Resolutions, 60th edition

In the blink of an eye, it is time to once again reflect on the past year and the resolutions I made and to give some thought as to what I want to accomplish in 2015.  As fast as these years are flying by, I probably should double up on some stuff or I am going to give out of time.
As for the report card on how I did this past year, like always it was a mixed bag.  However, the list was shorter so I don’t really have many excuses.  
I resolved to visit the only two states I had never visited, Alaska and Hawaii.  Mary Lou and I spent an incredible two weeks in Alaska this Summer.  It wasn’t just that we visited during the worst heat wave back in Southwest Georgia that made the trip special.  We traveled with my college roommate and his wife and had such a good time we have a trip planned this coming Summer.
As for Hawaii, I didn’t step foot on the islands in 2014, but I did book a flight.  Hardee’s is having a convention in Honolulu in April of 2015, so at long last I will be able to say I have been to all 50 states.  Alaska exceeded my expectations and I hope that Hawaii does the same.
As for the journal I am writing for my grandchildren, it was my worst failing.  It sits on my bedside table, usually untouched.  This may be one of the hardest things to accomplish that has ever been on my resolution lists.  Yet, I know how much I treasure even today the things my grandparents wrote to me or the one video that my sister recorded of them talking about their younger days.  I’ll do better.
I resolved to lighten my load a bit in 2014, and was somewhat successful.  I don’t think I have any more time, it has just shifted from certain areas to others.  I will continue to try to focus on doing the things I really enjoy and to reluctantly say no to the things that consume more time away from my family.
My biggest resolution for 2014 was to try to be a good Mayor and leader in our community.  On this point, I feel really good, even better than I had hoped.  Not because I did such a good job, but because we have a City Council truly working together, along with a new city manager and established department heads, planning for this city’s future.
The council just completed its second retreat of 2014, where we planned our short and long term goals over the next few years.  We spent two days at each retreat learning about how to prioritize our needs.   We set our own goals, including promising not only to work together as a group, but to work with others such as the County Commission, Board of Education, and Industrial Development Authority.
Along with the citizens of the city, we passed a forward thinking SPLOST that will be leveraged with other monies to solve old problems and help change the face of this community.  We committed to creating an engaged community where people live and work together because they want to call this their home.
We resolved a long standing issue with the County Commission which took give and take on everyone’s part.  We have a desire on both sides to be a model for other communities to observe when studying how local governments work together.
We talked frankly about the unspoken problems that can disrupt the life of even the healthiest of communities; about race, income inequality, lack of jobs, healthcare, education, and children having children.  We have no magic answers, but we have a desire to leave this town better than it was when we were elected.
Through all the difficult issues the city faced in 2014, much more numerous than listed here, we never had a tie vote.  That isn’t a perfect measure of success, but it is an indication that every single member of the City Council is willing to work together toward our common goals and help resolve our common problems.
So for 2015, my resolutions are much the same.  I hope to be a better husband, father and grandfather.  I hope to inspire our employees to be even better.   I hope to write in my journal, and I hope that I can be an even better Mayor for this city that is starting to find its way.   
The opportunities are there for us all.  My wish for you next year and always is good health, peace and prosperity in 2015 and beyond.
Dan Ponder can be reached at [email protected]
 

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