Local government service is for heroes. It takes employees and officials who care deeply about building quality of life for their city. Their accomplishments create what we all love about our communities, from parks and main streets, to clean sidewalks and safe neighborhoods.
At the Missouri Municipal League, we look forward each year to the MML Innovation Award entries submitted, where we learn about many of the successful projects that cities throughout the state initiate. Cities share how they solve a challenge in their community. As local superstars, they are often addressing a challenge before citizens may even realize a solution is required. Better yet, the entries are not for one single community – each entry shares how the successful project can be emulated by other communities as well.
We are happy to honor these innovators at our Annual Conference each September, and to share their stories throughout the year. Below are just a few of the ways local government employees are making great things in communities across the state happen:
City of Springfield
Give 5 Civic Matchmaking Program
The Give 5 program is a first-of-its-kind “civic matchmaking” initiative with the following objectives: connect each program graduate with one or more strategic volunteer opportunities in the community that feeds his/her passion and provides a renewed sense of purpose and meaning (“civic matchmaking”); address social isolation; strengthen the community’s fabric by increasing “bridging” social capital in the community; help program graduates discover the community legacy he/she wants to leave; and re-engineer volunteer opportunities to make them more meaningful.
The Give 5 program has been underway for more than one year and has been very successful in achieving program goals. Each of these objectives is being achieved to a greater degree as each class graduates and begins volunteering in the community. The Give 5 program is a partnership between the City of Springfield, Greene County, and United Way of the Ozarks. Learn more about this program in the March/April 2019 issue of the MML Review magazine.
City of Nixa
Staff Think Tank
The idea for the Think Tank was born at a City leadership retreat in June 2017. In August 2017, the Think Tank Coordinator was assigned, and the committee officially launched in September 2017.
The Think Tank represents a bottom-up approach to problem solving and is on the cutting edge of current leadership trends. The Think Tank concept bridges the efforts of top-level leadership with line level and mid-level employees to work together on large-scale issues. Discussions within Think Tank allow employees to practice critical thinking on higher level issues than may normally apply to their job description. Think Tank is an innovative approach to fostering open communication. It better prepares the City for the future by engaging staff in the discussion to address emerging issues. Also, the younger generations in the work force highly value being involved in decision-making processes and understanding the “why” behind the responsibilities assigned to them.
City of Lebanon
Fire Department Safety and Education
Public safety is a primary responsibility of every level of government in any community. The Lebanon Fire Department Safety and Education project works to improve life safety directly related to home fires. The primary intent is to ensure there are working smoke detectors in every home within the City of Lebanon. The project expanded to include providing carbon monoxide detectors, fire extinguishers, and bailout ladders.
Project development involved members of the community donating funds to purchase smoke
Detectors. The Lebanon City Council passed an ordinance to establish the project while committing to matching funds to support efforts. Members of the Lebanon Fire Department are the hands-on part of this project. They install carbon monoxide and smoke detectors, conduct public education sessions, and deliver ladders and fire extinguishers when requested.
City of Fair Grove
Inexpensive Geographic Information System
Fair Grove needed an inexpensive geographic information system (GIS) to maintain infrastructure records and maps. The City needed to replace paper plans, GPS-generated wall maps and field books with computer/smart phone accessible maps. At the suggestion of the Missouri Rural Water Association Circuit Rider, Diamond Maps was contacted. The organization provided a low-cost solution to digitize infrastructure records, maps and construction plans.
The GIS system is shared over the internet with city offices, Public Water Supply District No. 5, Fair Grove Fire Protection District, Fair Grove Planning and Zoning, and others including residents, developers and contractors on an as-needed basis. In the field, city employees can access construction and as-built plans, every fire hydrant inspection and flow test, maintenance records, photo documentation and memorization of sewer and water line repairs. New water meters no longer require an outside GPS survey, but during the interim can be accurately pinned on the base map in the field.
Learn more about these projects and many more happening on the Missouri Municipal League website at www.mocities.com/innovation.
We are so thankful for the local government officials and employees who work tirelessly for a better quality of life for their neighbors, family and community members. The projects above are just a few examples of the magic they make happen every day.