Developing goals

Ruth Haag
Dec 10, 2013


We Keep Rehashing Increasing Taxes, Using Sandusky Bay Pavilion, Moving City Hall - Let’s simplify by developing goals.
Many issues are rehashed in Sandusky, almost monthly, with no solutions in sight. A big part of the problem may be that these issues and projects are being discussed without the cohesiveness of goals, or a plan.
Developing goals is often made more complex than it needs to be. People like to first set up goals, followed by objectives, and then a list of projects. This is often combined with a vision statement and a mission statement. By the time they are done everyone is confused and still no one knows what to do. 
I like to think of a goal as a very generalized direction in which you wish to proceed. For example, Jack Welch, CEO of General Electric from 1981 to 2001, made a goal for GE to be No. 1 or No. 2 in every 
industry that it participated in. With this goal he increased the value of GE by 4000%. 
If you have developed good goals, then day-to-day decisions become very easy. For example, say that you made a goal for rearing your child to be a “healthy, viable adult.” Sound too simple? Think about it; when your child has a temper tantrum in a grocery store, what do you do? Without a goal, you might buy the child a bribe to keep them quiet, and allow you to finish shopping. But with the goal you would think, “Healthy, viable adults know how to control their emotions.” So you would take your child outside the store and began to help her learn to control herself. Likewise, when the child is 16 and asks for a little red car, what would you do? Without the goal, you might buy them the car, after all, the other teenagers are getting cars. With the goal, you would think about the fact that teenagers often have accidents with little read cars, so you would not let her have one. Each decision is related to the question: “Will this help create a healthy viable adult?” When your children began to fight with one another, as most siblings do, you would consider that healthy viable adults often need family support in the future, and therefore it would be better if they learned to solve differences without fighting. You would then teach them how to resolve their differences. Have a goal, make a decision easily.
In recent years the City of Sandusky, Ohio has created many project lists, but has not created goals. At times the outcomes of the projects have been in conflict with one another. To avoid this in the future, what should our goals be? Here are some ideas, some of which are mutually exclusive:
-Bring large industry back to the City
-Bring more tourists into the City
-Bring more small businesses into the City
-Bring more people to live in the City
-Focus on the people living in the City and provide the best services possible for them
-Create a self-sustaining infrastructure
The goals that the City Commission sets would be used to measure each decision that comes before Commission. If the decision would not further the goals, then it would be voted down.
For example, if the City set a goal of bringing in more tourists to the downtown, then a decision to improve all of the City parks, including the Sandusky Bay Pavilion, would be easy to make and implement. For this one the City already has a few studies completed. If, on the other hand, the City chose a goal to bring in large industry, their decisions would revolve around making space available for industrial plants. If this were our goal, then it makes sense that the site of the former APEX plant is currently being cleaned up to commercial/industrial standards. This makes the site ready for more industry.
On the other hand, if one of the City’s goals was to bring in more people to live, then the decision to clean up the former Sandusky Cabinets site to residential standards makes sense. This makes the site ready for houses for families with children.
Many of our issues, such as that of increasing income tax, would be easily resolved if we knew where the City was going and what we want to spend the money on.
What goals would you suggest for your City?
More about Jack Welch.


The Bizness

Good idea, and I hope the city sees these goals and acts on them but why don't you go to the commissioners and city manager themselves and sell them on these goals. The first three goals are ones that the commissioners and city manager should be out trying to recruit people for every day.

Hey come to our city and see what it has to offer as they are meeting with business people! We have plenty of land that can be reused for industry, and commercial uses.


I think that one of the issues is that the city leaders like to make suggestions, but are afraid to make decisions.

The reason for this is that if they make a concrete decisions and do not have any other person, study, group, etc... to point the finger at for that decision, then if it fails they are to blame.

This phenomenon is not just something I have noticed with our city leaders, I see it in the leadership at my company. Nobody wants to be the guy that makes a significant decision. Harry Truman's "The Buck Stops Here" sign no longer applies in our society, it has been replaced with an arrow pointing to the next office down the hall.


I have to agree that nobody wants to accept the responsibility in this town....including those being paid to do so.

The first thing this town needs is JOBS. This place needs industry and light industry. No one helped out the old Ford plant or is helping out KBI. The city commissioners court only Cedar Point and think nothing about recruiting other businesses to come here. They don't see any advantage to it and that is why nothing gets done. You can forget about housing, infrastructure, police and fire expansion until you get JOBS in this town. That will help all the rest fall into place.

Why hasn't our City Manager done anything to address that issue? Perhaps we wouldn't be showing a deficit if this town had a few factories or larger businesses in it that paid some pretty good taxes instead of expecting the few residents of the city to pay or just Cedar Point?


The problem is that sound goals are bound to offend. Take, for instance the example above of bringing more people to live in the city. The problem is not a lack of people, it's a lack of productive, contributing people whose values embrace the social contract. However, if you set a goal of getting more residents like that, you'll offend the abundancy of existing residents who are not like that.

T. A. Schwanger


There are several issues here.

There are those who believe the waterfront should be all about a playground for those who can afford to build and pay the taxes leaving the rest to look at postcards and pictures of, as many politicians like to describe as "our most precious resource", Sandusky Bay and Lake Erie.

Sandusky has reached its Credit Card Limit and now basic essential city services are being put on hold indefinitely--streets and sidewalks. The License Plate Fund was set up for street repair. In recent years, the vast majority of this fund has gone to salaries instead of street paving. Likewise, there is now discussion of taking money from the EMS Equipment Replacement Fund for salaries.

What is the answer?? Accountability and change. It's time we revisit conversations about changing the way we do government locally including a Ward and At-Large City Commission.


"for those who can afford to build and pay the taxes"

Actually, those who are productive, who work and contribute, who are willing parties to the social contract, and who, yes, pay taxes. Of course you can't see that throught your class warfare glasses.