It's over a month later now. What are the goals and near-term action items the council came up with? Follow me after the jump as I play detective to find out.
Fancying myself a regular Baker Street Irregular, I hypothesized that the near-term action items would be listed on the page titled NEAR-TERM ACTION ITEMS. D'oh. But the action items listed there look suspiciously stale. There's no date given on the page. Or on the action items themselves. (It's kind of a basic rule of good organizations that action items should specify who, what, and when. I'll let the Sherlocks among my readers deduce what they will from that.) Sleuthing some more, I noticed that if you look at the page's HTML source code, there's this hidden clue: "Last updated: 2/21/2012 4:30:55 PM." So, that theory was a dead end.
I next set off to dig into the agendas and minutes of city council meetings. Surely, the new near-term action items would be listed in the minutes of some meeting or other, right? Here's what I dug up.
- August 14: REVIEW AND DISCUSS COUNCIL GOALS FOR THE 2013-2015 COUNCIL TERM
- August 17: REVIEW AND DISCUSS COUNCIL GOALS FOR THE 2013-2015 COUNCIL TERM
- August 24: REVIEW AND DISCUSS COUNCIL GOALS FOR THE 2013-2015 COUNCIL TERM
- September 3: REVIEW AND DISCUSS COUNCIL GOALS FOR THE 2013-2015 COUNCIL TERM
I found the right meetings. Now, I just needed to dig up the minutes for those meetings and I'd find the long sought action items, right? Here's what I found.
- August 14: Council developed the role of the Council and the rules of engagement.
- August 17: Council reviewed and developed the value proposition for the City and discussed the vision, goals, and strategies process.
- August 24: Council developed the Council vision, goals, and strategies.
- September 3: Council reviewed the Council vision and goals and prioritized strategies for the Council goals.
So, no near-term action items in the minutes, either. Then, I notice something. There's not even any mention of near-term action items in the agendas. Only goals. Maybe the council hasn't even deliberated near-term action items (yet). Maybe I should just quit waiting to find out what the near-term action items are because the council doesn't have any.
I decided to take a step backwards and settle for reviewing the council's goals. I looked at the page titled CITY OF RICHARDSON - STATEMENT OF GOALS. Again, no date. Are these old, too? Scroll to the bottom of the page and you'll see the mug shots of the city council members, including none other than Amir Omar, who has been off the council for five months. Yep, this page is stale, too. Another dead end.
One last tack. I enter "near-term action items" in the search box on top of the city's website. I get 1,640 hits. The first few hits all look like they are the stale pages I already looked at. I scroll through a half dozen pages and most of the hits have a 2011 or 2012 date. I decide not to go through all 1,640 hits.
By now I'm getting really discouraged. Then I read this notice at the top of the search results: "Please note: searches on this site may display incorrect results (from the old site design) until the search engine finishes indexing our new site. Your patience is appreciated." I remember seeing that same notice months ago. Just how long will it take the search engine to finish indexing the new site? With that, I give up my detective work, knowing that I may have failed to find what I was looking for, but feeling better knowing that the city appreciates my patience.