Evaluation of the Strong Cities, Strong Communities (SC2) Teams Pilot: Final Report. A4.3.2 Work Approach—Interactions, Communication, and Meetings

08/25/2014

The SC2 pilot in Fresno was guided by the Fresno SC2 team lead. He engaged city staff, worked to align SC2 team activities with city needs and to foster interagency collaboration, and connected city staff to federal team members who could provide the specific needed insights or expertise. The SC2 team lead was adept at coordination and leadership, which he attributed to having been involved with or the leader of several other major multi-agency projects. This helped him approach the SC2 team lead role with a balance of confidence and humility, and with the skills he needed to lead effectively.

As noted earlier, the key city staff engaged with the SC2 team were the mayor’s chief of staff, her deputy chief of staff, and the city’s governmental affairs manager. These individuals met weekly with the SC2 team’s core members (the lead and the two full-time Fresno-based members) to strategize about SC2 team activities. The SC2 team and city leadership saw great value in these meetings and made sure that they were consistently held, rescheduling if needed to accommodate shifts in city staff schedules.

The two on-site team members worked out of the mayor’s office. This location elevated their credibility and afforded them easy access to the rest of city staff. The team members and the city staff both mentioned that their placement in the mayor’s office helped the team members tackle larger and more locally sensitive issues than they may have otherwise been able to take on.

In addition to these structured arrangements, ad hoc meetings between city staff and other, non-core team members were held on site in Fresno as needed. Regionally based team members, including the lead, periodically traveled to the community to touch base with their city counterparts. There was also an on-site convening of the majority of the team members in early April 2012 to discuss and adjust implementation based on the initial six months of city-SC2 team partnership. During this meeting, the SC2 team met with City of Fresno officials as well as internally as a team.

The SC2 team had an internal team check-in call weekly, which was led by the SC2 team lead. During these calls, team members could discuss progress toward work plan implementation. The lead also used his frequent visits to Fresno to coordinate with Fresno-based and regional team members.

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