360 Review with Lee Jay Feldman, Southern Maine Planning and Development Commission

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Who doesn’t love a good ol’ fashioned performance review? ELGL loves them so much that we’re embarking on a “360 Review of Local Government.” We’re going to evaluate every single inch of the local government arena by talking to ourselves (a.k.a: other local government professionals), tech companies, journalists, professors, and anyone else who hasn’t blocked our email address.

Background Check on Lee

southern-maine1Lee Jay Feldman (LinkedIn and Twitter)  has worked as  as Director of Planning and Permitting for the City of Auburn, Director of Planning at Sebago Technics in Westbrook and most recently, Principal Planner for the City of Portsmouth, New Hampshire. His professional experiences have been in staffing Planning Boards, Boards of Adjustment, Municipal Liquor Committee, and Historic District Commission. He has managed budgets of over $700,000 and developed and managed budgets for Industrial Park Construction Projects. Lee Jay has worked within the Economic Development as well negotiating positions for development agreements and Tax Increment Financing Districts.

Evaluator

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Best part of working in the local government arena. 

Having direct contact with the public on a daily basis

Most frustrating?

Not connecting with certain people when you are trying to do something positive and the just don’t get it.

(Complete these phrases) Best thing about the….1101941024_400

  • 80’s was…….Very slow growth period
  • 90’s was……Get a lot of stuff done with economic development for the community
  • 00’s was…..Boom Time
  • Last year was…..Start a lot of long range planning projects
  • Today is….Seeing the Boom times coming back

Your hometown? What is it best known for?

Auburn, Maine – the first Maine municipality with a council-manager form of government

Which bands would play at your retirement party?

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  • The Band
  • The Grateful Dead

Evaluation

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Describe the current state of local government.

Local governments are struggling to survive financially (i.e: Detroit, Stockton, Harrisburg)

Give us three areas in which local government is succeeding.download (2)

  • Transparency
  • Planning efforts
  • Public Saftey

Give us three areas in which local government needs improvement.

  • Public Works
  • Educating the Public on Municipal Finance
  • Surviving on less

Evaluate local government’s willingness to embrace new technologies.

The majority of local governments are very positive toward technology but they lack the funding to implement new strategies.

download (3)For local government, was there any good that came from the Great Recession? Nope

Evaluate whether local government is prepared for the ongoing wave of retirements.

There is not a lot of good young talent coming up with the technical background needed for some local government positions.

Wave a magic wand – what three wishes would you grant local government?

  • Money
  • Ability to think out of the box
  • Accomplish things with no public input  sometimes that is the only way to get it done!

Give a brief evaluation of your state government and the Federal government.

State government is not effective due to the current administration.

Federal government, during this administration, has shown that they care. The Feds have been tight with funds which make for scarce grant funding.

Supplemental Reading

360 Review – Archives