Evaluation of the Strong Cities, Strong Communities (SC2) Teams Pilot: Final Report. A1.2.2 Involved City Staff

08/25/2014

The city’s economic development director was the pilot point of contact between September 2011 and July 2012. When he transitioned out of his role at the Chester Economic Development Authority into a different city position, Chester’s mayor became the primary point of contact for the remainder of the pilot.

Beyond the mayor, team members interacted with the city’s health commissioner to help transition Chester’s Bureau of Health from being primarily a regulatory body to one focused on health promotion. The team had limited interaction with other city department heads.

The narrow interaction between city staff and team members was driven by two factors. First, Chester has a small city staff that faces capacity shortages, preventing them from higher levels of consistent involvement with the SC2 pilot. Second, the mayor’s strong involvement in the initiative led other council members to view the pilot as the sole purview of the mayor rather than a resource for the entire community. This misconception was partly influenced by the unique structure of Chester’s city government where the mayor is a member of the five-person city council, and each of the council members, including the mayor, serves as the head of one of five city departments.

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