In early 2015, the members of the Ellsworth City Council expressed interest in developing a comprehensive document that would express the City’s vision for the future. They desired that the document be based on input from the residents and community stakeholders of Ellsworth and its surrounding communities rather than from their own collective perspectives. City staff sent out RFP’s (Requests for Proposals) for consulting services to accomplish this task, believing that an unbiased, professional consultant with expertise in this process would yield a document directed “by” the people, not one that was decided upon for them. The consulting firm of Starboard Leadership Consulting was chosen from the applicants and subsequently hired to guide the process. Starboard Leadership Consulting established a Steering Committee made up of a cross section of City Staff and several City Councilors to provide assistance in the data gathering process.
The next step was to arrange for a series of focus group meetings targeted at varying demographics within the community, Starboard Leadership Consultants, Kathy Hunt and Deb Claflin mediated all the meetings. A total of 11 Focus Group Meetings were held with 118 residents and community stakeholders participating. From these meetings and the broad spectrum of input given by the participants a list of “common themes” was developed.
Next, Starboard Leadership Consulting developed a “Survey Monkey” Community Survey with 31 targeted questions designed to narrow in even further on the “common themes” that were determined from the Focus Group Meetings. The Survey Monkey Community Survey was available on-line to anyone interested in participating and was heavily promoted through the City’s Website, social media and local media. 218 Surveys were completed and again the data was compiled and summarized by Starboard Leadership Consulting. This summary was then presented to the Steering Committee.
Several more Steering Committee Meetings and Council Workshops were then held to develop a comprehensive, one page Vision and Mission Statement based on the input data and “common themes”. At a February 1st, 2016 City Council Workshop, the finishing touches to the document were made and the document was adopted at the February 8th City Council Meeting. From concept to completion the process took almost 9 months and although the “finished” product is a single page, countless hours were spent gathering information and thoughtfully wording the document.