What a difference a few weeks makes! I feel so fortunate to be serving as Springfield’s city manager. This community has been so gracious and welcoming to me. I continue to meet more and more people that glow with pride for Springfield. Community spirit is certainly alive and well in this town!
I take very seriously the responsibility of leading and managing the City’s municipal functions. We must always strive to perform at the highest level. I often like to contrast local government to private business. Private business must compete to survive and make a profit. This competition often leads to quality products and services at a reasonable cost. Municipal governments are natural monopolies that do not rely on competition or profits. Our motivation for quality and efficiency comes from the expectations of those we serve and a desire to make a positive difference in the lives of others. I have often relied on the following pillars to guide my approach.
I believe that integrity is the key to successful city government operations and it can never be compromised. Citizens place their trust in city government to provide services and make decisions on their behalf. As a result, it is our responsibility to place the public’s trust at the highest level.
Performance and Efficiency
Our residents work hard to earn a living. While paying taxes is not always popular, it is tolerated if service value is returned. That is why the City of Springfield strives for constant improvement. Our commitment to our community is to provide the highest possible quality of services and programs in the most efficient way possible. This means doing a job right the first time and using every minute wisely.
Communication is a lot more than talking. To be effective, it requires us to slow down and listen, rather than just hear. Communication also requires us to try and understand another person’s perspective. Occasionally, it may require us to show a little sympathy or feel some empathy. A failure to communicate can easily break down the path to quality service delivery and is not an option for us.
Innovation and Creativity
Private business is known for innovation, while local government is not. Like private business, local government often runs into problems that need a custom solution. That is why we need to always emphasize and support new ideas and a reasonable and safe amount of risk taking. With good communication, new ideas in one part of our organization can be shared with other departments or divisions. Good ideas can improve service quality or result in completing our work in less time. An innovative and creative local government is undoubtedly more effective and efficient at meeting our citizens’ needs.
Local government is pretty good at creating a process for visioning and planning. However, we are not always as good at implementation, or logistics. Logistics deals with finding the best approach to accomplishing a task, executing a program or solving a problem. Strategically addressing logistics is often the difference in success or failure. We will strive not only to create a great idea, but also to find the right path to make it work!
In sports, we often hear coaches and fans refer to effort. However, that is not a term often discussed in local government. I often hear people say, “I am doing the best that I can!” For me, this prompts a couple of questions. First, how often do we really give a full 100 percent? And second, do we even know what our best effort looks like? Regardless of the answer to these questions, people expect their local government to make an effort on their behalf. This is a very reasonable expectation and something your city government takes very seriously.
These pillars are vitally important as we consider how to provide the highest quality services, ensure our public’s safety and ensure healthy neighborhoods. After all, our neighborhoods are the cornerstone of our community and a reflection of our culture. It is both my hope and expectation that together we can create the most healthy and livable neighborhoods possible.
I appreciate the commitment and efforts already demonstrated and truly look forward to working with you to achieve this goal!
City Manager Jason Gage can be reached at 417-864-1006.