Transition team outlines ambitious goals for mayor Eight issues pinpointed

costs aren't addressed

January 08, 1998|By Dan Thanh Dang | Dan Thanh Dang,SUN STAFF

Good government and a better life for city residents.

That's what Mayor Dean L. Johnson ought to accomplish In six months, according to his transition team, which pinpointed eight issues for him to focus on.

What the team didn't figure out was where the money and manpower to fund its recommendations should come from.

In a 46-page report, the 60-member team of Johnson supporters and advisers suggests creating six citizen committees and hiring five people, some of whom would open a community development office and expand the economic development office.

John H. Cushman, the transition team chairman, said at a news conference at City Hall yesterday that the plans are ambitious and might be costly but can be fulfilled.

"We considered the cost implications, but we did not find solutions," Cushman said. "It is up to the mayor and the city administrator and council to do that. We want all these objectives to be vigorously pursued."

Johnson has yet to approve the plan or decide which items will be tackled first, but he said, "A mission statement has been issued. I look at the report as a starting point. It is now up to the administration to see that this gets started."

The report was well received by many department heads and residents, but some sections of it raised eyebrows, especially a controversial recommendation for a citizens advisory committee on public safety.

The report, which suggests that the committee be given authority to "monitor the internal and community-related activities" of the police and fire departments, is similar to a proposal the city council rejected almost two years ago, with Johnson, a Ward 2 alderman at the time, voting against it.

The idea grew out of an incident in Robinwood in 1995, when an officer shot two young men, killing one. At the time, police officials were wary of giving citizens authority to look into criminal investigations. Chief Joseph S. Johnson repeated his concerns yesterday.

"I think the mayor's going to have to take a good look at that, because the idea needs to be evaluated," said Johnson. "I haven't read the proposal yet, but I'm confident that Mayor Johnson is probably well aware of how investigations are conducted in this city."

The transition team proposed to:

Encourage more Annapolis citizens to participate in government.

Strengthen and enhance city neighborhoods.

Greatly improve public housing.

Improve education in city schools.

Improve municipal service to residents and businesses.

Ensure public safety.

Promote economic development.

Establish the Capital City Regional Planning Commission to monitor land use and improve public transportation.

"This is supposed to be what the mayor hopes to accomplish in six months, so I think we need more realistic recommendations," said Alderman Louise Hammond, a Ward 1 Democrat.

Success could depend on money that is not in the city budget.

For example, improving neighborhoods involves establishing and staffing an office of community development. The team suggested hiring more police and firefighters and equipping them better.

And the team recommended increasing the budget and hiring at least three people to help the lone economic director attract new businesses.

Copies of the report can be found in City Hall, local libraries, coffee shops and coin-operated laundries.

Pub Date: 1/08/98

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