The Bettendorf City Council appears focused on three main strategic goals for 2013 after about 12 hours of discussion Friday night and all day Saturday.
At the end of Saturday’s session, consultant Lyle Sumek suggested narrowing down all their thoughts and goals to three:
- Development of the area at Interstate 80 and Middle Road. Mayor Bob Gallagher Jr. said plans call for developing a business and technology park.
- Riverfront development and subsequently development of the downtown. Gallagher said all property affected by the proposed new Interstate 74 bridge must be purchased by the state by the end of this year. “We are looking at revitalization of the downtown,” he said.
- Maintaining a high-performing organization, which includes city employees and council members. Gallagher said professionalism already is very high and there are no problems in that area. But he said maintaining that for residents is the No. 1 priority in his mind.
Sumek said of the first two goals, “We want to create something special.”
Council members appeared pleased with the progress during the meetings.
“This is the third cycle (of goal-setting sessions) for me, and I think this really helps us focus on what are priorities one, which reflects the wishes of the citizens,” 4th Ward Alderman Greg Adamson said.
Saturday’s session also included a time of informal evaluation and discussion between aldermen and Gallagher about his overall grade. He has been on the job for a year.
“I see my role as more of a facilitator in meetings,” he said during the session. “And I want to be well received.”
Gallagher went on to say he sees his role as “building consensus on big issues” and running respectful meetings.
“I want to be an ambassador outside the city and be an effective lobbyist in Washington, D.C., and Des Moines,” he said.
He also wants to spend more one-on-one time with council members and department heads, a suggestion also made by City Administrator Decker Ploehn.
Alderman Scott Naumann, 2nd Ward, praised the mayor on how he handles things and makes them feel comfortable.
“I appreciate the working tone and leadership,” Naumann said. “It has been excellent.”
Ploehn and Sumek said department heads and other employees shared high praise for the mayor and how the city has operated thus far.
But Naumann said it is important to discuss all the intricate details of getting to know Gallagher’s personality and how he works and deals with people.
That sentiment was echoed by Gallagher.
“When there is a change in leadership, there will be different styles,” he said. “There is bound to be recognition of our differences and personalities.”
Gallagher said city budget meetings with the council will begin Jan. 14.