Strong, Experienced, Proven Leadership–Johnson for mayor

Strong, Experienced, Proven Leadership–Johnson for mayor


Editor’s Note: The following is Dennis Johnson’s recently released plan for his first 90 days as mayor.

Agenda/First 90 Days

The points and plans that follow are the result of my many discussions, meetings and conversations with a wide variety of people, groups and interests. I have visited all areas of our city and invited input from our citizens on how I could best serve them as mayor. I have also traveled extensively, both domestically and abroad, to find ideas, procedures and methods employed by successful and thriving communities. Finally, my own experience in business and government has been included to shape the final product.

1) Begin the process of building an “award-winning” city hall. One that is friendly, efficient, open and available. I will instruct department heads to assign one person from their department to meet weekly to discuss ways of making this changeover happen rapidly and effectively. I will choose department heads that are the best. They will be chosen for their ability, not because of their political party. I will meet regularly with department heads to review current budgets and operations and to think creatively on how to improve cost effectiveness while keeping on improving the level of customer service. My goal is to raise citizen satisfaction while making sure that every taxpayer dollar is spent wisely and efficiently.

2) Form an education task force to (1) make sure that all students are receiving an equal, quality education; (2) work to end the lawsuit as quickly as possible; (3) continue my dialogue with each school board member in an ongoing effort to reach common ground on how best to educate our kids; (4) assure safety for our students and teachers; (5) help develop a great vocational education program; (6) discuss innovative, lifelong learning opportunities; (7) meet with school officials and the Rockford Police Department to discuss safety issues within the schools and assure parents of the safety of their children and our teachers; (8) craft and assemble a higher education statement, which will clearly outline and define our plans for vastly improving the quality of education in our community.

(3) Appoint a director of neighborhoods. This person, in addition to setting as a goal the creation of 100 new neighborhood organizations and the strengthening of our present ones, will also serve as a special liaison for minority interests; spearheading efforts to provide a bilingual representative at city hall.

(4) Form an airport regional alliance with neighboring cities and counties for the purpose of bringing airline passenger service to the Rock River Valley.

(5) Call a first meeting of planning organizations in our region to discuss what type of organizational process is needed to ensure a coordinated effort in planning and development and to alert each other of new projects.

(6) Meet with RMTD to discuss meeting the needs of the community (including Sunday bus service) and setting the agenda for the development of an east-side terminal.

(7) Arrange meeting(s) with President

George W. Bush or top-level White House staff regarding our needs in Rockford, including edu-

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cational funding, road/alley funding and Rockford’s need for air transportation.

(8) Meet with the governor, the finance chairman of the Senate, House leadership and our representatives regarding securing our share of money available for road and bridge repair.

(9) Assess the technology needs with the Rockford Police and Fire departments to bring them up to date with the latest available equipment.

(10) Meet with the mayors of all neighboring cities and all county chairpersons to reinforce good working relationships.

(11) Meet individually with each alderman to hear how the city can help them respond to the needs of their ward.

(12) Set up citywide ward meetings for the balance of the year to open up lines of communication with the people.

(13) Meet with the Council of 100 to forge strong relationships for the purpose of growing and diversifying our economic base, to assess their need for additional resources and to determine what the city can do to secure those resources.

(14) Visit Daimler-Chrysler executives to promote the use of their Belvidere facility for their Mitsubishi line of cars. Demonstrate how we will proactively be going after other existing opportunities.

(15) Establish an ongoing roundtable with our senators, congressmen and state legislators to keep them apprised of our needs.

(16) Review all appointed boards and commissions to make sure that talented people are filling these posts. Establish a “short list” of available, talented, diverse individuals, including the younger generation. This list will not be based on political considerations.

Rockford is a wonderful city, a city full of potential and promise. Working together, we can transform Rockford into a great city.

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