Wednesday, July 26, 2006

 

A Mayor Milestone

I passed another couple of milestones this week. I am now 75% of the way through My Year As Mayor, and the number of mayor events/meetings so far surpassed 250. That translates into an average of 9 per week and doesn’t include the hours spent on phone and email communication or preparation for Council meetings or other events. I work in a billable time business, so I’m used to keeping track of where my hours go. But even so, I am surprised to look back and fully appreciate the time commitment of the role as Mayor, which I estimate is a minimum of 30-50 hours per week. If I didn’t work full time, and took advantage of every opportunity to be in the spotlight, I am sure that practically every day could be full of mayor-related things to do. I use a triage system for allocating time. It is part of my responsibility as a Council Member and Mayor, such as Council meetings, listening to the concerns of constituents, or briefing sessions with staff? Does having “The Mayor” be there add value to the event for participants, such as the installation dinner of the Los Gatos Yacht Club, the Senior of Distinction award ceremony, or the kick-off reception for the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life program? Does it conflict with work appointments that cannot be changed, such as when I had to pass up the opportunity for national TV exposure on the American Inventor finale because I had been long-booked to lead a strategic planning workshop for a nonprofit board of 30 people at exactly the same time? I strongly believe that a small community like Los Gatos does not need Council members who are paid as full-time positions like they are in large cities like San Jose and San Francisco. We have an excellent professional staff to run the town day to day. And I think having individuals with a variety of day jobs and professional expertise adds to the quality of our decision-making. But I can’t count how many times people have told me this year that they could never serve on Council because the sacrifice they would have to make to their families, careers, and personal interests is too great. Of course, I also can’t count how many times people have thanked me for doing this job and taking care of things in the community so that they don’t have to. Bottom line, I guess, is that every member of Town Council works countless hours for a salary of $150 per month. That is what public service is about.

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