(at Borough Hall, noon, 1/4/10)
Happy New Year, Borough of West Chester! We can be happy and proud today. West Chester is the envy of towns all across America! We are a county seat; we host one of the nation’s premier state universities; our school district is tops and our citizens are caring and capable. Our diverse communities are closely interconnected. Our challenges affect us all. And our successes benefit us all.
As your Mayor, I will focus on three key initiatives to support my campaign pledge of a West Chester that is “Safe, clean and green”:
My first priority will be safety and economics:
The goal is to keep West Chester a safe place. People love to live, work, learn and visit West Chester because they feel comfortable and safe.
The Mayor’s primary role is to oversee the administration of the West Chester Police Department. The mission of the West Chester Police Department, a law enforcement agency dedicated to the highest standards of professionalism and integrity, is to protect and serve our diverse communities by forging collaborative relationships.
West Chester is extremely fortunate to have one of the most professional, capable and caring police departments in the nation.
The Mayor has a unique opportunity to strengthen and build those collaborative relationships that are key to creating a West Chester that is a great place to live, work, learn and visit.
One of my first initiatives will be to introduce myself in my new role and to listen to members of our diverse communities… our citizens, our University and school district our businesses and non-profits, our County and our neighboring municipalities. Listen to better understand the issues of concern and ideas for the future.
“Safety and Economics”… A prosperous community supports a safe community.
It’s a tough economy – even though West Chester has fared much better than many towns, it’s still tough times for locally owned businesses.
With an eye to prosperity for all in 2010, I am launching the West Chester 3/50 project which will take place in West Chester this year.
The idea behind the 3/50 project is to support locally owned businesses: retail, restaurants and services.
Here’s how it works: For example, I choose 3 locally owned West Chester businesses that I would really miss if they were gone. I stop in and say “hello”and pick up a little something – maybe spend $50 or so a month in these 3 shops.
WC 3/50 will help our shops and is also a great way to support the health of the entire community. Did you know that for every $100 spent in locally owned stores, $68 returns directly to the community! And most of our businesses give back to the community through donations, in-kind services and volunteer hours that support community programs. After all, West Chester is their home!
Second, I will focus on Transparency:
The goal is that all of West Chester’s people will have all the information they need to make well-informed decisions that will improve our community.
This is the time to have everyone connected: from the President of the United States down, the focus today is on open communication – transparency.
Communication allows transparency … and good government needs transparency!
The only way to not repeat mistakes is to understand them. I would like to see this for West Chester.
In 2010 I will form a Mayor’s Communications Committee. The committee will review what is working and recommend ways to enhance communication in our community.
A special focus of the Mayor’s Communications Committee will be to implement the recommendations of the “Communications Task Force” of our Police Department’s Strategic Plan – to implement the plan the people of West Chester created.
I am very excited to announce that the new West Chester Police Department website is almost ready to go live and will be launched in early 2010.
Another exciting project I would like to see for West Chester is the creation of local “Public Educational and Government TV”. PEG TV would be a great tool to involve people.
Maybe we will start small with educational TV first, then build on our successes and add government and public access over time. I hope West Chester will be able to focus on the best practices of PEG TV already in place in other communities and will urge West Chester’s Borough Council and educational leaders to work together to explore the feasibility of PEG access.
My third focus will be on Knowledge and Learning:
The goal is to educate ourselves individually and as a community – to understand the issues and to create effective, sustainable solutions.
I will support ongoing education and training for the officers of the West Chester Police Department, and will continue to participate personally in leadership and best practices programs.
I will work with the Mayor’s Communications Committee to consider such initiatives as an annual town meeting, and forums on timely topics.
By focusing on safety and economics, transparency and knowledge and learning, our citizens will be empowered to come together and develop effective initiatives that will lead to a West Chester that is safe, clean and green.
Each of us has a responsibility to leave something to posterity – to improve things for our children’s future.
I look forward to working together with all West Chester citizens and neighbors to protect and improve the lives of our residents. And to make West Chester an even better place to live, work, learn, and visit.
I wish everyone a very happy, healthy and prosperous new year!
Thank you very much!