“Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.”
Since taking office in June 2017, I have identified ways to build a team focused on serving every citizen in our community fairly, effectively and as fiscally responsibly as possible. If you cannot do those things then you cannot work for the City of Oxford during my administration.
With a goal of streamlining management and efficiency, I interviewed members of every department within the City. Tough questions were posed and if the answer was, “that’s just how we’ve always done it”, then I went further because that is not a good rationale for running our local form of government. The process resulted in identifying ways to streamline the management and efficiency of several departments by combining them and streamlining services. We also invested in technology and tools to measure performance and effectiveness as well as making it easy to register with the City as a new vendor and do business securely and electronically.
The first personnel move I made was to make Bart Robinson the Chief Operating Officer. Bart was the City Engineer and has worked for the City of Oxford for over 20 years. Bart’s experience and wisdom were critical to establishing a team that would be successful. The City of Oxford has 21 city departments. During the last four years, I have also had to name several new department heads the due to retirements and changes:
- Development Services Director
- City Engineer
- City Planner
- City Building Official
- Director of IT
- Oxford Police Chief
- Oxford Fire Chief
- City Judge
- Visit Oxford Director
- Director of the Oxford Conference Center
- Building and Grounds Supervisor
Combine those new City Department Head positions with a new Alderman, new management at the Oxford-Lafayette Humane Shelter, a new Sherriff, new Chancellor and Athletic Director, as well as two new Head Football Coaches at the University of Mississippi in the same amount of time and you will find a lot of change that produces a lot of possibilities!
During my administration we have worked to make government smaller and streamline services. We established a new Department – Development Services – that combined Engineering, Planning and Building under one umbrella. We combined Oxford Electric and Oxford Water and Sewer Department to establish Oxford Utilities.
Pat Lamar Park is the standard for what Oxford desires all of our parks to look like. Therefore, we moved the landscape and maintenance employees that covered all other parks under the Oxford Park Commission to the Building and Grounds Department that covered Pat Lamar Park. This allowed us to upgrade all of our parks with a higher skill and landscape plan. It will take several years to get all of our parks where we want them, but we are headed in the right direction.
Technology upgrades and new software programs in our Development Services Department, City Court Department and Oxford Police Department are allowing us to streamline procedures and serve the public more efficiently.
At the Oxford Police Department, we have installed computers in every car that allows patrol officers to do reports from their cars which frees up space in the station and time to patrol and serve for our officers.
Oxford Utilities is converting electricity and water meters to AMI meters allowing for meters to be checked by simply driving by rather than exiting the vehicle. This allows us to use our meter readers more efficiently saving money and time. AMI meters will be installed for every customer of Oxford electric by Fall 2021.
Oxford Police Department and Environmental Services have the most vehicles in city inventory. We have begun to implement a fleet management program for these departments, which will allow us to manage these vehicles from acquisition to disposal. It will allow us to reduce costs, improve efficiency and ensure compliance across our departments.
My administration continues to work on ways to communicate with our residents. We continue to have a user friendly website and utilize our social media sites to relay information in a timely manner. We have also enacted an emergency alert system – Nixle – that allows us to contact our residents via email, phone call and text message.
I am proud of the changes we have made during my administration, and if given the opportunity to serve a second term I will continue to work to consolidate and streamline city services without sacrificing quality of the same. I humbly ask for your support and vote.