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The past year has been both exciting and challenging. During my campaign I focused on three key principles: VISIONEXPERIENCE and LEADERSHIP. Below I've identified my personal scoring on achieving my platform goals. While we've accomplished much, we remain committed to improving these scores.







Strategic Planning

Develop a 10-year strategic plan that identifies all future city objectives, programs and projects

Allows city to obtain and direct funds and resources more effectively. Develop a process where all grant applications are vetted through all city departments to insure we apply for needed funds and avoid unnecessary duplication of work. Combining grants and projects could produce cost savings.

All directors would be asked to develop a plan for their respective departments. The departmental plans should be the basis of the city’s overall strategic plan. It is important to solicit input from employees, residents and businesses. The plan must be a living document; it should be continually reviewed to assure completion of objectives, programs and projects.



Re-Invent Downtown Willoughby as an Arts and Entertainment District

Create a downtown that hosts smaller events on a weekly basis in collaboration with the Fine Arts Association; local visual, musical, and performing artists; and businesses in the allied arts. The goal is to create constant excitement that reaches a large range of audiences.

There is evidence that Arts and Entertainment Districts improve local economies. This has happened in Lakewood Colorado, Overland Kansas, and, nearby, The Canton Arts District. The DTWO should be the catalyst for this effort.


Improve Riverfront and Lakefront access.

Our two biggest geographic assets are largely ignored. Improve accessibility to the Chagrin River and Lake Erie.

Look to funding opportunities from the ODNR, Chagrin Watershed Partners (a local non-profit) and the State of Ohio.


Create parking solutions for downtown

One of the largest concerns for downtown restaurants, bar owners and merchants it the accessibility of parking.

Create a collaboration between at least two affected landowners and solicit a development team to build a new parking structure. This would be a unique partnership that provide value to both the land owners and the developers. Other than contributing the cost of their property, the City would bear no cost for this project.


Identify opportunities to increase use of Todd Fields

Identify ways to “activate” Todd Fields during the day and weekends. A proposed ampitheater could provide a spot for people to enjoy the river during their lunch hour, after work and on weekends.

This could be a wonderful collaboration between the City of Willoughby and the Fine Arts Association who could provide low or no cost entertainment from their students and staff. Grants secured from arts foundations by Fine Arts and the DTWO, and selling the naming rights would fund this project. Stormwater issues are readily solved due to the proximity to the point of discharge, the Chagrin River.


Revitalize the north side of our city, The Gateway District

The north end of Willoughby, our Gateway District, is a vastly, underutilized asset. Facing Lake Erie and with the intersection of Lost Nation and Lakeshore, opportunities exist to stimulate business growth and residential improvements.

Assist in creating partnerships between landowners and equity sources. Also, establish a Gateway District Organization with the authority, marketing, branding, and grant application capabilities similar to DTWO.


Create attractive pedestrian walkways into Downtown Willoughby

Pedestrian-friendly cities need to provide pleasant walking/biking experiences. One example is the walk from the new apartments across from Andrews-Osborne Academy where 400+ residents are faced with a bleak and uninspiring walk to our downtown.

Creating an inspiring pedestrian experience helps local restaurants, bar owners and merchants and most importantly our residents. Our downtown is a great example of this. Access to and from our downtown and the Gateway District need to be enhanced. Funding sources include grants from ODNR and ODOT.


Develop strategies to increase property values

Increasing property values cannot be accomplished by housing and/or property maintenance inspections alone. A deliberate plan to identify housing types meeting the needs of all age groups and developing strategies to refresh properties to meet these needs is critical.

A great example of how this can be accomplished was developed by the First Suburbs Consortium. The success of DTWO in establishing an Arts and Entertainment District in conjunction with improving housing types is critical in attracting younger homeowners and young families.


Develop a city-wide marketing plan

This task should include all neighborhoods of our city

One of the first tasks of our new Community Development Director


Create Job Opportunities

Create shared business space at affordable cost for startup businesses and work with the local business community to identify business persons who will serve as mentors to these entrepreneurs

Progressive communities are creating shared space in underutilized buildings for newly forming companies. Business incubators, standard business to business shared space, co-working communities and executive suites are means of maintaining a workspace without having the cost of purchasing or leasing office space.

Willoughby’s Kip Marlow andThe Raymond C. Kralovic Center for Entrepreneurshipare excellent resources to guide aspiring entrepreneurs. Read his book“The Entrepreneurs: Success and Sacrifice”.


Create internships for students to learn about local government

Creating internships provides a dual benefit to the city. It exposes students to real life government while helping to complete important tasks. These are also opportunities for students to build their resumes.

Need to make sure projects are meaningful. Also, need to make sure students participating in the internships are well motivated and have needed skills to do work.


Work Cooperatively with Lakeland Community College, Willoughby-Eastlake Schools and the Chamber of Commerce

The city should work with local schools to provide career opportunities for city residents. Special consideration should be given to Vocational career tracks.

Our local manufactures desperately need a trained and capable workforce.



