The Sixth Initiative

I have spent my first seven months in Gilbert discussing our community’s Five Strategic Initiatives and, essentially, developing what we will call our community’s Sixth Strategic Initiative.

What I will call our ‘Unofficial Sixth Strategic Initiative’ is to Build a Strong Organizational Foundation.  I have laid out specific organizational initiatives that support this sixth initiative, which in itself is key to supporting our Town Council-approved Five Strategic Initiatives.  Committees of Gilbert employees are currently working toward these commitments.  What our goal is, is to build a strong and sustainable foundation for our organization that develops and supports our leaders and builds pride and trust and success.

One of those organizational initiatives goes to the heart of everything we do, and why we do it – and that is our mission, vision and values statements.  We are currently working with our Town leaders to review and revise what our mission is and what values we support, as we reach for this 10-year vision of our successful future.  That is vital to our success, as it helps to define our culture and how we approach our work.  These statements will ensure that our hiring, performance evaluations and daily activities directly support that vision, which ultimately reflects our Five Strategic Initiatives.

This week I had an opportunity to work with some of the leaders we may see down the road in those 10 years, during Student Government Days at Town Hall.  Twenty-four students shadowed public officials, and then held their own mock student council meeting.  One, Liana Nguyen, shadowed me as Town Manager for the day.

If any of our initiatives are to be successful, it is critical that we commit to harnessing the talent of our future leaders, and creating a culture that promotes a character of success. The students on the Mayor’s Youth Advisory Committee are taking that a step further as they investigate real interactive digital partnerships with local business, to build a strong foundation for their careers, and to support our important business community whose hard work make us thrive.

We also welcome one of our newest leaders, Dana Berchman, who will take on an enormously important task that will support our Sixth, and original Five, initiatives.

Dana will be focused on fundamentally rethinking the role of a communications manager, to emphasize forward thinking, inclusive and visionary strategies, as a Chief Digital Officer.  She will conduct a comprehensive review of the information and data we collect, to develop a strategy to not only make it available, but useful and relevant. She will be responsible for creating a digital roadmap for our Town that efficiently harnesses the power of technology, social media, web 2.0 and mobile platforms to the benefit of our residents and business community.

Gilbert is a land of opportunity, and I am confident that with our strong staff and our residents, we will become that premier community in the nation.

-Patrick Banger, Town Manager

Strategic Initiatives: Technology, Livability

Strategic Initiatives:  Technology, Livability

What is a QR Code?

Those of you I have had the pleasure to meet in person already may have noticed one characteristic in particular:  Yes, I am tied to my cell phone, like many of us these days.  We use them to stay in touch with family and friends, to be reached in emergencies, and to receive important alerts.

Our phones are becoming a very important key to our ability to access and share information.  We know that in the Town, and that is why we are committed to providing easier access to communicate with us, and to receive information that may be important to you, with no effort on your part.

That is where QR, or Quick Response, codes come in.  QR codes are two-dimensional bar codes that you scan using a free app on your phone.  They work as links, and take you directly to the mobile Website with information about the topic of interest.  If you already have a mobile app that allows you to scan products and check food prices, for instance, this same free app will scan these codes and make it easy to bookmark and find information that you know you will need or want later.

Gilbert has two QR codes now and plans more.  Our recycling division uses their code in materials they provide, so residents who join us in our wildly important Go Green Gilbert campaign.  You can scan the code and go directly to a page detailing the do’s and don’ts of recycling, and other ways to help the town be more environmentally friendly.  Our second code is posted at our development services counters, and is an important tool for our customers to use and provide us feedback, while their experience with planning and development with us is fresh and in real time.  That is a convenient way for you to provide us feedback, and allows us to constantly review for improvements that matter most to our business owners and constituents going through the process.

Report problems easily

Technology in general is changing in Gilbert, in an ongoing effort to be efficient, as cost-effective as possible, and proactive as a service provider.

We know we are moving in the right direction, just by analyzing results from our past improvements.  Our Fix-It page, www.gilbertaz.gov/fixit, made it easier for residents to report issues directly to the Town using an online form, and saved us about 300 hours of staff work per year, while increasing our response to issues now easier to report by 21 percent.  And that is just the start, because our new mobile app, myGilbert, makes it even easier to report neighborhood concerns.

We have seen other successes, like the elimination of mailing 400 business license renewals due to scanning documents – equating to another savings of 200 hours of annual staff time.  Our police department is moving forward with a  Data Driven Approach to Crime and Traffic Safety, which uses a smart analysis of real crime rates to provide proactive responses.  Technology has a strong impact in everything we do.

Water Safety Walk

As we approach summer, and my family eagerly awaits their chance to jump into our new home’s pool, I want to end this update with an encouragement to consider joining our community and our Gilbert Fire Department as we embark on a Walk for Water Safety on March 31.  We will be handing out materials – with tips that may surprise you, and save a life -  and you can play a big part in keeping our kids safe. I encourage you to learn more at www.gilbertaz.gov/watersafety.

Versus Mesa

I can’t, of course, end without inviting you to cheer on Gilbert at the annual Mayor’s Cactus League Hotdog Challenge, which takes place on Saturday and involves free fun and games – and a chance to beat Mesa in softball!  Have a great weekend.

Patrick Banger, Town Manager

Saving Lives a Priority in Gilbert

Eyes have been on federal government in recent days, but as many of us know, it is municipal government that impacts us closest to home.  We have staff who are literally tasked with saving our lives.

We rely on our Gilbert Fire Department to come quickly to rescue our loved ones from medical emergencies and fire, as a key service we provide as a community.  And our niche business industry – the medical and life sciences fields – provide us internationally renowned experts who spend their days and nights researching and treating us – saving our lives.

This update looks at the aspects of Gilbert that are focus on saving lives, and how we continue to improve in that all-important task.

Initiatives: Livability, Technology

The Gilbert Fire Department is about to make an announcement that will leap us out in front as leaders in digital technology.  Thanks to a Gilbert resident and Intel Corp. employee who is volunteering to create an application for Gilbert, we are avoiding about $200,000 in cost to upgrade to the most state of the art technology in Electronic Patient Care Reporting.

Later this year, our firefighters will lay down their clipboards, and pick up new electronic tablets.  As another cost-saving measure, one single gateway will provide fast-speed connections to multiple tablets, and the fire vehicle itself for its communications with dispatch.  That means our patients will have automatic records created to share easily with hospitals and enter into our system, and it means staff time and taxpayer dollars saved thanks to the latest efficiencies.  It also means we will now be able to track trends and plan our training and staff for realistic expectations.

It all adds up to saving more lives.

Initiative: Economic Development

We are partners in this effort to save lives in Gilbert, as we continue to watch our medical industry grow and boom.  In February, Ironwood Cancer & Research Centers announced a planned 25,000-square-foot expansion into Gilbert, where they will provide the latest and most innovative treatments for cancer close to home in a state of the art facility.  I thank Sen. Andy Biggs and Rep. Eddie Farnsworth for joining us for this great announcement, and Mayor John Lewis and Councilman John Sentz, himself a survivor treated at the facility, for sharing in this news that will impact our economy, and the lives of our friends and family.

Employees of the Year

Lastly, we recently took time to appreciate our Employees of the Year.  We took time to honor 26 of our hard working employees for shining.  Their successes ranged from a commitment to transparency, to those whose actions at emergency operators helped guide our efforts to protect and provide this key service.  I welcome you to join me in congratulating these outstanding employees.  You can read their success stories here.

Each and every one of these employees, regardless of position, play a role in our priorities – which includes the very important one of saving and protecting lives.  Thank you.

- Patrick Banger, Town Manager