Mayor Drew delivered her State of the City Address this afternoon at the Chamber of Commerce meeting. I took some notes for you…
- Stow took a survey of residents in late 2015 to inquire about the quality of the city’s customer service. The mayor said that 93.8% of respondents gave the city an “excellent” or “good” mark. This is impressive–but I’ll tell you it hasn’t always been that way. This mayor has done a great job motivating and leading the staff to treat the residents like the valued customers that they are.
- Mayor Drew explained plans to combine dispatch centers with Cuyahoga Falls. Together, the two cities would also perform dispatch services for several other Summit County communities as part of what is called a Regional Dispatch Center. This sort of transition needs to be handled with the utmost care, because even a minor hiccup in transition could be the difference between life and death. But I’m happy that we are tackling the issue. It could lead to a nice cost savings, particularly when you consider how incredibly expensive (i.e., $1MM expected in 2016) the communications equipment can be.
- Mayor Drew also provided some detail about the city’s plan to lease part of City Hall to the Stow-Munroe Falls School District. Given that City Hall has about 20% fewer employees since I came on council–and that the district’s current Allen Road facility is in bad shape–this is another common-sense collaboration. It will lead to a more efficient use of both governments’ resources. Provided that the lease contains market terms, I plan to support this.
In lieu of my normal blog post, I want to say a few words about Lou Dirker.
As many of you know, Lou served as Stow’s police chief until his retirement a couple years ago. I worked alongside him for the first 4 years that I was on council. He passed away last week from cancer.
Lou ran our police department with a passion for protecting the residents. His integrity was unmatched from any person I have ever worked with, in any job. Lou served in the Marines, loved his country and trusted his Creator. It is telling that it took nearly two hours to make it through the line at his calling hours last night. If you knew Lou, you respected him. It was just that simple.
One quick anecdote: Lou and I had a big dispute over the proposed tax increase in 2013. He supported it, to fund additional police officer hiring. I thought the additional revenue would be diverted to other areas. We both fought vigorously for our positions. One evening, a club in town asked us both to provide our positions on the tax. It turned into a public shouting match between us.
But, even in this heated battle, I never thought to question his motives, because he had such great integrity. I trusted him to keep it clean–and never say anything behind my back that he wouldn’t say to my face. Even when in political combat, deep-down, I knew Lou had my back, and he knew I had his. After the dust settled from our shouting match, we shook hands and went home. It didn’t negatively affect our relationship at all.
I will miss Lou.