New city manager reflects on first weeks on the job
Staff Reports Claremore Progress
With two weeks now under his belt as the leader of the City of Claremore organization, City Manager Jim Thomas has developed some first impressions and is soliciting for more citizen input.
“I believe there is a need for a community conversation with Claremore’s stakeholders about what they like and don’t like about Claremore, what they would like to see in Claremore and what they consider to be Claremore’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats,” said Thomas.
When defining just who Claremore’s stakeholders are, Thomas identifies the five main ones as citizens, businesses, elected officials, Rogers State University and city staff. He believes that if the five of them come to the table all with their diverse knowledge and all with the intent of improving the community, the outcome will be great possibilities and forward movement.
“The past is the past. It’s a new day in Claremore and it’s time to move forward positively in the future,” said Thomas.
In effort to get what he considers to be the primary stakeholder at the table, Thomas is organizing a series of informal town hall meetings at various locations in the community after the first of the year. His hope is that citizens will come and feel open to share their opinions, concerns and ideas about their community so those items can be represented in long-term planning.
“Once we get through the busy holiday season, we are looking forward to getting out in the neighborhoods and meeting with citizens one-on-one in a place more comfortable for them than City Hall,” said Thomas. “We’ll be announcing those dates and locations later this month.”
Once ideas are gathered from these meetings, Thomas plans to hold a retreat for the Mayor and City Council to develop a midrange strategic plan.
Among the items to be discussed and considered are the obvious needs of retail development, transportation and infrastructure in various departments such as water, sewer, electric and street. In addition to these needs, Thomas would also like to discuss community branding, residential development, how to strengthen tourism and downtown development.
“These are all items that I have heard during my first ten days on the job and I believe they are all of interest to all five of Claremore’s stakeholders, so I would really like to urge the City Council to encompass them into a strategic plan, sort of a “Claremore 2020” plan that we can get to work on immediately,” said Thomas.
Another area of strong interest to Thomas is reviewing the City of Claremore’s organizational chart. He intends to review each department, position and person within the organization to maximize the taxpayer dollars.
“I am committed to looking at each individual position to determine if we have the right number of employees in the various departments, the right skills and abilities within those positions and the right personnel supervising over each department,” said Thomas.
Thomas states that he is looking forward to being a part of many great things in Claremore’s future. He holds firmly to his motto, which he shared with his management staff in their first staff meeting, that “teamwork and communication are the keys to our success.”
Thomas encourages citizens to plan to attend one of the upcoming town hall meetings, or call City Hall at (918) 341-8842 for an appointment to get acquainted with him.