Local government is dead! Long live local government! ... Local government is dead. Long live local

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  • 1Local government is dead. Long live local government! | City of Aurora, CO | TLG 2020

    Local government is dead! Long live local government!

    Making the Most of the Opportunity Before Us

    City of Aurora, Colorado

    Transforming Local Government Virtual Conference 2020

    Presenter Presentation Notes ML

    Introductions of presenters Disclaimer that what follows has been our immediate reaction to two very recent crises. We are still formulating our response. We’re not sure how well all of these things will turn out We have not measured effectiveness of our efforts (for the most part) but are working on it That stated, we are sharing our story—our perhaps unique (perhaps not) approach to addressing all that 2020 has thrown at us so far. We chose the provocative title, in part, because some other guys apparently already used Reinventing Government. But seriously, we view the traumatic events from the year so far as the golden opportunity for our City to reinvent itself. We don’t want to go back to the way things were. We are choosing to take this concept of ‘next normal’ very seriously.

  • 2Local government is dead. Long live local government! | City of Aurora, CO | TLG 2020

    For our story time together today…

    Photo credit: Majharul Islam

    1) Aurora’s completely unintuitive COVID recovery response

    2) COVID, racial tensions and the gift of clarity

    3) The next chapter: Aurora 2.0

    4) Future chapters: Aurora 3.0 and beyond

    Presenter Presentation Notes ML

    Just a quick overview of where we’ll be taking you today.

  • 3Local government is dead. Long live local government! | City of Aurora, CO | TLG 2020

    Worst nightmare… or wildest dream?

    COVID-19:

    Sunrise photo credit: Jasper Boer

    Presenter Presentation Notes ML

    Preview for ‘Worst nightmare’: COVID has caused a nightmare economic scenario for most organizations here, including ours. We have a $25.5 million budget shortfall this year; $30 million in 2021. Indefinitely furloughed almost 600 temp and seasonal employees. We’re cutting vacant positions left and right, have a hiring freeze in place, will do furloughs for FTEs, are cutting capital projects and operations, and may lay off some furloughed temps and seasonals soon. �That’s to say nothing of the hurt from losing many to the disease or hurting for those who have been sick.

    Yet there’s been a very real need—and opportunity—to do things different in the wake of COVID. Things that need to be done to protect our residents, businesses, staff. Things to recover from the economic impact of shutting everything down.

    Let’s do a quick exercise.

    Imagine back to New Year’s Day 2020.

    Think about some of the greatest challenges facing your organization, your work unit. What were they? �Now, imagine some of the most radical changes you’d love to make to the way your team does business. These are your 1-year, 5-year, maybe even 10-year plan for transforming the way your organization does business. What are they? Reorganize your work groups? Upskill your employees? Redeploy financial and staff resources to different places? Make it easier for all residents to access your services? Work from home in your bathrobe?

    Now…what kind of leadership or managerial magic it would take to make those changes happen? Different budget? Different employees? Different elected officials?

    How about a pandemic that has literally shut down the entire world and sent everyone home for four months (and counting)? If there were ever a giant ‘reset’ button on life, 2020 is it!

  • 4Local government is dead. Long live local government! | City of Aurora, CO | TLG 2020

    Aurora COVID Response Strategy

    1. Keep our City Hall closed when others reopen 2. Keep employees working from home indefinitely 3. Prevent in-person interactions between staff and residents (for

    the most part) 4. Offer services only on an appointment-only basis 5. Throw employees head-long into tasks they are not trained or

    feel they are ready for 6. Create new Citywide Strategic Plan during two world-changing

    events

    Presenter Presentation Notes ML

    So here’s our game plan to respond the onset of COVID in March. This is current as of right now.

    Sounds intuitive right? We have tried embracing—or leaning into—the situation. “Embrace the suck” I think is what the military calls it.

    How did we get here?

  • 5Local government is dead. Long live local government! | City of Aurora, CO | TLG 2020

    Earlier this year…

    Presenter Presentation Notes You know how in a movie, it sometimes starts with a situation in the present and then the movie flashes back in time?

