The project, as outlined in this article, includes input from business executives in the region and is being led by the Hampton Roads Partnership, which describes the project here. The report from the committee is expected in early 2012.
Virginia is unique in the nation to have all of its cities independent of a county; only three other such cities – Baltimore MD, St. Louis MO, and Carson City NV – lie outside of Virginia. When coupled with its strict interpretation of the Dillon Rule, I would suspect duplication of services in Hampton Roads to be rampant. I applaud the cities for taking on this effort, despite its $150,000 price tag.
My only complaint (you knew there would be one, right? 🙂 ) is that the steering committee has no ordinary citizens included. The members:
The steering committee includes E. Dana Dickens, III, president and CEO of Hampton Roads Partnership; William Harrell, Chesapeake City Manager; Rick West, Chesapeake City Council; Marcus Jones, Norfolk City Manager; Barclay Winn, Norfolk City Council; Jim Spore, Virginia Beach City Manager; Glenn Davis, Virginia Beach City Council; James Fothergill, chief people officer of Dollar Tree; Jeff Gough, Smithfield Foods vice president for Logistics, Human Resources and Safety; and Tina Gill, Amerigroup vice president for External Relations Operations. Jim Hixon, Norfolk Southern executive vice president-Law and Corporate Relations, serves as chair of the steering committee, which plans to meet monthly.
I believe the inclusion of the citizens’ perspective is critical to any undertaking like this. The top-down approach doesn’t work in business and it certainly doesn’t work in government. Surely they could have expanded the steering committee to include a citizen from each of the cities who are party to this.