City of Crookston: Finch looks to shake up strategic planning process

Mike Christopherson
Crookston Times

    Normally around this time of year, members of the Crookston City Council, the mayor and city administrator would be checking their calendars in order to pick the best Saturday in the coming weeks to spend an entire day debating the council’s priorities for Crookston over the next year and the years to come beyond that.

    It’s been done that way for several years.

    City Administrator Amy Finch, on the job since October, is looking to shake up the council’s annual strategic planning process, however. Instead of camping out for up to eight hours on a Saturday in a meeting room at the Crookston Inn, which has been the typical venue in the past, she said she’d rather conduct several shorter planning sessions, perhaps on some Monday evenings when the council doesn’t meet. Finch says she also was invited to and is participating in a “community visioning” process with the leaders of other Crookston organizations, and she’d like to bring input and ideas she gleans from those discussions back to the council to discuss.

    “Maybe we come out (of a series of strategic planning sessions) with the top three council priorities to look at for that year, and then we look at the budget and allocating funds,” Finch said to the council recently when she suggested the change in approach.

    Her involvement in the separate community visioning effort can only benefit the council’s annual visioning effort, she added.

    “You have leaders from several community organizations, coming from all different places with different perspectives, but we’re all working for the same things,” Finch said. “Then we can narrow down to two or three really good, focused areas. Maybe it’s housing, maybe it isn’t. Then we weigh our priorities versus what our budget looks like.”

    Council members voiced their support of Finch’s suggestions.

    “It’s a good idea,” At Large Council Member Tom Vedbraaten said. “We spend a whole Saturday, and when we’re done, it’s just kind of forgotten about.”