June 16, 2011

Several of us have made the move to the Celerion building. Our new digs are comfortable and definitely convenient. I have enjoyed being able to have quick access to my colleagues who are just a few offices away. Of course, I don’t get to burn all the calories I used to when I jogged to meetings at the old building.

Tuesday night we held our first full board meeting at the City Council Chambers. We loved the modern technology and spacious meeting environment. The meeting lasted 30 minutes as our agenda was scheduled to be light – because I had planned on being in China. I anticipate the next few meetings to have more conversations as we begin to tackle the budget, strategic planning and, of course, LPSDO recovery.

We have talked about scheduling informal gatherings in the next few months to provide people with opportunities to tell their fire stories. I know that some great tales of bravery, honor, commitment and humor have emerged as a result of us being drawn together through tragedy. I look forward to hearing those.

We have also begun thinking about lessons learned through the tragedy. We have had several community and state requests to provide guidance on our preparation for catastrophe and what we wished we would have considered. Of course, we all know that hindsight is 20-20.

Next Monday, Mr. Shepard and his team will guide the first budget work session. We have to remember that this is a very difficult financial year for us in lieu of pending state aid cuts and will require that we continue to seek greater efficiencies to prepare for what could be an even tougher 2012-13.

On Tuesday, the board will visit the Strategic Planning recommendations and develop a framework to pursue prioritization. It is important that we keep moving forward.

The summer already feels as if it is flying by. I love the energy that I witness each day by everyone on our team. It is a genuine pleasure to be part of a group that embraces challenges with such positivity.