by Mayor Simison

Our leadership team here at the City of Meridian serves several functions and are crucial to our success. They help provide the vision of our City, ensuring we work together to be successful. Most recently, I welcomed two new Directors to our leadership team; Public Works Director Laurelei McVey and Community Development Director Bruce Freckleton. These Directors oversee departments that are focused on protecting the well-being of our residents, whether it’s by ensuring premier development that is safe for the public, or by maintaining safe drinking water and wastewater. We recently invited residents to attend a Town Hall meeting where both of these Directors shared their experience and visions for the departments moving forward.

Public Works Director Laurelei McVey joins our leadership team with 12 years at the City of Meridian. She has the educational background, extensive job experience, and is certified at the highest level in Public Works. Laurelie understands the complex challenges that exist in these highly regulated, essential services, and coming from inside the Department she has been able to keep the Department moving forward while stepping into this new role.

The City must ensure that we have plentiful drinking water, in both quantity and quality. We are fortunate in Meridian to have a deep aquifer (like a deep underground lake) that has ample water supply for Meridian, even with the increasing demands of the community. While the water supply is healthy, one of the City’s priorities continues to be improving water quality. To accomplish this, the City has been installing water treatment facilities that filter and remove natural constituents like iron and manganese that can discolor water. With 25 wells (with two more under design/construction) and five water treatment facilities (with five additional under design/construction), we are focused on providing the community with a clean, safe water supply.

Also new to the leadership team is Bruce Freckleton, our Community Development Director. Bruce has been with the City for nearly 30 years, and spent the past 17 years working as Meridian’s Development Services Manager with a direct focus on the overall administration and management of all land development and building activities within the City of Meridian. Bruce has vast experience in the private and public sectors and has strong relationships within the community. He is committed to Meridian’s vision of being a premier community to live, work, and raise a family and has been an important part of the Community Development Department’s transformation into its current businesses model.  To that, he has planned initiatives to improve our service delivery even more and lead the team.

Last week, the Town Hall allowed the Community to hear from these two new leaders. They shared information about their departments which are an important part of our public health and safety need of the City. Be it taking care of wastewater or making sure buildings are constructed safely and to code, these are essential services. You can watch their presentations the event HERE.

To round out our Town Hall, Fire Chief Blume provided a brief update as they underwent the process to develop a three-year department Strategic Plan. This plan was created with community input through service delivery surveys, interviews and testimonials. In identifying the Meridian Fire Department’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and challenges, they were able to identify seven strategic focus areas to better serve the city of Meridian; Staffing, Organizational and Personal Development, Training, Technology and Data, Emergency Services, Community Risk Reduction, and Communications. To review the entire strategic plan, visit HERE.

I truly believe that giving our Department Directors an opportunity to educate the community about the work their departments are doing is one of the things that makes our community special. It lets our businesses and residents know where we are at and where we are going, which makes for a stronger end result for public health and safety.