Champaign County Board Strategic Planning Committee met April 25
Champaign County Board Strategic Planning Committee met April 25.
Here is the minutes as provided by the committee:
Members Present: Jim Goss, Robert A. King, Pattsi Petrie, Jon Rector, C. Pius Weibel (Chair)
Members Absent: None
Others Present: Kay Rhodes (Administrative Assistant), Tami Ogden (Deputy County
Administrator/Finance), Rick Snider (County Administrator)
Call to Order
Weibel called the meeting to order at 4:33 p.m.
Goss, King, Petrie, Rector, and Weibel were present at the time of roll call, establishing the
presence of a quorum.
Approval of Agenda/Addendum
Motion by Rector to approve the agenda; seconded by Goss. Motion carried with
Approval of Minutes
Motion by Petrie to approve the Strategic Planning Committee minutes of May 19, 2015;
seconded by King. Motion carried with unanimous support.
There was no public participation.
Discussion of Current and Future Strategic Plan
Petrie wanted to scrap the current plan and start over because the County’s structure will be very
different after the November 2018 election. King was not comfortable scrapping the entire plan and asked
about the timeframe. Weibel said theoretically, they had until the end of the term, which is November
30, 2018. Ogden reminded the committee that in order to include updated goals in the FY2018 Budget,
she would need guidance no later than the end of June 2017.
Snider provided ICMA information on the process of strategic planning to provide members with
some background on how best to proceed to achieve the desired outcomes. ICMA defines a strategic plan
as “a systemic process by which a community anticipates and plans for its future.”
Snider listed known challenges to creating an effective strategic plan: community engagement;
financial reality; statutory reality; and how to evaluate progress and/or measure performance. Snider said
many entities utilize a facilitator to organize their ideas. However, funding may not be available.
Snider explained that the County was approached by the College of Media at the University of
Illinois for a class project. He felt it would be useful to work on a communication strategy for the County
and a branding system to better identify County activities. He explained that currently each County
department has its own look and feel, with nothing that unifies them under the same County Government.
The College of Media class project organized students into groups or mock advertising agencies
and each group examined ways the County could improve public understanding of its functions and
Snider reviewed some of the student comments after initial review of the County website:
Each department is very independent and everyone thinks very highly of themselves - some
departments would rather have a unique look to differentiate themselves from the county as a
One word to describe Champaign County Government: Umbrella.
Key Insights from students:
Champaign County residents are only aware of how the county helps them directly when it is
relevant to their lives
Although residents are often apathetic about their local government, they like to know who to go
to when their lives are directly impacted by it
Champaign County residents identify with their city not their county
Champaign County residents are aware of some services that Champaign County provides, but
the active presence of Champaign County in their lives is "invisible" due to the lack of frequent
and informative communication from the county.
Branding is average-to-below-average.
Economics, agriculture, and academics are above average.
Residents confuse them with other Champaign government offices.
Holds a crucial communication role but citizen engagement is not strong.
One future goal is that they should commit to is the adoption of technology. They are way behind
as far as taking advantage of modern technology to improve services and efficiencies.
Snider pointed to the comments and explained that it is difficult for the public to support the
County with such things as tax increases when they do not really have an understanding of what it is the
County does and how it affects them.
King said other avenues of communication with the public should be explored, such as holding
community education programs. Petrie suggested the placement of charrettes (posting boards) at farmer’s
markets, libraries, and churches to collect information in a short amount of time. The public could leave
comments and those comments collected periodically.
Goss said he had worked on a strategic plan before and it took them 6-months with the assistance
of a facilitator to complete it. Snider discussed the current strategic plan goals and noted the progress of
each for the members.
Goal 1 - Champaign County is committed to being a High Performing, Open, and Transparent
Local Government Organization
County Board Initiatives:
Develop strategies for declining state support - Initiated
Replace the County's financial software system - Initiated
Move commodity information technology systems to cloud services to allow IT staff to focus on
County systems, buying services when appropriate - Initiated
Develop a list of core, mandated services provided by the County – Needs to be Addressed
Develop strategies for retention and continuity in county leadership roles and specifically the
County Administrator – Initiative needs to be edited due to upcoming changes with County
Goal 2 - Champaign County Maintains High Quality Public Facilities and Highways and
Provides a Safe Rural Transportation System and Infrastructure
County Board Initiatives:
Complete an assessment of County facilities - Completed
Develop a long range facilities master plan - Completed
Address the immediate needs of County facilities and particularly ADA requirements –
Sometimes – No Formal Process
Explore alternative sources of revenue for facilities maintenance and new facilities - Initiated
Goal 3 - Champaign County Promotes a Safe, Just, and Healthy Community
County Board Initiatives:
Address the sustainability and viability of the Champaign County Nursing Home with a long
term strategy - Initiated
Work with local partners in the establishment of an adult assessment center - Initiated
Establish a system of review for County ordinances, resolutions, and plans, such as disaster
plans – Needs to be Addressed
Establish a review of County departments, boards, and commissions to ensure they meet and
respond to current needs – Needs to be Addressed
Goal 4 - Champaign County is a County that Supports Balanced, Planned Growth to Balance
Economic Growth with Preservation of Our Natural Resources
County Board Initiatives:
Ensure that all new programs have a model that sustains them past startup – Needs to be
Seek more intergovernmental cooperation in planning in land use and fringe areas – Sometimes
– No Formal Process
Develop energy reduction plans for both conservation and cost savings – Sometimes - No
King was not clear how to measure the progress of some of the goals and initiatives. In other
organizations he had worked with there were mechanisms in place for measurement of progress towards
the goals. He stated that Goal 3 should definitely be a part of any strategic plan but the initiatives do not
lend themselves to progressive measurements.
Rector agreed and said that the initiatives need to be more specific, for instance close the
downtown jail. Goss added that there should be key performance indicators (KPI) to measure success,
which require interaction from all the stakeholders.
Snider agreed and stated once the KPI are in place, they can be tied into the budget. The KPI in
the current budget are not robust and they need to show actual outcomes instead of statistical outputs of
Weibel stated the departmental goals should be tied into the plan. Ogden said that the department
budgets currently list the County Board’s goals and not their own. King and Goss agreed that input should
be solicited from the department heads.
Goss suggested department heads should list three items that would assist their departments to
perform their jobs better. Snider stated that it would require full participation from department heads.
Ogden added that in the past, department heads were given the opportunity to provide optimal operations
requests during the budget process and most all of them required funding. Goss pointed out that a
department’s needs may not all be related to funding.
Ogden suggested that department heads could also be asked to identify three efficiencies or
reorganizational ideas that would help to offset any new funding requests or changes. Weibel surmised
that if a department had not implemented a change or need there must be a deterrent.
Weibel felt that the committee should put together a strategic plan that would act as a bridge up
to the point of the election of the County Executive because this person may have an entirely different
plan. King asked if there was a budget to hire a facilitator. Petrie noted that the County utilized a
facilitator in 2015 and perhaps the results should be reviewed before moving forward. Rhodes would
locate the information from the 2015 study session.
Discussion followed regarding the use of a facilitator and the cost. The committee agreed to keep
the current goals at this point and directed the County Administrator to solicit department head input on
the following questions:
1. What three changes would you make at the department or county level to improve your
2. What are the barriers or obstacles you foresee to making those changes?
Next Meeting Date
A discussion of the next meeting date and time determined that the committee needed to move
quickly and would meet every two weeks at 4:00 p.m. Rhodes would contact members to determine the
There was no other business.
Weibel adjourned the meeting at 5:36 p.m.