City manager sets goals

Johnny Woodard Staff Reporter

August 29, 2013

An expansive list of organizational goals will help keep city staff and management on time and on task over the current fiscal year, say Laurinburg officials.

Covering every city department and including more than 50 individual items, the city of Laurinburg’s organizational goals list was collated by City Manager Charles Nichols after a series of discussions with department heads. One of Nichols’ first assignments as city manager after taking office, the organizational goals list also includes what Nichols said are reasonable completion date targets.

Only in a draft state, the goals list was distributed to the city council for their feedback and approval during their August agenda planning session.

“It’s been presented to them so that they can meet with me and we can talk about it or discuss it individually,” Nichols said.

Once approved, the goals list will be used as a measuring stick for Nichols, staff and for the council, too.

“It’s extremely important (to set goals). Without them you’d just be going through the routine every day. Setting goals and having them in place is a way for myself, the department heads, the employees and the city to know what is expected.”

Setting realistic goals is almost as important as setting goals altogether, explained Mayor Tommy Parker.

“And having those target dates is important. It’s a benchmark. It’s a way to see how much has been done,” he said.

According to Nichols, the targeted completion dates are realistic estimates of when specific projects can be completed based on feedback from city department heads.

“We first got together their goals then sent them back out and they came up with dates that we felt good and confident about for each of the tasks,” Nichols said.

Work related to the sewer and water infrastructure project serving FCC’s new paper plant, which is scheduled to go live in March of 2014 after breaking ground in May of this year, appears several times on the list. That fact, said Nichols, reflects the plant’s importance to the city.

“A lot of these goals deal with FCC, and mainly my most important thing is the deadlines that they have are met,” Nichols said of the water and sewer work which will allow FCC to eventually create over 90 jobs and become one of the city’s largest utilities customers.

While FCC’s “aggressive” goal for the completion of their paper plant means that there is little time to lose for the city, Councilman Drew Williamson said that the challenge is a good one to have.

“I wouldn’t trade having this FCC project to occupy our city staff. We are all excited about it,” Williamson said. “I think the fact that it is taking a lot of attention of our staff, with the fairly intense timetable that must be followed, is definitely a good thing.”

In addition to creating a benchmark for judging success, Williamson said that the list of goals will also help keep the city organized and focused in its work.

“There’s a lot on our plate these days, and certainly with a new city manager and a new police chief, we recognize that it takes some time for everyone to come together with an actual game plan, and we are excited about the future,” he said.

Included in the goals list are: Finalizing the wireless electric meter reading project, installing services for the new Walgreens location adjacent to Walmart, reducing inflow and infiltration in the sewer collection system, making repairs to the city’s Barrett Building, completing the West Church Street sidewalk project and completing audio-visual upgrades to the city council chambers.