    So without knowing the name for that theatric device, we’ll do the same here.

    “Earlier that day” or “12 hours before.”

  • 6Local government is dead. Long live local government! | City of Aurora, CO | TLG 2020

    Presenter Presentation Notes WS

    Prior to March 13th, 2020, Aurora CO chugging merrily along: Situated east of the Rockies bordering on the plains We were the 54th largest city in U.S Had an estimated Population – 381,000 and growing We were the Most diverse city in CO; 19.8% of residents are foreign born We were home to Buckley AFB, possibly the future home of the US Space Command We had a CM Form of government; 1 mayor and 10 council members We boasted recreational reservoirs, 97 municipal parks, 5 municipal golf courses, 6 public libraries, 6 recreation centers, and a performing arts theater We had full service police and fire/rescue departments and an award-winning water utility We employed approximately 3,200 staff AND WE HAD NO IDEA WHAT WAS ABOUT TO GO DOWN!

  • 7Local government is dead. Long live local government! | City of Aurora, CO | TLG 2020

    Where to?

    • Innovation design team • Teleworking • CRM/311 • Public engagement framework • Priority-based budgeting • Security protocol for city hall • Citywide strategic plan • …and many more.

    Organization level strategic initiatives - relationships March 4, 2020

    Bond capacity for capital projects (CIMP)

    Citywide Strategic Plan

    City broadband

    Aurora Smart City

    Priority Based Budget

    Neighborhood Wellness

    Key Places

    Lean Six Sigma/Peak

    Academy

    Change management

    Performance management

    IT Strategic Plan, citywide

    digital transformation

    User fee study

    Customer service

    initiative

    Public engagement framework

    HR succession planning,

    retention, and development

    Diversity, equity, and inclusion

    Tech solution nexus

    Financial/staff resource nexus

    Revenue generation nexus

    Culture/change mgmt need

    Civic engagement need

    Community (external) focus

    Organizational (internal) focus

    Internal/external focus

    Continuity of operations

    plan ?

    Presenter Presentation Notes ML Prior to COVID, we had a lot of strategic, big picture things on our plate. We were going lots of different directions at once.

    Frankly, we were having a hard time getting all the things to work together. We worked on sequencing, making sure the right people were on all the right projects. In some cases, we were having some challenges prioritizing—if you can imagine that! :P

    To illustrate my point, check out this map of ‘project linkages’ I put together. These were all the big strategic projects underway immediately before COVID.

    Fortunately, COVID has helped us prioritize these things. More on that later in the presentation.

    It’s not so important what these all are. What’s important is how COVID and other events immediately brought focus to many of these things. It’s brought us clarity, almost overnight. Have you noticed the same thing in your organization?

    IDT 1 (and struggling mightily) SHIFT and teleworking (employee attraction and retention efforts) CRM/311 Public engagement framework Priority-based budgeting ‘Strategic Initiatives Pyramid’ and Bird’s Nest Implementing tighter security protocol for city hall Citywide strategic plan creation

  • 8Local government is dead. Long live local government! | City of Aurora, CO | TLG 2020

    Presenter Presentation Notes WS FRIDAY THE 13TH—an auspicious day; Aurora issues a disaster declaration

    MARCH 17—Luck of the Irish? Not so much…City Hall is closed to the public and staff are sent to work from home; what next?

  • 9Local government is dead. Long live local government! | City of Aurora, CO | TLG 2020

    This is real... and you are unprepared.

    Presenter Presentation Notes WS Villain concept introduced. Covid came like a velvet hammer. We had been hearing about it in the news for months Devastation in a Chinese community Cruise ships being stranded The President implementing travel restrictions Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson testing positive for Covid—MADNESS!

    WS, SN How prepared were we for what was to come?

    Here I can speak as the internal audit manager We had completed two audit engagements related to our disaster preparedness Our COOP plans were out of date and lacked a sense of reality Despite the fact that 50% of staff acknowledged either a lack of awareness of the plans or a lack of awareness as to what was expected of them in an emergency, we could not generate a sufficient sense of urgency to get departments to bri