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Village Vision News

From the Desk of the Village Administrator…

Thursday, March 17, 2011

As space permits, I will add a note to this newsletter to explain matters of importance to the Village. First, my thanks to those of you who have made my first 10 months as your Village administrator comfortable; your support is tremendously appreciated. Second, I continue to encourage you to contact me with constructive input on all matters pertinent to living and working in our Village.

As a long-time Village resident and more recently its administrator, I am dedicated to preserving what makes Forsyth special and equally committed to improving those areas where its interests are not being served. My foremost goal is to increase openness and transparency in our Village government. I dedicated the last several years of my career before coming to the Village to advancing these values at state and local government levels. I hold these values dear, along with the concept of a citizen’s right to be heard.

As a result, I have come to realize it may be time to change the long-standing Forsyth tradition of volunteer advisory committees to the Village Board. Although initially I was a believer in the concept of community involvement through committee participation, in the past several months I have determined that transparency, openness and public participation may actually be enhanced by eliminating some of the Village’s seven advisory committees.

Please know that I do appreciate the countless hours of volunteer service that many of you have put in; good things have certainly been accomplished. However, it has become increasingly difficult, in our busy world, to find members who are willing or able to serve in this capacity. This has limited the effectiveness of our committees. Often, it is difficult to attain meeting quorums. In a few, fortunately rare, instances, I have seen your elected officials struggle with committee members who are advocating personal agendas not applicable to most or all Forsyth residents. In other, again fortunately rare, instances, I have sensed committees being used to advance the personal interests of our leaders themselves.

I am keenly aware that I was not elected by you, the voters, and it is not my intent to diminish your right to communicate and participate with your elected leaders in governance of this Village. Each issue of this publication contains the names, telephone numbers and home addresses of your elected representatives, the people whom you have chosen.

It is my firm belief that these are the people who should be entrusted with studying, listening and ultimately making the policy decisions for this community. You, the taxpayers, compensate me, along with other staff professionals, to assist your elected leaders in making those decisions. It is my hope that by reducing the number and frequency of standing committee meetings, more of you will be encouraged to independently contact your leaders, to attend their meetings and to give Village staff your direct input – all free from the constraints of operating within the guidelines of any particular committee.

Forsyth belongs to all of us, not just an elected, or selected, few. We all have an equal voice. Let your voice be heard.

Sincerely,
Heather V. Kimmons

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