City of Batavia

"ICMA Strategic Leadership and Governance Award" | Municipal Bulletin | Fall 2014 | reprinted from ICMA awards program booklet in a Fall 2014 issue of PM Magazine

City Manager Jason Molino accepted the award on behalf of the City of Batavia for its Strategic Business Plan

The International City/County Management Association Strategic Leadership Award recognizes innovative and successful government programs or processes that have significantly affected a local government organization's culture or strategic direction.

Early in the 21st century, Batavia suffered a significant economic downturn. In 2010, to ensure a healthy future for the city, the council and administration began a strategy rooted in three major goals: restoring public trust in city leadership; using data to measure success; and being alert to emergent trends and conditions.

So that all stakeholders were involved in the planning process, city leaders first surveyed citizens to determine their interests and concerns. The result, as well as empirical and precentage-based data from daily operations, short- and long-term factors affecting the city and staff feedback, were reviewed and analyzed in a series of workshops. After examining the current state of the city, reviewing past financial challenges, participating in a SWOT analysis, creating a vision statement, and revising the extant mission statement, the council identified seven strategic priorities (financial health, government efficiency, economic development and job creation, neighborhood revitalization, environmental sustainability, public safety, and healthy and involved community members), developed statements to further define each priority, and identified key intended outcomes (KIOs) against which to measure progress. Lastly, it drew up a strategic business plan to help accomplish the KIOs and allocate resources to best meet resident's needs.

While facilitating the planning process cost $9,000, the primary cost for developing the strategic business plan was the hours spent by council and staff.

The factors that ultimately proved essential to the city's success were providing citizens with multiple access points to the survey: being willing to refine the city's data-driven plan to foster sound decision making; and showing employees how their daily work links to the bigger picture.