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Episode #1: Inaugural Episode – The Strategic Plan

Feb 9, 2023



Clayton connected Podcast Hostess Communications Administrator Valerie L. Fuller opens with Chief Operations Officer Detrick Stanford to share details on the Clayton County Board of Commissioners Strategic Plan and what it means for citizens.


Speaker 1 00:00:08 You’re tuned in to the Clayton Connected Podcast in Clayton County, where the world lands and opportunities take off. Welcome to the Clayton Connected Podcast in Clayton County, where the world lands in opportunities take off. You’re listening to our inaugural Clayton Connected podcast. In episode one, we’re featuring the Clayton County Board of Commissioners strategic plan as our topic today. Joining us is Chief Operations Officer Dietrich Stanford. I’m your host Valerie Fuller, communications Administrator for the Clayton County Board of Commissioners, chief Stanford. Welcome to the Clayton Connected Podcast. Thank you

Speaker 2 00:00:56 For having me, Valerie.

Speaker 1 00:00:57 So we thought it really important in launching our very first podcast that the man, the chief operations officer be available and be able to connect with our citizens as well as our visitors to Clayton County in episode one, two, explain and talk about our overall strategic plan. What is the Clayton County strategic plan and why is it so important?

Speaker 2 00:01:23 Well, Valerie, the strategic plan is, um, simply put, it’s a roadmap. It provides, um, the, the context to policy direction that the board of commission is set forth. Um, once that’s done, if it sets the framework of the direction for the county, then operational plans through the 17 departments, including the courts, gives us an opportunity to ensure that there some alignment between one, the strategic direction the board is setting and the operational plans that each of the respective departments are working towards.

Speaker 1 00:01:53 So we know there are five pillars that are included in the strategic plan, and these five pillars were recreated, if you would, um, January, 2022 at the board retreat, correct? That is correct. So one of them is economic opportunity. Talk to us a little bit about that.

Speaker 2 00:02:09 Yeah, so if you think about the strategic plan, we have what we call pillars. Pillars are really the tenants associated with the policy direction of the board, conditioners specifically around the economic opportunity pillar. This is our way of ensuring that we have a way of attracting businesses, businesses into our community, primarily through our Office of Economic Development and working in tandem with our development authority and a myriad of other, you know, community partners to really bring forth the work. Um, economic opportunity pillars simply is, um, how do we attract businesses to our community from a live workplace perspective? And if we had to develop a, a metric in place that really brings that home, then we should look at things like, um, household medium incomes increasing. Um, do we have our business retention being one of such that as our high level, um, how do we look at our G D P? How do we look at, uh, you know, a multitude of metrics that are in place to ensure that the businesses see the value of not only working in Clayton County, but ensuring that we enhance the quality of our businesses throughout the, throughout the region and primarily around the whole southeast part of the area.

Speaker 1 00:03:19 So another one of the, uh, strategic plan pillars includes fiscal responsibility.

Speaker 3 00:03:25 How important is fiscal responsibility overall, uh, to the county?

Speaker 4 00:03:31 So statutorily, the board of commissioners annually is responsible, responsible for adopting the budget, the Clayton County budget. As of right now, looking at our FY 23 budget, we’re looking at roughly, um, a low, over a half a billion dollars as it pertains to our operational budget. And so if you think about fiscal responsibility, when property owners are paying into services within the county, we wanna ensure that we have a framework that provides a responsible government of how we spend the taxpayers dollars. The fiscal responsibility pillar simply is that do we have a metric in place that ensure that one, we’re being accountable for the the taxpayers dollars, are we showing that the services for which the citizens are looking for is being taken care of? And then thirdly, as policy makers, the board of commissioners will have different report metrics in place that the things that the respective department say that they’re doing, that we can actually report out to the respective citizens that those things that they’re holding us accountable for, that they’re actually coming to

Speaker 3 00:04:30 Bears. What does that mean to citizen

Speaker 2 00:04:38 Governance from interpretation? Simply leans accountability to the work. How do we operationalize those perspective areas within county government? An example oftentimes utilizes that it ultimately, if the optics to the county is about crime and we’re trying to figure out ways by which we can minimize the impact of crime, then there should be a metrics in place in PD that talks about how we are addressing burglary, how we are addressing, uh, robbery, how we’re addressing issues that certainly are, uh, at the forefront of things that happen within the community. And then ultimately, do we have something that measures our effectiveness in that set space? And it could be a multitude of reasons as to why we may be effective or ineffective. It might be manpower, we may be training, it may be a capacity issue, it can be a multitude of things. So we constantly put, um, the governance pillar out there to restore those things that we think are best in class or best practices within that area. The community as well as the leader of that respective area are utilizing those best practices to make better business decisions.

