What I discovered relatively soon was that the caliber of individuals in the public sector was significant and strong. These people were smart, knowledgeable, dedicated, and most of all were caring about the citizens they served. It wasn’t just those that worked in Coopersville, but those that worked for other cities and local governments as well. Say what you will about Washington DC, but here at the local level we have individuals providing services for residents and business owners of the highest levels. We should all feel relieved and proud that our tax dollars are being utilized responsibly by competent and thoughtful employees. Employees that for the most part have a high regard for hard work, quality performance, and an acute awareness regarding ethical behavior.
I discovered other aspects of the public sector and of the City Manager position as well. So, as I approach my last council meeting of my tenure here in Coopersville, my thoughts and emotions are surprisingly mixed. I worked for years to earn my Master’s Degree in Public Administration, and gave up much of my personal life to make it happen. I worked numerous “internships” to maximize my efforts to learn the complexities of the public sector in a relatively short amount of time. And it was worth every sacrifice made by myself and my wife. I would do it all over again in an instant, especially if I knew I was coming to the City of Coopersville.
So, I’ve begun the process of deconstructing my office in preparation for the new City Manager. I’m also finding myself beginning to construct new options for my future. As I think about those options I’m simultaneously thinking about some of the principals about Coopersville and city management I’ve learned that has had value. Here are just a few:
- Don’t be fearful of change, life itself is change. Fighting change is denying life itself. As individuals, our time as adolescents doesn’t necessarily mimic our development as adults. Hopefully, as we progress through our lives we learn more, develop maturity and wisdom, and are a better example of ourselves now than when we started life’s journey. The same holds true for a city and a community. Growth can be good especially if it’s smart.
- Coopersville will never lose its historical heritage. Change is about growing and striving for excellence. Change is not about losing your core identity. You CAN have both, just make it happen. Have the will and the vision and it will “be”.
- If you believe that change is not to be feared, then embrace principles that allow growth to enhance the value of the community and resist growth that doesn’t embody excellence. Coopersville is worth the quest for excellence, but you must constantly and earnestly strive for it.
- Resist the urge to listen to negativity. Negativity is intellectual laziness and provides a foundation to nothing, which results in nothing being achieved. Vision and the communication of what is possible brings us to the next level of excellence.
- Don’t mistake bullies as leaders. Leaders provide vision, direction, and communicate excellence, bullies provide the opposite. In my journeys I have worked with leaders and bullies; the former is better every single day.
- Don’t let the bumps in the road detour you from your vision. Vision peers down the road a mile or two; it doesn’t focus on the hood of your vehicle.
And now it’s time to complete my last council packet memo. Even though I’m leaving of my own motivation, I am sad to depart as I leave behind relationships I value and love. Thank you to those that have been a part of my professional and personal life here in Coopersville. You are a part of my life-long development and have contributed to me being a better person and a better City Manager. You know who you are, and I will never forget you, ever. Bless you all!
A heart felt thank you goes out to each city employee. We have a special team working now and I am forever grateful to be a part of this experience with all you. Regardless of what department you report to each morning, you add value to Coopersville and I wish the general public could experience it as I have. They would be impressed as I have been for years. Nicely done team.
KEEP IT GOING COOPERSVILLE!
Pocket Park Construction
As I stated in last month’s memo, it’s a joy to see people already using the park to sit, relax, and just explore this beautiful addition to our historical downtown. We’ve had overwhelming and positive comments about this new facility within our historic downtown. Of course, we’ve had a few individuals comment on the water feature being a waste of water and that the project itself was a waste of money in general. Thankfully those comments have been quite limited. The park is doing what it was designed to do, bring people downtown.
Water Project – Phase I
At the Special Council Meeting held June 4th, council approved Prein&Newhof (P&N) as the engineering consultant for the Water Project – Phase I. I thank you as P&N has been instrumental in assisting staff in the preliminary phases of this project. In the next week or two the city is requesting a meeting with relevant parties to discuss possible improvements to the system that were tentatively scheduled for future consideration. Please contact me or Jonathan Seyferth if you have specific questions or require clarification on any aspect of the project.
WWTP Effluent Pump – UV Chamber Project
The new schedule says we’re having dirt/clay to be moved around at the beginning of next week. Long-lead items, especially the UV treatment components, have been ordered. The contractor has assured city representatives that the completion date will still be met late fall. Please contact me if you have questions. Really, please contact me or Jonathan Seyferth.