansion of Boot Hill Museum, collaborating with our “Why not Dodge” sales tax projects, helping to bring United Citizenship and Immigration Mobile Services to Southwest Kansas and assisting with the community engagement for the City’s comprehensive plan and Zoo master plan. But one of the improvements that is most dear to my heart is bringing higher educational opportunities to our region through the Rural Education and Workforce Alliance (REWA). Southwest Kansas is the only quadrant of the state without a four-year university. This has led to a shortage of workforce professionals especially in the area of healthcare. REWA’s goal is to raise the region by growing our own healthcare providers. Currently, thanks to the support of local government and public/private partnerships we have been able to offer the following programs: a bachelor’s and Master of Social Work and an RN (Registered Nurse) to BSN (Bachelor of Science Nursing). These courses are presented in a blended mix format of both face to face and online learning. In addition, grant funding was secured to offer these programs in five frontier communities. We are currently working on securing additional programs that are not just critical to health care but other areas of need including agriculture, construction, and manufacturing.
If you could share one piece of career related wisdom to a colleague, what would it be? I am a fan of the quotes of author, humanitarian, and former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt shared throughout her life. I find that they also make for sound career advice. One that sticks out in my mind is “You can often change your circumstances by changing your attitude.” Working in local government is very rewarding but it can be challenging at times as well. Keep in mind that your attitude makes a difference not just to you but to those around you.