Posted on Feb 09, 2018
James Mitchell filled in today for President Paula Brahan since she is in Dallas completing her continuing education.
Thanks to Gene Owens who gave the invocation and to Bill MacLauchlan who led us in the Pledge of Allegiance. Our door greeters today were Mike Ratliff and Erin Granberry.
Mike Ratliff welcomed our visitors. Garland Sullivan brought his grandson Garland Sullivan, III. Ben Donald’s guests were Gary Fulton and Carol Lucas. Even though Paula was not in attendance she had two guests today, Cindy Stanley and Beau Roberts.
Mike also reminded everyone that the Kollege of Knowledge is scheduled to take place here next Tuesday, February 13th at 11:00 am.  An email reminder will be sent out.
Mike reminded members that volunteers are needed for the Meals on Wheels program. Visit the website if you can help.
James Mitchell announced that today is Scott Hummel’s birthday. Jaclyn announced that we need board nominees for July. If you are interested please let Jaclyn know.
Our thanks to Dr. Joe Paul for providing our program on Tuesday, Feb. 6.
L-R: Joe Paul, Erin Granberry, and President-Elect, Jamey Mitchell.
Erin Granberry then introduced today’s guest speaker, Dr. Joseph “Joe” Paul. Mayor Toby Barker recently added Joe Paul, as the city’s customer service coordinator and the newest member of his administrative team.
In this role, Paul focuses on training and coaching city employees helping them to provide the best level of customer service.  Paul’s day-to-day tasks include project management and serving as a liaison to department heads helping improve service delivery and programmatic responsiveness. Paul offered the following goals for the City of Hattiesburg:
Objective 1: Build on our strengths.
Find the playmakers in our community – whether in our city workforce, non-profits, universities, neighborhoods/business districts or private business and industry – and empower them to go farther. Goals include:
1. Upgrade downtown lighting
2. Complete Longleaf Trace extension to the Leaf River
3. Updated Hub City transit routes to include the Southern Miss campus
Objective 2: Grow and cultivate the next generation of Hattiesburg citizens.
Whether in the Hattiesburg Public School District, our universities/community colleges or young professionals, provide the support and programming to prepare the next generation to find a job and take on the mantle of citizenship in Hattiesburg. Goals include:
  1. 50 community mentors working in the Hattiesburg Public School District
  2. Launch an innovative talent and resident retention program for city young professionals
Objective 3: Ensure every neighborhood sees progress in public safety, infrastructure, and future project plans.
Lay the foundation to build a seamless city, where momentum and stability do not waiver based on which area of Hattiesburg you are in. Empower residents to make aspirations for their own neighborhoods and invest in that success. Goals include:
  1. Five new covered shelters for bus stops throughout the city
  2. HPD staffing up to 107 officers by year’s end
  3. Construct or complete 20 blocks of sidewalks
Objective 4: Tell our story- past, present, and future.
Strengthen the identity of Hattiesburg residents with their city through communicating unique parts of our history, current happenings and how the city will move forward. Goals include:
  1. Create a “Hattiesburg Historic Site” designation and delineate 4 sites in 2018
  2. Establish clear timelines and funding mechanisms for a strategic plan
  3. Create a periodic electronic newsletter
Objective 5: Make the City of Hattiesburg a more credible, modern, efficient, responsive and citizen-centered organization.
While every organization will continue to evolve, 2018 needs to bring a marked improvement in the overall health of the city’s internal operations, budget practices and customer service. Goals include:
  1. Implement videoconferencing capability for initial appearances in municipal
  2. Court
  3. Earn restoration of Moody’s rating
  4. More recycling options for apartments/businesses
James thanked Joe Paul and asked if he could stay longer to take questions from our members.
With no other business or announcements, James adjourned the meeting with our motto, “Service Above Self."