According to Thompson & Martin (2005), for the plans involving a wide range of stakeholders to move on, there should be an attempt to hold consultative meetings where the views of each and every member of the stakeholder group are taken into consideration. For instance, the case presents a scenario of lack of consultation especially between Planners and Developers.
This prevailing state of events has lead to Planners being referred to as ‘anti-growth’ by the developers. It is important to note that consultations do not in any way mean consensus and hence with that in mind, what the various stakeholder groups should do is to seek to advance their views on a number of issues in such a way that each member of the stakeholder group i.e. their staff, community etc. feel that their views have been taken into consideration.
The case presents a wide range of issues revolving around ethics, professionalism as well as leadership. For instance, one of the professional bluffs is pushing for the adoption of important decisions on insufficient information. When Whitman places the report before the members of the council, he acknowledges that that there is insufficient information and no substantive plan in regard to environmental protection as well as containment of urban services costs though the state has in place a definite deadline. He however goes ahead to press for a decision in the light of the prevailing factors.
Further, it can be deemed unethical as well as unprofessional not to contact the cities on the recommendation. Indeed, by the council chairman Jerry Fehrman seeking to know whether the cities have been consulted, he seeks to ensure that there is no enmity between St. Claire County and the cities as it has been over time. We come to learn that not all cities are in agreement. There is also a leadership crisis with Maxwell Thorne seemingly coming about as dictatorial. Indeed, we are told that Thorne’s wants always sailed through and in his quest to ensure his views were implemented, he used the Land use Committee and the RPC as rubber stamps.
In my opinion, the efforts of Gwen Lewis to push for the adoption of the Urban Growth Areas (UGA) boundaries were proper and timely. My reasoning in this case is informed by a number of factors which can be gleaned from the text. To begin with, without the adoption of the UGA, most land would have remained rural with little or no development. With the development, Jobs would be enhanced and hence the local economy would benefit. While the need for the adoption of the UGA boundaries was clear, Gwen Lewis was certain that whet was holding back the initiative was the lack of consultation where some felt they were being “arm twisted.”
Further, contrary to some dissenting views, there was a growing need to enhance the ability of the county to plan effectively and this could be enhanced by the adoption of the Urban Growth Area boundaries which were in no way restrictive as some believed. Hence in my own view, the push by Gwen Lewis for the adoption of the Urban Growth Area was quite in order.
Thompson, J.L., & Martin, F. (2005). Strategic management: awareness and change.
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