Community engagement has been and continues to be an important component in developing the strategic and operational plans. As part of the strategic planning process, the County engaged thousands of community members, partners and staff through employee mixers, community meetings, online surveys and focus groups.
Following the adoption of the strategic plan in June 2018, the County continued to work on engagement by compiling numerous countywide community plans that were used to identify the work already being done, and to align and inform the objectives for the operational plan.
Draft strategies were presented to the Board in February 2019, followed by tailored presentations to over 20 additional boards and commissions. Furthermore, key informants were invited to participate in focus groups. Key informants were defined as those with subject-matter expertise in a strategic plan focus area.
Six community open houses were held in north, mid and south county locations. These open houses allowed the community to learn about the operational plan from subject-matter experts and share their feedback on the draft strategies.
The County has also been working on developing methods for reaching more of the community in south county, especially the Spanish speaking population, to ensure that their voices are heard and represented as the County continues to operationalize the strategic plan.
The chart below shows that although south county residents make up about 40% of the population, they represented less than 30% of the participants in strategic and operational planning events.
To increase engagement, the County has listened to south county residents and partners to identify best practices for reaching and serving this community. The County plans to use these identified practices and strategies in the future as it develops subsequent operational plans.