Council sends city mission statement back to committee

By Terry LehrkeNews Editor

A few months ago, when Little Falls City Council Member Loren Boyum suggested the city have a mission statement, he became part of a three-person committee to do so.

The committee made up of Boyum, Council Member Frank Gosiak and Council Member at Large Brian-Paul Crowder, presented a second draft of the statement Monday.

It read:

“The mission of the city of Little Falls is to provide a safe, attractive environment through the responsive, efficient and cost-effective delivery of municipal services while celebrating and preserving our proud history.”

This statement, according to the committee, was based on the following core beliefs:

• Excellence and quality in the delivery of municipal services;

• Fiscal responsibility with ethics and integrity;

• Respectful treatment of each individual;

• Dedication and commitment toward making our city an ideal community; and

• Visionary leadership and planning for the future.

Before presenting this second draft to the Council Monday, Mayor Cathy VanRisseghem made a few changes to the statement.

She replaced the word “attractive” with “healthy,” replaced “municipal” with “city” and instead of “celebrating and preserving our proud history,” she preferred “observing and respecting our rich history and planning for the future.”

Boyum said of the few word changes made, one of the words he felt for himself personally was difficult was “healthy.”

“We as a city do not operate a clinic or hospital and it is difficult for us as a Council to ensure a healthy community in that sense,” he said. “But it’s there for the Council to consider.”

For her part, VanRisseghem said healthy meant more than physical health and adding planning for the future was an important addition, she said.

Her reasons for changing “celebrating” she said was because “celebrating” portrayed a “party.”

Council Member Greg Zylka disagreed and said “celebrating” didn’t necessarily mean a party-down mode, as many activities are considered celebrations, such as the recent Dam Festival, the sesquicentennial and a celebration of a 50th anniversary doesn’t necessarily mean it’s “party-down” time, he said.

Zylka did like “healthy” and pointed to the efforts of the Healthy Communities Collaborative as an example of healthy meaning more than just physical health.

The Council decided to send the statement back to the committee for more work.

“This is an indication this is in the planning process,” said Boyum. He related an example of working on a mission statement for the Little Falls School District years ago.

He said a group of 25 people worked on it. Those 25 people started working at 8 a.m. and at 6 p.m. they quit. But they appointed a crew to continue the work until 1 a.m. the next morning to put something together for the whole committee to look at the next day, he said.

“So for us to come and bring this to you and say, ‘OK give it to us in a couple of minutes,’ is asking too much,” said Boyum.

A mission statement should give the name of the organization, say what it is going to do, how it will be done in a simple sentence, he said.

“It’s easy to say, but by the time you start nit-picking individual words, it gets pretty involved and there’s a lot of thought process that has to occur,” he said.