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My Passion and Gift:  Helping Local Governments Achieve Excellence

My last posting was about “Who am I inspired to serve?” This article is my personal answer.

I have been a member of the Federal Government workforce (20 year Coast Guard career) and a consultant to them (first-ever Executive Capstone Program for the Department of Homeland Security;  FY 2024-28 Strategic Plan for the US Marshals Service) for many years.

My heart, though, is with local governments. With exceptions, their work is more often the direct delivery of services rather than policy creation and implementation. A City or County Manager is responsible for everything in that jurisdiction (Public Safety; Economic Development; Parks and Recreation; Public Works; Family Services; Courts; Permitting; and more). Interestingly, I feel that they are more easily accountable as you may run into them at the grocery store.

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Flowers = Caring = Engagement

May is the month for flowers. Washington D.C. is particularly beautiful in the late April/May timeframe.

I recently got up super early to go see the cherry blossoms (and get a parking spot) before sunrise. It was cold and windy, but was one of those special events. There’s a whole hillside of the National Arboretum that’s really spectacular during the height of the azaleas. And the area around the U. S. Capitol and Union Station is particularly pretty (both trees and flowers) during this time of year.

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EXCELLENCE  AND  GLOBAL

The University of Connecticut (UCONN) Women’s Basketball Team has been the definition of Excellence for nearly 40 years. Much of this is due to the leadership and culture built by the Head Coach Geno Auriemma  and Assistant Head Coach Chris Dailey.

EXCELLENCE: In this stretch, the team has had:

  • 6 perfect seasons
  • 11 National (NCAA) titles
  • 34 straight NCAA tournaments (since 1989)
  • 22 Final Fours
  • 14 straight Final Fours
  • 21 Big East Conference championships
  • 10 straight Conference Tournament championships
  • Separate winning streaks of 111, 90, and 70 in a row

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Cancer

I have Cancer. This month makes 8 years since we found out about it.

I’m not sure how to acknowledge that. Is it an anniversary? Something to celebrate? What emotions am I feeling? Truthfully … I’m not sure.

It’s called a Gastro Intestinal Strombal Tumor (GIST). For awhile I had difficulty remembering that so I did what I usually do and create an association. In this case it was “stromboli”.

The tumor has caused a number of other complications (serious, cosmetic, pride)  – both on its own as well as from the side effects of the medications.

We found it by accident. There were no warning signals. We have not been able to find the cause.

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Birthdays

My birthday is coming up. Normally it’s a blah “Woo Hoo”. Like anniversaries, they are a bigger deal when it’s a “0” or a “5”.

This one is neither of those. But, it is another year of successfully dealing with cancer. I’ve had a malignant tumor since early 2015. It’s wrapped around the aorta and therefore can never come out.

So birthdays DO have meaning to me.

What is that meaning? It’s a reminder of my mortality … a nudge to use every day … to live more in the present. .. and to get more life balance. Reminds me that I am (and need to continue to be) a true Saggie.

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Do You Really Appreciate Veterans?

Veterans Day on November 11th is coming up soon. How will you acknowledge it … or … show appreciation to a veteran?

Let’s start with “What is a Veteran?” Basically it is “a former member of the armed services”. There are five branches of the United States military (armed services). They are: Coast Guard, Air Force, Marines, Navy, and Army. You’ll notice that this definition does not include the men and women who are currently serving. That’s called “active duty”.

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Returning to Work

Here comes the next big dilemma. For both employers and employees.

August is the last month of summer vacation. Some schools restart before Labor Day. Others start after. There are many issues to consider – from both sides. A lot of that has been covered by other articles. I’d like to look at it from the psychological point of view:

Recently the Governor of Virginia made returning to the office mandatory. After that, more than 300 of his state government employees resigned.

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Recharging

June 2022 is over. Now we have officially had 2 ½ years of tough times. 

Even though we are starting to come out of the pandemic, there are still struggles – health and safety (several angles), uncertainty, political, not enough time. Employers have difficulty hiring, gaining commitment, and keeping qualified people as well as getting new business. Employees’ lives are complicated with more choice, telework decisions, child care, finances, etc.

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Trumpet and Flag Day

June 14th is Flag Day in the United States. 

                Do you know that? I would suspect that a lot of people don’t.

Flag Day comes just about two weeks after Memorial Day. Both have real significance for us.

Memorial Day is for honoring those military members that gave their life for our country.

Flag Day was created to observe the anniversary of the 1777 approval of the design of the first American Flag. Since then, the flag has evolved, but the colors remain and have the same meaning:

Red: Hardiness and Valor

White: Purity and Innocence

Blue: Vigilance, Perseverance, and Justice

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