Yesterday DuPage County Board members received a strategic plan called a “very good roadmap” by County Board Chair Robert Schillerstrom according to the Naperville Sun. At a cost of $77,200 for much of the research and writing, the Regional Development Institute at Northern Illinois University helped produce the plan in consultation with county officials, developing “the goals and lists of related issues through a series of public meetings and interviews with elected officials during the past year,” according to the Chicago Tribune.
While the strategic plan is nominally responsive to the Civic Federation’s budget suggestions, the news reports in both the Naperville Sun and the Chicago Tribune seem to suggest that the plan will fall far short of the “roadmap” advertised by DuPage County Board Chair Robert Schillerstrom. If this is a roadmap it sounds more like one painted by Claude Monet than one published by Rand McNally. I’m all for advanced planning – especially with the county board’s recent record of maximum tax increases and major budget cuts – but a plan short on specifics may also be short on success. As it is, the Tribune quotes Debra Olson, who chaired the committee producing the report as saying, “We need better accountability, better performance measures and objective criteria for the things we do, so we can measure our effectiveness and make decisions on how we spend our money.” The Tribune then goes on to say that Olson “noted that the strategic plan recommends the county establish performance standards and measurements.” Funny, all that is just the type of thing the free report from the independent Civic Federation (linked above) has been saying too for the last two years. That’s not much of a vote of confidence in a $77,200 product. I hope first impressions in the news coverage are misleading – planning being a useful thing that’s long overdue in DuPage; however, if the strategic plan ends up not being too useful, maybe the county board can sign and frame it.