Editorial: Now that goals are clear, don’t let them slide

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 26, 2003

When it comes to the goals the Albert Lea City Council developed during its recent retreat, it will be important for leaders to remember two things: Stick to the plan, and don’t hesitate to change it along with circumstances.

The council set goals including creating 1,000 jobs, coming up with a plan for the old Farmland site, getting some answers on lake dredging costs and cleaning up eyesores. None of those goals is anything new, but the council took a step forward by getting together and putting them on paper. The importance of having agreed-upon goals is incredible. These goals can provide a frame of reference through which the elected leaders can view the issues that come before them. It also provides a clear directive to City Manager Paul Sparks about exactly what the council’s priorities are.

That said, the goals will mean nothing if they are forgotten. And like any long-term plan, the goals must be flexible and must be changed to adapt to changes in the city.

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By agreeing to evaluate their progress each year, the city set up a good mechanism to keep the goals vital and in the front of their minds.

Reminding the council about the goals and assessing their progress and continued applicability for city officials and the public is a good job for Mayor Jean Eaton to handle. As the main spokeswoman for the city, and the only leader elected by everyone city-wide, she has the ability to use her position toward that end. The mayor is the leader of the city council, and in that role, keeping goals in mind and evaluating progress are key skills.

Having a set of goals, stated publicly, is a good place to start. Over the coming years, the amount of dedication to those goals by Eaton and the rest of the council will determine if they are reached.

Tribune editorials represent the opinion of the newspaper’s management and editorial staff.