Speaker 3 00:05:46 So recently Clayton County went through a re process, your Honor, understand that that’s part of a communication building, correct? That

Speaker 2 00:05:55 Is correct.

Speaker 3 00:05:56 Talk to us a a little bit about the new.

Speaker 2 00:06:02 So about two and a half years ago, we went through an exhaustive process that called for a myriad of our stakeholders to provide us feedback about who we think Clayton County is and what do we want Clayton County to be. So we end up hiring a third party, um, company to come in and have a myriad of conversations with our internal leadership, the community, our policy makers, and some of our major stakeholders, whether that be the Chamber of Commerce, whether that might be the authorities. Uh, a multitude of the stakeholders played a huge role in providing feedback about what we believe Clayton County can be in the future. Um, from that exercise, we’re able to, um, generate a multitude of strategies that we think will continue to push Clayton County in, in the appropriate direction. And primarily was centric to that conversation has been the airport.

Speaker 2 00:06:50 If we think that Harville Jackson serves as a major economic producer in, in the, in the region, not just the county, then we wanted to continue to utilize that as the count of the foundation in building out our direction as a county. Because, you know, the whole Aerotropolis or the whole aeronautic space is certainly a key component about who Clayton County can be in the future. And so we build off the concept of what the airport is, and we use a couple of, uh, a lot of color palettes in space to one, reflect the diversity of Clayton County. From that end, the communication and image pillar certainly speaks to how we utilize that image to one primarily show that there’s uniformity in how we go about conducting our business, but more importantly, it provides a brand identity for our citizens and and visitors that come to the county. So when they see the logo, they see how we go forth in our customer service, that ultimately they know that they’re, they’re identifying themselves with Clayton County government opposed to some other private entity that might have something similar in space.

Speaker 3 00:07:53 So you right,

Speaker 2 00:08:02 I I use the McDonald’s analogy, but I think even, even a better analogy may be, um, certainly something that resonates with Clayton County citizens and Chick is Chick-fil-A. Chick-fil-A, again, is not just, um, pertinent to Clayton County. Chick-fil-A has companies throughout the world and what you recognize is that there’s a certain air that comes with being a Chick-fil-A customer from their interaction that you have with the staff to the brand, to the cleanliness of the restaurants. All that plays a huge role about providing that identity. So if you take that and apply that to Clayton County, you want to, to really continue to have that as the forefront of who we are as a, as a community, your interaction with, with our staff, that there’s a unified approach to that when you go in a certain facility, you know, the brand, um, based upon you seeing the logo or seeing how we integrated the logo in a way for that particular department. So again, we’re, we’re utilizing best practices within the private industry as a means to continue to bring that to government. So therefore our citizens can be proud of what we’re doing as it pertains to the government as a whole.

Speaker 5 00:09:10 Thank you for that. And if you have not seen, uh, the new Clayton County logo, you can log on to Uh, watch the latest video and watch, uh, how the brand is actually being used throughout, uh, the new launch of the website. Also. So last but certainly not the least, uh, of the pillars is quality of life.

Speaker 3 00:09:33 <affirmative>

Speaker 2 00:09:34 Quality of life pillar, um, provides a lot of different tenants to different people from, you know, your safety in your, your house to, um, the, the different amusement or recreational amenities that you may have in your community. Um, or even your ability to attract certain buyers to your community because you may be looking to sell your house or buy a house. So quality of life has kind of what I call a, a wraparound perspective about the pillars as a whole, but specifically when we speak to quality of life, it’s about what is the notion that the citizens see about their pride for their respective community. It’s really the basis of that. So we’ve done quite a bit within that space, whether you look at our slot program, which is our special purpose, local and sales tax, where we’ve utilized money to build out new infrastructure in the county, uh, whether you’re talking about green waves and, um, a trail system within the community, whether we’re building a new recreation centers where we’re building new senior facilities or libraries all play a huge role as it pertains to really exploring and elevating the conversation around quality of life.

