NAUGATUCK — A strategic planning process to reshape how Naugatuck government operates is underway.
Jeffrey Ziplow, a partner at the West Hartford-based accounting firm Blum, Shapiro & Co., laid out the process for a strategic plan to the Board of Mayor and Burgesses, Board of Finance and Board of Education last Tuesday night. The firm was hired in November to conduct the strategic planning process for $62,000.
Ziplow explained the strategic plan will analyze every aspect of the borough’s government and make recommendations for the way that the borough can improve itself and streamline its government processes.
The consultants will look at the possibility of sharing services between the borough and school system, which already share a human resources director, financial manager and legal representation. The firm will also make recommendations with an eye toward cost reductions and financial sustainability.
Part of the plan will look into the services that the borough is providing to its residents.
“[We will look at] how well you’re providing those services. Are there ways we can deliver those services in a better, more efficient, more cost effective way,” Ziplow said.
Ziplow said that the goal is to create a three- to five-year plan that the borough can follow.
Once the plan is in place, it should be self governing, Ziplow explained. The Board of Mayor and Burgesses will be able to look at how the town is doing versus how the plan says the town should be doing, and ensure that everything is going correctly.
First, however, the borough needs to find out its strengths and weaknesses, Ziplow said.
“Part of developing a strategic plan is to understand who you are and where we want to be within the next three to five years,” Ziplow said.
This includes meeting with numerous people who live and work in the borough as to the direction they want to see their town headed in.
“We’re going to be doing that by meeting with folks from the [triboards]. We’re going to be doing that by meeting with residents. … We’re going to be doing that by meeting with selected departments within the borough and the school district,” Ziplow said.
Ziplow said that BlumShapiro would hold forums for residents to attend and issue surveys for residents to take.
Ziplow said the important part of the plan will be putting the recommendations into action.
“I think whatever plan we put into affect will have key action items and action steps to help make the plan a reality. Putting a lot of words on a page, to me, doesn’t do a heck of a lot. What I think is really important is what the action plans are,” Ziplow said.
Ziplow said he’s not just there to make recommendations, but to help ensure those recommendations are completed.
“I’m an action guy,” Ziplow said. “If we put together a strategic plan and that document collects a lot of dust and gets put on a shelf, I’ve failed and failed miserably.”