Mayor-Elect Fraley: City of Berea should begin process of strategic planning

Moments after taking the oath of office, Mayor-Elect Bruce Fraley (at right) announces an initiative to begin the strategic planning process as newly sworn council members (from left) Emily LaDouceur, John Payne, and David Rowlette look on. Fraley, along with the new city council, officially takes office Jan. 1.

The new Berea mayor and Berea City Council were administered the oath of office Thursday in preparation for officially taking office on New Year’s Day.

Madison County Circuit Court Judge Brandy Oliver Brown first administered the oath to Berea City Council members, which included incumbents Ronnie Terrill, Cora Jane Wilson, Steve Caudill, Jerry Little, David Rowlette and Jim Davis. Newcomers included Emily LaDouceur and John Payne.

Judge Brown then administered the oath of office to Fraley, after which Fraley delivered the following remarks:

“First, I want to thank Judge Brown for doing us the honor of administering the oath of office. It is very meaningful to me in particular because Judge Brown and my sister were classmates from elementary school through graduation from high school.

Also, thanks to all the family and friends of our newly elected officials who have gathered as witnesses to this ceremony. Not only is your presence appreciated, but your encouragement and support are greatly appreciated as well.

Congratulations to the new Berea City Council. The citizens have placed their trust in all of us and we have an awesome responsibility of serving them to the best of our ability. I have no doubt that we will do great things for our city during our term of office, and I look forward to working with all of you. I encourage you to always be respectful of one another, patient with one another, and value the input of your colleagues on council. I also hope that, collectively, we will have the same respect and patience for the citizens of our city, and that the citizens will have respect and patience for all of us as we work on their behalf.

Tonight, I want to announce one of my first initiatives as mayor, which is to immediately begin the strategic planning process. It is critical for the mayor, city council, and department heads to have a shared vision on what we want to accomplish on a short-term and long-term basis. We must set goals and establish priorities in order to improve services to the citizens and make Berea a better place for our generation and for future generations. We plan to have the Kentucky League of Cities facilitate our strategic planning sessions. With their guidance, I am hopeful that we can reach a consensus on the goals and priorities of our city. It will take team work and a little give and take to come up with a strategic plan that is in the best interests of our city and the citizens we serve. I also believe that beginning our work together by creating a shared vision will set the stage for teamwork, understanding and cooperation over the next two years.

We have many challenges and issues to address, including evaluating and improving our economic development efforts; maintenance and improvements in our infrastructure; improving public safety; curbing the proliferation of illegal drugs through prevention, education, enforcement and rehabilitation; strengthening relationships within our own city and with our elected representatives in Frankfort; future use of city-owned property; reducing the incidence of homelessness…just to mention a few. We can best address these issues with a plan of action. So, councilmembers, I ask you to begin thinking about the strategic planning process. Do some independent research on strategic planning; think about how we can work together to reach consensus on a common vision.

In conclusion, when the new city council and I take office on January 1st, we will begin a new era. I hope that we, as the elected representatives of the citizens, along with our business and community leaders, civic groups, and all citizens of Berea, Kentucky, will work together in a positive and constructive manner for the common good of our community. When we have differences of opinion, I am hopeful that we can work through those differences with professionalism and courtesy. As we move our city forward, I am hopeful that we will heed the wisdom of our state motto: “United We Stand, Divided We Fall.”

As your new mayor, I will be committed to working together in a positive and constructive manner, and I pledge to serve you with the highest degree of courtesy and professionalism, and I encourage all of us here today, along with business, civic, and community leaders to join me in that commitment.

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