End-of-year Message from the TRRG Chair
Dear TRRG Members,
The end of each year provides the incentive to reflect, thank and look forward. In this final 2016 communication, I want to share with you where I, as TRRG chair, see our unique organization. This message is lengthy, but since we do not hold meetings, think of the time you spend reading it as a preferred alternative to driving to regular meetings! Thanks to Don Ijams for sending these out on a regular basis all year long.
TRRG Organization structure:
Now into our third year of existence, we are working on a major revision of our by-laws. Thanks to Oscar Grady and Lisa Jones. We have had enough experience to identify what is needed if we are to have long-term sustainability.
Membership—TRRG now has over 100 members. We initiated our annual dues policy in June. 60 of you responded. If you have not yet done so, please click here for the membership renewal form to submit with your $10. Thanks to Barbara Lehmann for keeping track of our records.
Committees—It is clear to me that TRRG’s mission, “seeking positive change in City of Tucson government,” must be done though our committee structure. How to identify topics, provide Board oversight, and engage our elected officials and City of Tucson (COT) administration most effectively are key to long-term success.
TRRG’s City of Tucson Involvements:
TRRG has been a catalyst for change in various COT areas and continues to take an active role. Thanks to Mayor, Council Members and their aides, City Manager and City staff for taking our concerns seriously.
Code Enforcement—After 2 years, TRRG is seeing results. Thanks to Don Ijams, Kris Yarter and all the TRRG-CE Committee Members. Michael Ortega, City Manager, has moved the Division of Code Enforcement to the newly consolidated General and Environmental Services; 5 new inspectors are being sought; Mayor and Council (M/C) have approved 2 new means for streetscape clean-up; and last month, Ward 6 and TRRG co-hosted staff from Mesa’s Code Compliance Division to come to share its promising practices, many of which our City Manager is supporting. TRRG-CE will continue to focus on CE improvements.
Public Participation in Mayor/Council Meetings—Thanks to JD Garcia and all the Task Force Members. M/C meetings now accommodate all those who wish to attend and provide opportunities for them to turn in cards to speak. Other recommendations on giving citizens a stronger voice are pending. TRRG’s further engagement in the implementation of Arizona’s Open Meeting Law will continue with a special event early in 2017.
Boards, Committees and Commissions (BCC)—Thanks to Colette Altaffer. The engagement of the City Manager’s BCC Work Group to review and restructuring BCC’s is progressing. M/C definitely have the topic on their radar screen and members of specific BCC’s are being active to prove the viability of their groups. Recommendations on the Administration of City of Tucson Boards, Committees and Commissions, approved by M/C in June , are being carried out as quickly as possible. These include: recommendations for the BCC website, revised application forms, means for publicizing vacancies, revision of the Member Handbook, training of BCC members, recommendations for meeting sites, acknowledgement of volunteers’ contributions and improved annual reporting.
Planning and Development Services Department (PDSD)—Thanks to Bill Ford, TRRG Monitor; and HUGE thanks to CM Michael Ortega and the former staff of Office of Integrated Planning whom he integrated into the management of PDSD at the beginning of this year. As I reflect back to the Summer 2013, I believe that it was primarily citizen dissatisfaction with PDSD at that time which motivated residents to come together seeking a more responsive City government. When Michael Ortega met with TRRG before he was officially on the job, in June 2015, he heard our concerns about that department. Along with Bill, I have been following the transformation. Under the leadership of Nicole Gavin, who unfortunately is retiring this month, the department has transformed into one which is a model of public process and accessibility. TRRG will continue to monitor the hiring of a PDSD director and participate in the opportunities now afforded to citizens to have a voice.
And, finally, thanks to all of you. Without your support and involvement, TRRG would not be an active stakeholder in City of Tucson government. I appreciate whatever role you take to enable TRRG to continue to speak for you and all other residents who benefit from our efforts. Be sure to add your thanks to mine when you see members of the TRRG Board of Directors: Bill Ford, Oscar Gandy, JD Garcia, Don Ijams, Lisa Jones, Barbara Lehmann, Tina Pacheco, Bonnie Poulos and Kris Yarter.
May you have a Happy Thanksgiving, a Happy Holiday, and Happy New Year, and then have renewed energy to work with TRRG at a level of government where you can make a difference.
Ruth Beeker, Chair of the TRRG Board of Directors