Pullman City Council is asking for suggestions from citizens about city goals for the upcoming year.
The city began collecting suggestions in 1982 after City Supervisor John Sherman attended a session on goal setting at the International City Management Association Conference, Sherman said. Citizens, organizations and city employees can submit their suggestions and ideas to the council until Jan. 31.
“We want to make sure employees can forward their suggestions unfiltered to the decision-making body,” Sherman said.
City department heads, individual council members and the mayor also submit their goals for the year, Sherman said.
“You want elected officials that are looking for the good of the community,” he said. “They’re not just reacting, but they’re proactive in setting a community vision.”
All of these goals and suggestions are compiled into a notebook, and a copy is given to all the council members, department heads and the mayor, Sherman said. The council then goes through the goals together during a one-day retreat sometime in March, he said. They narrow down the goals into an initial list before discussing them with the department heads and other employees in April at a second meeting, Sherman said. The group votes on whether to accept, reject or modify each goal.
“They try to get it into a manageable list,” Sherman said. “They want accountability and achievability. If you get too many goals, you have a good intent, but it’s hard to accomplish them all.”
Throughout this process, employees and council members can suggest new goals they want to incorporate, Sherman said. The list is finally taken to a regular council meeting and voted on publicly. Sherman said all of the earlier goal-setting meetings are open to the public, as well. Department heads and council members give a report in September on how they are achieving their goals, he said.
“Everybody needs to have goals, and especially policy makers,” Sherman said. “A formalized process like this has worked really well for us.”
Mayor Glenn Johnson agreed that the process has worked well for the city.
“You always want to take input from your citizens,” Johnson said. “This is one way to formalize it.”
Sherman said the list of goals is published on the city website and is listed in the Pullman Community Update newsletter each year.
“Citizens can look at that and see, how did they address my goals?” Sherman said.
Allison Munch-Rotolo, chair of the College Hill Association (CHA), said they submitted a suggestion to the city council last year about improving the recycling system. Munch-Rotolo said recycling was constantly coming up as an issue at meetings, especially from students. Although no changes have been made yet, the city is beginning to work on the issue, she said.
Munch-Rotolo said the council is always very receptive to their suggestions, even if there is no room in the city budget to accomplish the goal.
“They don’t shut us down,” Munch-Rotolo said. “Sometimes, economically the timing is difficult.”
Some goals also take several years to accomplish, Munch-Rotolo said. CHA suggested five years ago that the city work to become a Certified Local Government (CLG), a program that focuses on historic preservation. Pullman formally became a CLG this December.
“Usually the process works really well,” Munch-Rotolo said. “We always feel privileged to participate.”
Suggestions for the council can be mailed to or dropped off at 325 SE Paradise St., or emailed to email@example.com.