Victoria: open for business

Year ahead to focus on customer service, prepare for retirements

Navigating City Hall should not be a barrier to doing business, but it can be.

These are the words of city manager Gail Stephens in her 2011 Corporate Strategic Plan, guiding the year to come. The city needs to engage citizens using new technology, and be more accommodating to business.

“We know that a strong economic base in Victoria helps allow us to do all our social programs,” said Stephens. “The city must be wide open for business. Customer service must be exceptional.”

Backing up this commitment is $2.5 million in this year’s capital budget. The strategic investment aims to attract development to Victoria, thereby increasing tax base in the municipality.

Another tool in the arsenal is a new promotional video.

Last week, all city staff got their first peek at the $1,500 video, in which various employees talk about what they find satisfying about their job.

Employees should feel they are part of something bigger, said a tearful Stephens after the video’s preview screening to city council.

“It should be part of orientation with new employees to teach the values that we bring as an organization.”

More than simply inspiring, however, the video will be used to attract new employees at a time when many at the city are soon to retire.

To be open and accountable is one of the city’s service principles, articulated in the Corporate Strategic Plan.

Starting in March, the city will start publishing quarterly reports, outlining progress on various projects underway, said Stephens in her presentation Thursday.

rholmen@vicnews.com