Sunday September 2, 2012

New England Newspapers

ADAMS -- Town officials have taken a page out of Adams-Cheshire Reg ion al School District’s (ACRSD) playbook and will attempt in the coming months to draft a strategic plan setting out town goals and priorities for the next several years.

The idea was first floated by the Select Board’s newest member, John Duval, who was elected in April.

As a candidate running for a seat on the board, Duval highlighted the value of creating a strategic plan document as a key factor in his vision of the town’s future.

"There’s a lot of intelligent people out there [in town] with a lot of energy and ideas, that maybe don’t want to run for office themselves," Duval said. "We want to start taking advantage of our resources and pulling some of these voices into the fold."

Duval’s first experience with the method came during his time on the ACRSD school board prior to becoming a selectman. According to Duval, the district advantageously adopted a strategic plan in 2000, a document that was then used to unify district staff and boost efficiency, ultimately helping to begin the planning of projects like the $40 million renovation of Hoosac Valley High School.

The process he’s described for the town works much the same. A large group of town employees and residents gather to establish basic goals and priorities for the town, whereupon the group is split up into subcommittees charged with managing and progressing on specific measures.


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Duval hopes for community involvement, acknowledging that "a lot goes in" to creating such a plan. He suggested November as a potential month to begin the process.

Selectmen Chair Arthur "Skip" Harrington said Tuesday that drafting the strategic plan would be "a new experience" for the board.

"It requires much more than an evening workshop," Harrington said. "[Participants will take on] several days of rather intense scrutiny. ... From what I know, [Duval’s] taking the right approach. I’m up for it."

Town Administrator Jon athan Butler said last week a grant for consultant time from the Berkshire Regional Plann ing Commission or another local group could potentially assist in "putting together a final report."

"Nothing bothers me more than when someone says: ‘The town doesn’t have a plan,’ " Butler said. "I contest that. The town does have a plan. ... It would be a good development to have a document that reflects it."