Letters to the Editor

Mayoral election: Challenges met, expectations surpassed

By Patricia Cohen

Four years ago, voters demonstrated that electing a leader with a strong sense of community commitment and municipal experience, and who operated with the belief that performance matters, was just as important to them as it was to Mayor-Elect, Patricia Cohen.

Since my election, the City has encountered challenge upon challenge; a major budget adjustment to meet a $1.2 million shortfall, the need to overhaul city departments in order to keep pace with customer needs, personnel changes, the desire to secure win-win labor agreements between Police and Fire personnel, and the arduous tasks of negotiating Navy utilities acquisition in order to protect future water and wastewater interests for the City. Under my leadership, the City boldly and confidently met each challenge. Expectations were surpassed; we raised the bar. Now we are moving on; the direction and tone have been cast.

Currently, there are two major staffing vacancies, the City Engineer and Civil Engineer. There is a shortage of qualified applicants in today’s job market. I am gravely concerned about this situation. These are critical positions and contracting the services out long term is costly.

The citizens have invested heavily in my leadership and this is an investment I have never taken for granted. I’m very proud of my first term as your mayor. Significant changes within the organization have taken root. I have asked that we aim for the remarkable and not settle for the routine despite the pull of tradition.

If the leader at the top has provided strong direction and focus, operated with high sense of integrity and demonstrated a skill for risk taking, then what kind of reason would it take to walk away from that investment?

I have always thought that leadership was not so much about a person or a position as much as it was a sense of responsibility and desire to make a difference. Whatever we can do or dream of doing, we must initiate. Boldness has genius, power and magic! My goal and my dream is that as a community we assume a sense of urgency. Raise the community’s level of aspiration and stretch our civil self-confidence. We have spent years talking about plans for the downtown and waterfront; we struggle getting behind and supporting our schools. If we are to become more than what we are today, will and fortitude must carry the day.

I believe that a true leader must have character ability, which simply means he or she knows what he wants and has the courage and determination to get it. I have learned that there is a dichotomy is this environment. Leadership requires toughness as well as tenderness; guts along with grace, firmness and fairness. We should look for leaders that will help guide us to places we’ve never been before. Leaders that inspire, excite, coach and give energy. They should challenge the process and encourage the heart. Great leaders understand the importance of having a connection between leader and constituents. They boost performance and strengthen resolve to get the job done.

When I think of the countless contributions of so many folks over the years that have volunteered both time and talent to make this a better place for our kids, I am humbled.

It has been a profound honor to serve my community from this office. I am grateful for the abundance of support that I have found in our citizens and I especially thank my council and staff for their dedication. Hoorah! God bless our city.

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