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Plenty of sunshine. High around 85F. Winds WSW at 10 to 15 mph..
Clear skies. Low around 60F. Winds light and variable.
Updated: September 28, 2021 @ 12:24 pm
Strategic Initiatives Consultant Penny Peavler led a retreat for the city commission on Saturday morning. (Austin Horn | The State Journal)

Government Reporter
Strategic Initiatives Consultant Penny Peavler led a retreat for the city commission on Saturday morning. (Austin Horn | The State Journal)
Vision, mission, values and priorities were the primary topics of discussion at the city commission’s retreat held at Fort Hill on Saturday morning.
All five members of the city commission including Frankfort Mayor Layne Wilkerson met outdoors under the park’s shelter, and came with markers and construction paper to brainstorm for the city’s future.
Strategic Initiatives Consultant Penny Peavler led the session. The meeting was the first meant to help commissioners agree on four to five areas of focus moving forward. The input will be used to help inform the city’s strategic plan, an initiative of Peavler and City Manager Laura Hagg.
“In a strategic plan, we really need to hone in on just four or five priorities,” Peavler said. “As much as we want to do everything, we can’t do everything all the time.”
Every member of the commission weighed in on what those priorities might be moving forward, though the general consensus was a focus on economic development in the city and the government’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.
The meeting came less than a week after the city commission met with the Franklin County Fiscal Court to discuss economic development in the area.
At the end of the session, focusing on the “story” of Frankfort in terms of branding and image received the most votes for prioritization; economic development as well as diversity, equity and inclusion received four of the commission’s five votes.
Commissioners generally agreed on the need to preserve history while also pushing for further development within the city limits.
“I think there was a lot of alignment around our unique history as well as building for the future,” Peavler said. “There was a lot of alignment, too, around being responsive and as a city government the enabling environment that you provide for businesses here. Another thing that stood out is high levels of engagement and economic vitality.”
The discussion included a back and forth about the role of diversity in the city’s strategic plan. Last year, a State Journal analysis found that city staff, along with other public agency staff, was significantly less diverse than the Frankfort community.
“I personally don’t want to be involved in an organization, or a city that, is booming if we don’t put equity, diversity and inclusion first,” Commissioner Kelly May said. “I think that that is, in my opinion, the number one priority.”
Commissioner Kyle Thompson said that he saw diversity as a priority that was baked into the other “areas of focus,” and that better economic development would be the key to adding jobs that would attract a diverse workforce. He pointed to growing levels of diversity in surrounding counties, most of which have grown more overall than Franklin County, as proof.
The meeting also featured lengthy work sessions on all the mentioned topics, which included the following: Access/Service Delivery, Distinctive Image/Engagement/Communication, Sustainability, “What’s missing? Livability/Retaining What Makes Frankfort Special,” and 21st Century Staffing.
Commissioner Katrisha Waldridge noted a State Journal report on city government salaries as an area of concern for her due to the low salaries revealed therein.
“I saw it and I’m embarrassed that we have employees working full time that are under $30,000,” Waldridge said. “And I’ve mentioned that to the city manager, I don’t want that. And hopefully within a year that’s going to change.”
Peavler said that the meeting was one of the initial steps toward completing the city’s strategic plan.
This plan could be a guidebook to go back and look at when things are difficult,” Peavler said. “… Inevitably, there will be disagreements, but how we handle those when trying to move forward really sets good leaders apart. If you look back at this, then you can prioritize.”
Government Reporter
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