Speaker 2 00:10:42 And so what we wanted to ensure from a facility standpoint and service standpoint, we didn’t want to be second to none within the metro area. So the quality of life pillar really speaks to those respect, this live work play components primarily play and given an opportunity for citizens to know that they do not have to go outside of their community to have quality services within Clayton County.

Speaker 3 00:11:07 So now understand Bitton witnesses, um, and learn more about the roles and where, um, we, where we stand in stakeholders involvement. Um, talk to us about,

Speaker 4 00:11:32 Great. So earlier, um, Valerie, you spoke to kind of the change in our website and it’s, um, being a major means for communicating to our public about where we stand. The dashboards is an opportunity that you have an opportunity to drill down and see some specific areas in our operational plan that attaches to the policy direction. So the goal there is that if you go to the county’s website, you know, Clayton county and go to our dashboards, um, you can interface and interact with specifically where we are as from a directional standpoint regarding the things we say we’re gonna do, are we actually doing it? So it’s, it is a scorecard, and I oftentimes use this analogy playing basketball oftentimes is that when you’re just shooting basketball with your friends, it’s probably not that eventful, but the minute you start keeping score, you start taking the game serious.

Speaker 4 00:12:28 Um, and we look at the dashboards in the same sense. We can tell you where we may be going as a county, but if you can now can hold us accountable cuz you have an opportunity to say the, see the things that we say we’re gonna do, then it gives you an opportunity to be part of the solution opposed to constantly, you know, we are providing this context about what the problems are in the community. So it, it provides you an opportunity to give us feedback about whether or not we’re moving out on those agenda items that you feel like are important and pertinent to the county, but also it gives us a report card as to whether or not we are in line with the best of class. So therefore you at least have a benchmark about where we should be heading as a county

Speaker 3 00:13:13 Can continue engage. Let’s put some of the meeting. Um, um,

Speaker 4 00:13:30 Great question. Um, a couple, there’s a couple medians that we put in place, um, that certainly will help. One of which is, um, primarily our commissioners have what they call their community meetings. The community meetings give you an opportunity to hear specifically what might be happening in a respective district. And you can kind of get a hands-on approach as to those things that might be being developed, whether it’s a new zoning change to promote a new business coming in play, or whether or not there’s an event that’s forthcoming that we want to get the youth and the seniors involved in. Um, the community meetings that our commissioners actually host plays a different, um, plays a number of, uh, beneficial opportunities for our citizens to kind of plug in about the direction. Another median that we utilize is our surveys. Uh, we’ve probably generated more community surveys in the last year than we have probably in the last four to five years.

Speaker 4 00:14:25 And the idea there is how do we use an objective tool to get feedback from our citizens about things they would like to see, or more importantly, the messages that we think that we’re conveying is actually emanating with the community. And so I oftentimes talk about there’s a firm difference in communication and connectedness. You can communicate something sometime and your message is not clear, but when you are, are connected, then you are getting confirmation from the individual that what you’re saying and what you’re doing is in line with what they’re hearing. So we’re trying to ensure that the paradigm shift that we’re having in space is that we’re just not communicating, but we want it to your, to your point and our tagline, we wanna be more connected with our citizens. So we’re trying to develop other mediums and other tools that we can utilize to ensure that we are here in our community in the right way.

Speaker 1 00:15:16 So we’ve also, uh, launched our external newsletter, our external e-newsletter, um, and, um, for others who are, uh, socially inclined, uh, on the internet, Facebook, Twitter next door, our Clayton County government website,, uh, as well as the commissioner’s monthly meetings that you’ve already mentioned, uh, as well as the board meetings. Right, there’s an opportunity for the general public to come and make comment at those meetings too.

Speaker 4 00:15:45 Most definitely. So our board meetings are facilitated every first and third Tuesday at six 30 at one 12 Smith Street. Um, it is the location for our board meetings. Um, in addition to that, the board conducts what we call work sessions. And the work sessions right now reflects the, um, first Tuesday at five 30 prior to the board meeting, and then the second Tuesday of each month. Um, this is just a general work session that begins at five 30 as well. And of course, all those agendas and, um, the, the primary focus for those respective meetings are posted on the county’s website, website prior to those meetings.

Speaker 1 00:16:36 I’m your hostess, Valerie Fuller, inviting you to check out all of our podcasts at Clayton Connected