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State of the City Address 2012

State of the City Address 2012

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Lorain, OH, Mayor Chase Ritenauer's first State of the City speech, delivered Feb. 23, 2012, at DeLuca's Place in the Park.
Lorain, OH, Mayor Chase Ritenauer's first State of the City speech, delivered Feb. 23, 2012, at DeLuca's Place in the Park.

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Published by: The Morning Journal Lorain OH on Feb 23, 2012
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10/12/2013

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State of the City AddressFebruary 23, 2012As Prepared for DeliveryINTRODUCTION:To begin, I would like to thank the Lorain Chamber of Commerce and the LorainRotary for once again hosting this event. Like at the federal and the state levels, thisaddress serves as an annual update to our citizens of what is happening in government. Iwould like to also thank CenturyLink for their generous sponsorship at this event.Century Link is an outstanding corporate citizen and a valued business in Lorain, and Ilook forward to our work together in the future.Before I begin my remarks, I want to take a moment to introduce my staff. Thefirst month and a half have been intense and hectic, but this group of people is a finegroup who are already doing a tremendous job under some very difficult circumstances.First, Safety/Service Director Robert Fowler. I took a little bit of heat for bringing insomeone from the outside to serve in the top slot, but Robert¶s vast knowledge in publicadministration and willingness to challenge the status quo are already starting to bear fruit. I expect great things from him moving forward. Deputy Safety/Service Director of Human Resources and Risk Management Geoff Smith. Geoff is working on a myriad of issues relating to personnel, risk and other legal matters. Geoff has a big job ahead of himas we seek to form a true, comprehensive human resources function in the city that for too long has been fragmented and unmanaged. Derek Feuerstein Chief of Staff. Derek¶s been working with Members of Council, Department Heads and the public to address
 
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their concerns and inquiries as well as working on several projects. Derek¶s backgroundand innovative approach will yield great things in moving Lorain government into the21
st
century. Louise Kilbane, my Executive Assistant. Louise worked for me in NorthOlmsted and is the lifeblood of my office. Simply put, she gets things done and goesabove and beyond to perform her job, and in turn, she makes me a better mayor. AndSheryl Corbin on the Safety/Service side. Sheryl came from the City Health Department,and I can certainly say my gain is their loss. Her attitude, approach to service andabilities fit precisely in line with the type of customer service our residents deserve. I amhappy to have Sheryl on board as she adds a critical piece to our staff. Ed Zaborniak our Health Benefits Officer. Ed¶s knowledge of health benefits and insurance are is vast, andhe has been a critical piece to our HR functions. I look forward to his work in the futureon hospitalization and benefit issues. In addition, our department heads, city employees,elected city officers and city council are so critical to our mission. Whether it is citymanagement, the water distribution employee, the firefighter, the wastewater treatment plant operator, the janitor or the police officer, we are all in this together, and thesegroups of people are critical to our future success.BEGINNING OFFICE Nearly two months ago, I took office as the 50
th
Mayor of Lorain. Many havesince inquired as to what the experience has been like. I have heard questions like³Chase, is it everything you thought it would be? Chase, are you having fun? Chase,how big of a mess is it? Chase, what were you thinking?´ Before I answer, I have to saythat I learned very early on in everything I have done or encountered that life is about
 
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expectations. I expected many of the usual things that are present in a transition. Iexpected a monumental challenge. I expected many fires that would need tending to.And I must say, my expectations have been met. Whether it be deals that weresupposedly done but are not, which I am sure in time you will be hearing about, projectsthat have languished that need resuscitation or a financial picture and outlook that is notonly more challenging than depicted, but in some ways completely misrepresented, wehave had some of everything. We have focused on breaking the culture of secrecy andcombativeness that permeated from upper management, which ultimately hurt our department heads, mid-level managers and employees. We have worked to embolden our department heads as decision makers as they are in the trenches each and every day.Regular department head meetings, which had not occurred in years, have helped tocommunicate and to direct so that our managers can better serve residents. Even withwith these many unnecessary fires that could have been better handled prior to January1
st
, I am honored and humbled to be your mayor and to be the chief executive leading ontackling these problems and making Lorain a better place.I anticipated the first quarter of the year to be dedicated to addressing anyremaining issues while working on crafting the city¶s budget. This, in conjunction withan organizational audit, was the plan to comprise the first half year. We are largely on plan. If you have read the Morning Journal or Chronicle Telegram lately, you will seethat we have been busy with a variety of challenges and issues left to us. Fair or unfair,foreseen or unforeseen, this is life, and they are now our challenges, and some are major.But know that we will work each and every day to address these challenges to the bestresult for Lorain¶s citizens. One such issue is the city¶s budget.

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