Lake County Commission Chairwoman Leslie Campion and her colleagues should set future goals

Second of two parts.

County Commission Chairwoman Leslie Campione has a few things she wants to accomplish next year — roughly eight single-spaced, typewritten pages of them.

That is going to be one busy woman.

Aside from laying out her goals, Campione conveniently suggested ways to measure success. Excellent! Regardless of whether you agree with what the chairwoman wants to do, it's admirable for an elected official to put his or her goals in writing in a thoughtful, organized way, which is what she has done.

Campione is starting her second year as commission chairwoman, following an initial term that was pretty badly fumbled. The single most basic job of a government is to get a budget, and she led the commission to balance the current one with about $4.4 million of reserves. Her clueless comments about Lake Emergency Medical Services and the jail prompted the former to unionize. The latter will be voting on a different union in the next month or so.

That's a grim legacy to leave, but Campione won a second term as chairman from her colleagues, and she has outlined where she'd like to take the county.

She breaks her goals into 10 categories, and most of the things she wants to accomplish under each are worthy. What Campione hasn't articulated, however, is an overall objective, other than challenging managers to provide good service for less money. An example of the kind of goal the county should have is Tavares — nearly everything officials there set out to accomplish is geared toward making it "America's Seaplane City."

But what does Lake want to be? The answer certainly isn't Campione's sole responsibility, but the fact that she doesn't link each of the items she wants to accomplish to an overall aim is a hint that the county lacks direction. Oh, commissioners have mumbled about being an eco-tourist destination but no one ever has gotten serious about it.

Commissioners would have less trouble deciding how to spend their meager dollars if they had a mission to which they could refer when making decisions.

Let's take a look at some of Campione's goals:

•Promote cooperation between the private sector, the local governments and the school system to "create a positive economic environment" and make sure schools are turning out a workforce that meets the need of employers.

Unfortunately, her measure of "success" is really just a bunch of meetings — holding round tables, visiting businesses, "tracking progress," appointing members to an advisory board and the like. These should be more results-oriented.

•Support ecotourism and festival-related business for local small businesses.

Again, the measures of success are vague and include goals such as "place greater focus on athletic events," "utilize new application and review process to identify capital tourism projects," and "improve outreach." Ugh.

•In the area of recreation comes a goal that isn't just government process. It's this: Lower maintenance cost of county-owned recreation and conservation properties. The rest of the "goals" in this area involve "coordinating" and "continuing to work with" and "monitoring."

•Campione wants department heads to cut their budgets by at least 5 percent for the fiscal year that starts in October, and she wants to hold budget workshops so they can bring the cuts forward and discuss them. Sigh. This one feels like déjà vu. Campione had a bazillion workshops over months last year and in the end, she threw all the planning out the window.

•In public safety, the chairwoman wants Lake Emergency Medical Services, which is controlled by commissioners, to become more efficient and wants to get an agreement with fire departments across the county to more efficiently cover the area.

We could go on — Campione wants to "promote efficiency and reliability" in the building-permit process, work with the state to complete traffic studies, get rid of abandoned mobile homes, "initiate coordination" with the School Board and the cities about the soon-to-expire extra penny sales tax and — somehow — increase pet adoptions.

Unfortunately, most of Campione's goals aren't really goals at all. Rather, they are the day-to-day grinding of government.

Let's take this goal of Campione's, for example:

Featured Stories

Advertisement

PLAN AHEAD

Top Trending Videos