When I started as Trustee in 1999, I developed a mission statement for the Township, with the help of my supervisory staff. The full version can be found on any of our literature, as well as the website, but for the purposes of this article, I’d like to just quote the last part of it: “…the Trustee’s office is dedicated to forming strong working relationships with community resources that share its advocacy of providing the knowledge, the means, and above all else, the commitment of enriching the lives of the less fortunate citizens of this Township.”
In a nutshell, this means that I recognize that this office cannot solve everyone’s problems, nor should it try. My plan from the beginning was, and still is, to bring together agencies and community leaders who share the same vision and passion for helping others to work collectively towards real solutions that work. This method of leadership and problem solving has been extremely successful because it gathers a wide variety of perspectives and ideas, and it allows us to use our resources creatively and collectively.
Part of this partnership-building develops out of information sharing. There are often people in serious need that do not even know that the township can help them. I wanted to change that, so those who need temporary emergency assistance can get relief. I also wanted to learn more about the many, many social service and faith-based organizations in our area, and how they help fellow citizens. I wanted my entire staff to have this knowledge as well.
I’m pleased to say our strategy for information sharing has been absolutely outstanding. We expanded our outreach efforts to citizens by making the literature easier to read and understand, by having literature translated into Spanish, and by keeping in contact with the media consistently to share information about events that serve the public.
We also routinely go to other social service agencies and do presentations, or in-service trainings, to inform them of what we do and how we can help their clients. And finally, we continually have guest speakers on a variety of topics to keep our staff as informed as possible about outside organizations and programs.
Wayne Township has come a long way in being a visible and approachable organization, one that actively seeks solutions and produces results. I look forward to continuing this tradition for as long as you would permit me to do so.
Matthew P. Schomburg
Wayne Township Trustee