Thurston County Strategic Plan
How do you prioritize and align the efforts of staff of a $325+ million government organization and 21 separately elected officials, all while managing ongoing fiscal constraints and the diverse expectations of more than 280,000 residents across urban, suburban, and rural communities? There’s no easy and immediate answer – it’s challenging and ongoing work. But a strong strategic plan is a good place to start.
Thurston County engaged the BERK team to identify community priorities and work with elected officials and departmental staff to craft a unifying strategy and framework to steer ongoing budgeting and decision making. In terms of community priorities, what we heard through a statistically representative survey, open houses, and focus groups is likely to resonate almost anywhere in Western Washington: access to affordable housing, economic opportunity, managing growth, and public safety and criminal justice reform.
The Thurston County Strategic Plan, adopted unanimously by Thurston County’s Board of County Commissioners, builds from these community priorities to articulate 18 Initiatives that County offices and departments will budget for and implement based on a shared vision of the desired future of Thurston County. The plan doesn’t provide any magic answers to some significant challenges, but it does establish a solid foundation for future policy making, budgeting, and action.
The BERK team consisted of Brian Murphy, who led strategy development; Jennifer Tippins, who led relationship building with County leadership and community engagement; and Kristin Maidt, who led development of materials to explain the County’s budget to the public and supported community engagement and facilitation efforts.