Mayor Diane Delaware said the days of city departments not following through with projects are over.
Delaware said she has been frustrated over the past few weeks with department heads and other city employees ignoring her desire for “action items” to be properly documented.
During the Board of Mayor and Aldermen meeting Monday, Delaware asked for the support of the city council in her effort to implement “documentation of completed work” rules.
“Last board meeting, I said that I would put a motion on the agenda about action items,” she said. “A lot of people called me. The paper published it. I never ceased to be amazed by this.”
Delaware said she continues to receive criticism from some on her desire to create a new accountability system.
“We get these action items, and they disappear into the ethos,” Delaware said. “You can look back for years, as a matter of public record, and you can find something that the board voted on and then nothing happened.”
Delaware said she is baffled at the number of projects and actions that have went under the radar for several years, having never been completed.
“Actions come with who, what...and here’s the scary one in Yazoo City...when, when, when,” Delaware said. “When you say ‘when,’ everybody backs off. ‘When’ is accountability. If you don’t say ‘when’, nobody has to talk about it.”
Without timelines and deadlines, Delaware said projects will never be completed. It is as if the items get put on the back burner and never revisited.
“If you hand out an action item, and it doesn’t have a ‘when,’ it has no meaning,” she said. “It’s a dream.”
Delaware said some city employees have ignored her when it comes to “action items.”
“I hear a lot of ‘you can’t tell people what to do,’” she said. “‘You can’t ask people for anything specific. You have to sit back and wait.’”
Delaware said without proper procedures, there is no point in a municipal government.
“What is the point of having government,” she asked. “What is the point of us being around this table? What is the point of citizens paying taxes if there is no process, method, procedure or policy. It is all in the heads of people.”
Delaware asked for it to show on record within the city minutes, the concept of “documented completed staff work.”
“It is a principle of management that states subordinates are responsible for submitting written recommendations to superiors in such a matter that the superior need do nothing further in the process than review the submitted document and indicate approval or disapproval,” she read.
Delaware said she expects city employees to accept the new model. “
I have been chastised, impugned and all sorts of things about having an expectation that department heads would provide to this board and to me something on a piece of paper other than in their heads,” she continued.
Holding up a piece of paper, Delaware said the concept is so simple, but many are making it difficult.
“I am hoping that this board will support me in moving toward using this little thing that we want our first graders to twelfth graders to use...this piece of paper,” she said. “Write out what you are going to do.”
During this week’s city council meeting, all department heads submitted written reports with data to the board.