Mayor Strickland's Weekly Update -- Recapping the First 100 Days

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Since being inaugurated as your mayor on New Year’s Day, we’ve encountered what seems like challenge after challenge. Yet I’m even more optimistic about the future of Memphis today than I was then.

Why? Because we’re tackling each and every one of those challenges head on, rolling up our sleeves and seeking solutions.

That’s what you sent us to City Hall to do, after all.

We’ve delivered 100 Days of Action on the issues that matter most in Memphis. On Wednesday, I shared with you details of what we’re doing to fight crime. It remains our No. 1 priority, and it’s why I separated all of those crime-fighting actions from today’s email -- it’s that big of a deal.

So today, on the eve of our 100-day mark Saturday, I want to report what else we’ve been up to:

We successfully shared the harmful impacts of a de-annexation bill. Our administration took the lead in sharing the potential drastic impacts of this bill before the state legislature, and we’re fortunate that the members listened. A Senate committee sent it to summer study a few weeks ago, and we remain committed to communicating with legislators to share information about the bill.

We’re also working with a city-county committee that will study potential de-annexation. If any proposals come from that committee, they’ll be studied thoroughly and set up with a cooperative, responsible process.

We’re amping up our fight against blight. We’ve strongly endorsed the Memphis Blight Elimination Charter, made top-notch hires such as Patrick Dandridge as code enforcement director, and successfully pushed for legislation in Nashville to strengthen the Neighborhood Preservation Act. That law now applies to occupied properties, meaning neighborhoods have more tools at their disposal when it comes to preserving their values, safety and aesthetics.

We’re being more transparent. When we found out about some high-dollar surprises that will impact our budgets for years to come, we quickly went to the City Council and shared that information in plain English. And with our constant presences on Twitter and Facebook, combined with our weekly emails that go to some 20,000 people, we’re communicating more with the public than ever before in local government. The same goes internally, too. We conducted a compensation and employee engagement study and shared those results broadly. We're actively looking at how we can improve the employee experience, with a particular focus on our public safety employees.

Minority and women-owned business development is getting more attention. Make no mistake, this is a major priority for my administration. So I appointed Joann Massey to be in charge of all of our efforts on this front, adding new energy and goals to our efforts -- while also delivering a streamlined approach to the taxpayer.

Public transportation is improving. MATA has had a Short Range Transit Plan, which would streamline bus routes and make the system easier to use and understand, on the table for a few years. I authorized MATA to put it into place, and you’ll see real changes by the end of the year.

911 is getting help. It’s shameful that our 911 system took too long to answer your most urgent calls. So very early in my tenure, I authorized the hiring of 30 new part-time call-takers, who should come online this summer and dramatically reduce answer times.

We’re providing a path to solutions at Overton Park. When the situation over Memphis Zoo parking escalated in early January, I immediately set forth mediation with all parties at the table. The parameters of the game have changed at times, but one constant remains the same: the mediation I proposed three months ago. All parties remain at the table seeking a long-term solution to parking and use issues in our great center-city park.

We’re making our community better. We recently unveiled our Adopt-A-Park campaign, which will enable civic groups and organizations to help us keep our parks beautiful. We’ve encouraged using and promoting the Memphis Walkability Toolkit as a launching pad to ensure our city is safer and more accessible to pedestrians. And employees in our Solid Waste division will soon roll out new recycling carts as the initial step in a campaign designed to increase and improve our recycling output.



The work continues, of course. Come April 19, you’ll plainly see more of our actions and priorities when we propose our first city budget. Look for a special email that day, too, that highlights how we’re prioritizing your precious tax dollars -- and working to ensure a stable financial future for the city we all love.

In the meantime, we’ll continue to strive every day to be brilliant at the basics -- running an efficient and responsible city government so that we can amplify all the good things already going on throughout our great city. And in the coming weeks and months, you’ll hear more from me about how you can get directly involved.

Even in spite of all the challenges we’ve faced, we’re absolutely working every single day to improve the quality of life for every Memphian.


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