Improved Efficiency and Cost Savings

Assemble a team of local residents, business owners and community leaders to identify and interview new directors

Finance, Service, Community Development and Law Department directors are all retiring. Our goal should be to hire the top talent for each of these important positions.

This was done by Mayor Anderson when he first arrived as Mayor


Assemble a team of business and community leaders to conduct an overall assessment of city operations and make recommendations for improvements

Provides a framework to begin instituting improvements

This was done by George Voinovich when he first became mayor of Cleveland and recently by Dan Horrigan in Akron.


Establish city performance metrics (including the Mayor)

In business I’ve learned that performance is directly tied to the direction given. We should make sure every employee of the City knows what is expected of him/her and allow them to provide feedback,


Control expenses

So obvious, but extremely important. Every line item in the city budget needs to be continually evaluated.


Develop online (web-based) training programs for city employees

Assist our staff to easily access training. It also helps the city meet necessary requirements such as NIMS and OSHA training. The Cleveland Clinic uses this type of system.


Develop answers to common questions of residents and businesses and have available for use by city employees

Too often, city employees are asked questions they are unprepared to answer. Having a database that is accessible to all city employees would give them information at their fingertips.

An app could be developed and make available to download to cell phones for easy access


Develop a long-term labor management agreement strategy that is transparent and fair

Determine the overall goals for improving the labor management agreements and put them into a plan that can be implemented over time and in a cooperative manner with city employees

Continue the excellent relationship with all our bargaining units, and work to identify and resolve differences fairly.


Conduct an energy audit of all city buildings and determine the feasibility and potential cost savings of implementing energy saving measures

There are likely many opportunities for cost savings through changing to LED lighting and improved HVAC controls. There are a host of other sustainable practices that could greatly reduce operational costs.

Possible State funding, or low interest loans to help with the costs of improvements


Assure there are adequate resources to deal with neighborhood issues including: 1) having an effective pathway to receive, assess and resolve complaints, 2) assuring there are personnel who have the specific responsibility for investigating each complaint and conducting an analysis of common complaints and comparing it them existing city ordinances to identify gaps that need to be addressed legislatively

Attempt to avoid the use of our police department to address neighborhood issues that could otherwise be better managed through building or zoning officials. This allows the police department to focus on crime prevention activities

The goal is to be more responsive and to utilize our Police, Building and Zoning Department more effectively


Improve Public Safety

Reduce and prevent future crime by building on the city’s crime prevention activities and community policing efforts

Develop more partnerships with the community including block watch groups. Develop programs to conduct ongoing safety fairs and seminars in neighborhoods to provide people the information needed to better protect themselves.

Community policing is a philosophy that utilizes the systematic use of partnerships and problem-solving techniques, to proactively address the immediate conditions that give rise to public safety issues such as crime, social disorder, and fear of crime.


Adopt Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design principles in all city facilities and properties and encourage businesses and institutions to adopt them as well

The city engineering and planning department can be educated to factor in environmental designs for all future projects. City businesses and institutions can likewise be encouraged to use CPTEP standards in future development projects.

Adding lighting to prevent dark spots, minimizing placement of shrubbery that can serve as a hiding place, etc. are all examples of this.


Create a task force of law enforcement officials and city planners to study areas most greatly affected by speeding in neighborhoods

Speeding in neighborhoods is an ongoing problem. Approaches to reducing this problem can be expensive and not always effective.

There are not enough police resources available to continuously monitor speeding in all locations. Viable speed reduction options need to be explored and given consideration.


Explore the feasibility of implementing a community paramedicine program

Would provide residents with additional healthcare support and potentially decrease unnecessary use of the city’s ambulance system. This includes activities such as wellness checks, follow up on adherence to taking their daily medications, blood pressure checks.

Currently there are many communities implementing these programs. Reimbursement for these services is available in some parts of the country. The State of Ohio has explored introducing legislation to allow paramedics to provide these services.



Hold monthly Mayor’s Night Out

Host a meeting in a different neighborhood each month to give residents a chance to ask questions and voice concerns. Directors and other key members of leadership team should also attend to answer specific questions and report on new programs and services being provided to residents

Former Cleveland Mayor Michael White used this process quite effectively for his first two terms.


Give residents a means of rating city performance via city website

Giving residents a chance to provide feedback on an ongoing basis would provide real time information and help identify emerging trends


Create a culture of information sharing and collaboration as a core operational philosophy

Creating a climate of “team”, people working together, sharing information and resources to make the city more efficient and effective is a key foundation of good government

Continue Cabinet meetings to encourage sharing and a team approach to addressing issues.


Provide customer service training to all employees

Service delivery and the experience of interacting with the city are improved when employees understand and appreciate the need to treat residents and visitors like customers

Cleveland Clinic uses a program called H.E.A.R.T. This training was provided to all City of Elyria employees with good success


Do huddles or debriefings after big events and special events to review performance and identify what went right and what could use improvement

Post-event feedback helps to avoid repeated problems. Likewise, opportunities to improve services can be identified/




Committee to Elect Robert Fiala
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