Since being sworn in, the first 45 days in office has been a time for further learning, assessing, organizing and innovating. Where has Orchard Park been, and what is on our horizon? What is the mood of our residents, as well as that of the employees who provide the services which those residents depend upon and desire? What governmental things have worked well, and where can we improve? A community of persons evolves, even as a single person does. Stability and change, push and pull, give and take – such stressors are part and parcel to the ever emerging and diverse values, needs, wants, interests, and prospects of the individual as well as the community. And those whom a community elect are expected to demonstrate a depth of acumen which is capable of negotiating the emergent and diverse among their constituents.
From a personal perspective, I have found that there is no leaving this new role within our community. What I mean is that there is no clock whereby your responsibilities are either taken up or laid aside for given periods of time. For example, during January my wife and I took a week to travel to Charlotte NC and be with our new granddaughter (oh, and her parents too). While there, owing to modern technologies – a boon and a bane – I teleconferenced in on a Board work session, exchanged daily emails, and fielded a number of phone calls in my capacity as a council member. That is not a complaint, it is just a matter of fulfilling my responsibilities and, consequently, goes with the territory, as they say. Truthfully, other than not having to deal directly with crisis-type circumstances, the constant attention required of elected office to our community is little different than when I was part of the administration of our police department, only eight short years ago. And, yes, as so many people through the years have suggested, my wife is a saint, if a saint is understood to be one whose principle motivation and satisfaction is the happiness of others.
As individual politicians and as the newly seated Council, the Town Board has been delving ever deeper into the emergent and the diverse within our community. In doing so, we have imposed upon ourselves a rather simple, but strict, three-step model for the work of government, namely,  assess,  investigate solutions,  implement. And as a sort of mantra, we continually remind ourselves that we are not looking for “good” solutions, but the “best” that is possible. Taking this approach allows us to retain what has been working so well for the Town, even while we look to improve upon or even initiate new “best” solutions, initiatives, and operations. We have been meeting with department, committee and union leadership, and have requested and received reports from them concerning their successes, challenges and needs. We have already implemented initiatives such as the Senior Services Task Force, a liaison with the Orchard Park schools to strengthen our relationship with them in service to our community, and held the first ever State of Orchard Park Address with the Village Board, an important initiative not for the purpose of politicking, but as a means of further advancing the principles of transparency and accountability.
Recognizing that Orchard Park is both diverse and one, we are determined that as a Board we too must reflect our community. Although diverse in our aptitudes and sometimes in our mental and personal dispositions (were we not, I dare say we would find each other less interesting and our responsibilities less invigorating), by uniting behind the singular principle of what is “best” for our community, we have been able to build a common vision and set of values which have occasioned the establishing of three significant goals for 2014. You will find these enunciated in our recently delivered “State of the Town” which you can download from the Town’s web page (http://orchardparkny.org/content ). Let me encourage you to take a few minutes to read it. And please offer some feedback if you are so moved.
I initially intended to post monthly reports on my council member activities. I think it would be more helpful and timely, however, if I post such clock-circumscribed activities – at least those which I remember to record – on my Calendar page and occasionally post some narrative information and thoughts on this page. Let’s see how it goes.