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Make a new plan, Stan

A plan is a method for achieving a desirable objective. It’s a program of action, usually memorialized in writing. Plans start with goals and ideas. But ideas alone (even good ones) don’t constitute a plan.

Merely setting goals (even worthwhile ones) also fall short of a plan.

Planning takes goals and ideas a few steps further. Good, solid planning analyzes the strategies needed to achieve desirable outcomes (the goals), arranges them in an orderly and easily understandable fashion, spells out actions needed to implement those strategies, and records them on a readily accessible medium available to everyone, including all who will be impacted by the plans and everyone who will play a part in carrying them out.

Just because plans are recorded doesn’t mean they’re etched in stone. Details will undoubtedly be added over time. And most plans should be reviewed and revised often, continually adapting them to ever-changing circumstances.

Simply talking about a subject doesn’t constitute planning either. Too often we use our public forums to talk about difficult problems or critical issues but then don’t do anything to solve them. That’s especially true of controversial matters. Instead, we turn a blind eye, sweep the issue under the rug, kick the can further and further down the road, or put the problem back on the shelf to fester for another decade or two before we dust it off again.

Unfortunately, in the words of a long-forgotten rock song that will certainly date me and reveal far too much about my teenage leanings, even “If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.” Or in more familiar terms, when you fail to plan, you’re really just planning to fail.

As an attorney, one of my areas of practice is estate planning. Let’s face it, very few of us want to think about dying, much less actually follow through with it. So, when it comes to planning how our assets will be distributed once we finally pass away, most of us would rather perish the thought, block it from our minds, and kick the proverbial can down the road instead. I, for one, would rather kick the can than think about kicking the bucket. But, like it or not, if you fail to engage in estate planning now, then the government will ultimately decide where your property ends up after you die. And your heirs will spend tens of thousands of your hard-earned dollars in court cleaning up the mess.

Maybe your assets will end up exactly where you want them to be anyway? But unless you don’t care, then don’t bet on it. It probably goes without saying that your plan won’t always match the government’s plan.

I’m also in business for myself. And I help many businesses with their legal needs as well. So, I know a thing or two about succession planning. Succession planning attempts to ensure that organizations have a pipeline of talent ready to step into key positions to minimize disruption when leadership transitions occur. Succession planning also supports the long-term sustainability, continuity, and consistency of the enterprise.

On that note, have you noticed that the revolving door of management position employees at City Hall hasn’t really slowed down in recent years? When the big three were “terminated” in 2020-21 (City Manager Al Noyola, City Attorney Steve Morris, and City Clerk Lou Krumm), you might have thought the turnstile would stop. But change is one of the only sure things in life, and turnover seems inevitable. For instance, in the last two years, we’ve seen the departure of several additional high-profile leaders at City Hall, including Utilities Director Dennis Porter, Public Works Director Keegan Littrell, Finance Director Diane Pelletier, City Planner Susan Danielewicz, and Parks and Recreation Director Roger Hall.

Some of those were planned departures, including retirements. Others were more forced than planned. But all were foreseeable at some point. The vicissitudes of life (including death) mean that no position will be occupied by the same person forever (Roger Hall excepted, perhaps… cue the audible snickers).

I don’t have a crystal ball. And I’m not a prophet. But I’m going to make a bold prediction anyway. Which is that several more city management-level positions will open up in the next two years, and maybe even in the next two months. I won’t predict which positions, much less name names. Because if I’m right, you’ll say I have way too much insider information for my own good.

But regardless of when those changes occur, important questions include: Are we ready for those changes? Does the city have a succession plan in place to fill the shoes of the next departing management-level employees, at least on an interim basis? Are existing rank-and-file employees being sufficiently trained to step into bigger shoes?

Similar questions should certainly be asked about infrastructure, economic vitality, and schools. For instance, are we repairing and replacing our streets and utility infrastructure fast enough? What will we do to address the potential blight and economic impacts caused by the impending closure of the 99 Cent Store? What will we do to keep our public schools open if demographic aging trends continue in Boulder City, such that at some point in the not-too-distant future more non-resident students attend our schools than BC-resident students?

Such questions and problems defy easy answers. But the problems and accompanying uncertainty quickly grow to unmanageable proportions when we fail to properly plan many years and even decades in advance.

I loved the Boulder City that I moved to over 45 years ago. And I still love the vastly changed Boulder City that I live in now. But not all change is good. Especially not accidental change.

So, let’s be sure we regularly and consistently slow down long enough to plan for our beloved city’s future success. Every vote I cast this year will be an expression of confidence in those who are proven planners.

Alumni events, marriage and a real Nazi

Ron’s column from a few weeks ago inspired me to tell a story about a weird event from my past. Mine is not as exciting as his in that there is no wrestler named Silo Sam. But there is at least one Nazi. And, no, not the current “I disagree with your politics so you are a Nazi” version. An actual card-carrying member of the party.

Las Vegas Veterans’ Memorial to Boulder City?

Veterans’ memorials can be found all over the Silver State. They are well deserved. They honor individuals who served the nation, and also commemorate battles and events regarding the many military anniversaries in Nevada.

City manager bids fond farewell

I may be leaving Boulder City, but it was not an easy decision. From the first time I came in and met the staff and community leaders, I saw a city filled with people who truly care about where they live and work. I am grateful for the opportunities I have had to work with some incredible people.

Is the grass always greener?

Many people in the past played a golf game to cement a business deal, didn’t they? They also played golf to socialize. Has Boulder City recognized lessening play on golf courses? Or, from another perspective, what happens when million-dollar homes are placed around our open space golf course with views of the McCullough Mountains? Do fewer people play golf on the Boulder Creek golf course?

Parting is such sweet sorrow

Shakespeare was the man when it came to comedy and tragedy. His ability to make people feel the intense emotions of the characters is still imitated today. The past few months have been filled with a bit of excited anticipation at City Hall as several longtime and high-level employees have found new roles in other acts. I’m here to borrow some Shakespearean lines, the first being from Ophelia, “We know what we are, but know not what we may be.” (Hamlet)

Me, my brother and Silo Sam

Recently, I’ve been enjoying watching shows on A&E related to professional wrestling back in the earlier days, with profiles on wrestlers I grew up watching as well as classic rivalries.

Let’s talk about the ‘D Word’

OK, as a starting point, I must note that it’s weird to think that I might be writing something that would put me in agreement with the Language Police.

Time to recognize unsung heroes

We have so many functions within the Boulder City Police Department, from school resource officers to road patrol to the detective bureau. The work that they do keeps Boulder City among the “Safest Cities in Nevada” (newhomesource.com, alarm.com) year after year. One unit is the backbone of our public safety response: Public Safety Dispatchers.

Honoring National Public Health Week

In my eight decades of this amazing life, I have worn a great many hats: son, brother, father, major (USAF), grandfather, council member, state representative, state senator.

Shhhhh… Don’t tell anyone

So, there was this guy I used to know. And, yes, a million stories told in bars have started with that exact phrase.