Candi Millar, AICP, gives an update as the board president of Western Planning Resources, Inc. (WPR), which publishes The Western Planner. She outlines WPR’s goals through 2020 and the latest results achieved by the WPR Board.
Charles Bloom, 2015 WYOPASS/WP Conference organizer and Senior Planner with the City of Laramie, said something at a recent WPR Board meeting that struck me as funny – “we do what planners do well, react to crisis.” It was obvious that the well-organized and high-quality conference was not a reaction to a crisis, but a carefully planned event arranged by competent and creative staff. The WPR Board thanks the Conference Planning Committee and WYOPASS for hosting a great event! Thanks also to the many sponsors who made it possible.
Back to the idea of reacting to a crisis. You may recall me mentioning the tenuous financial situation of WPR. It turns out, from talking with past board members, that this is not a new development; WPR has always operated on the sharp edge of the fiscal cliff. For that reason, I’m going to reclassify the condition as normal but needing constant monitoring and adjusting.
Monitoring and adjusting are exactly what the WPR Board achieved at its last meeting. With a few surgical cuts to some expenditures, we were able to draft a balanced budget. The position of treasurer, soon to be vacated by Amber Vogt, will be filled by Megan Nelms, AICP, our current vice president. Angela Parker, AICP, has joined the board and was voted in as the new vice president.
FIVE YEAR STRATEGIC PLAN
The WPR Board approved a strategic plan to guide us for the next five years. The meat of the strategic plan is contained in the 2015-2020 goals, as follows:
- We will increase WPR’s exposure and relevancy in all Western states.
- We will increase the value of The Western Planner Journal to our current subscribers and attract new subscribers.
- We will continue to promote sound planning practices in Western states.
- We will diversify our revenue sources and increase our financial stability.
- We will clarify and delineate the responsibilities of the WP editor and the treasurer and document their roles in a revised WP Handbook.
- We will expand the role of the board secretary to include maintaining an updated membership list for subscriptions and other purposes.
- We will continue to revisit our WPR organization bylaws to consider the options for restructuring and membership that will help us achieve the other goals of this strategic plan.
- We will explore and implement alternative media for content delivery and communication to Western planners.
WORKING ON RESULTS
And should I add, “We will go where no man has gone before?” It seems fitting since the goals may sound a bit lofty. But as planners, we know the implementation of the goals is where we get results. Every board member has stepped up to transform the goals into actions. Examples include:
- WPR has created a social media presence on Facebook, Western Planner
- WPR has almost completed creating a searchable article database of all previous articles by 2016. We have successfully archived past issues and are working on indexing them to post on the website.
- WPR is looking into options for organizational restructuring. We are implementing a strategy that will make WPR financially sustainable – more on that in a later issue.
I’m very encouraged with the direction the WPR Board is taking and am confident we will continue to achieve great success in our Journal and conferences.
One last thing, the Western Planner Conference is tentatively planned to be in Great Falls, Montana next year. The Great Falls Planning Division is spearheading this effort and is discussing co-hosting it with the Montana Association of Planners. Look for more information on this conference soon.
It was wonderful to see everyone at the Laramie conference – Keep Calm and Plan On!
Candi Millar, AICP
President, Western Planning Resources
Candi Millar, AICP, is the Director of the Planning and Community Services Department for the City of Billings, Montana. Please email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.