When interviewing for a new job, a commonly asked question is, "If we hire you, what would your priorities be during the first few months?"
It is a tough question, especially if you're new to an organization.
This is something I've given tremendous thought to since being hired as the city of Hilliard's first city manager. Now that I am officially on the job, it's time to begin putting thoughts into action.
I preface my list of priorities with this qualification: I will not be doing any of this alone. The members of Hilliard City Council and the administration are dedicated to working together to ensure Hilliard continues to be a community of choice in which to live, work, play and learn. Collaboration, cooperation and communication will be key to a successful transition to our new form of government.
Within the first few months, working closely with City Council, we will begin a strategic-planning process that will identify key priorities for the city and outline strategies we will use to make those visions a reality. This process will include input from key stakeholders, including City Council, city staff members, residents, the business community, other local governmental agencies and community organizations.
It will help define what Hilliard wants to be in the future and identify what steps we will need to take to get there. This will be a process designed to inspire dialogue, spark ideas and ultimately result in a forward-focused set of priorities. This process will be transparent and inclusive, and we will communicate our priorities and our progress.
By the end of 2020, all of this should culminate in a strategic plan that will serve as a road map for success in the following two to three years. Watch for details in the coming months.
Communication also will play a significant role in the coming year. As city manager, my goal will be to communicate the key information to City Council so its members can best formulate policy and make strategic decisions. I also will be the primary conduit of City Council's priorities to members of the administrative team.
Because an informed community is an engaged community, that philosophy of open communication will extend to our residents and to our corporate neighbors, too. Beyond informing residents, I hope also to engage with the community in meaningful dialogue around issues and opportunities impacting the city and city services.
And, of course, I'm going to spend a lot of time getting to know Hilliard. Fortunately, I am pretty familiar with this amazing community because I have worked for the city of Dublin for the past 27 years. My awareness of the great things happening in Hilliard was part of the reason I was so excited about this opportunity.
They say you don't know what you don't know, and during the next year, I'm sure I will be learning a lot -- and asking a lot of questions. I will be investing a great deal of time in community outreach, getting to know the people, businesses and community culture that make Hilliard unique.
Being the first city manager is both a daunting task and an exciting opportunity, but fortunately, I'm not in this alone. I look forward to getting to know this community -- and getting to know many of you personally.
Michelle Crandall is Hilliard's first city manager. She is scheduled to be sworn in Thursday, Jan. 2.