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Is Lathrop successful at attaining council goals?
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LATHROP – There’s nothing new about the City of Lathrop holding a goal-setting session.

Every year the council sits down with city staff, a list of capital improvement projects and outlays that they universally agree will benefit residents is hashed out and it serves as an unofficial roadmap of things to try and accomplish over the course of the next 12 months.

And that’s the process that Lathrop Councilman Omar Ornelas wants to change.

Last week the often outspoken Ornelas said that the ratio of brainstormed ideas those that are actually carried out isn’t necessarily one to brag about. He suggested hiring an official facilitator to run the meetings and come up with a plan that he hopes will be more fruitful.

The suggestion, however, failed to garner traction.

Mayor Sonny Dhaliwal said that the last time that the city used such a tactic it yielded the same results but produced an expensive tab that ended up have to be picked by taxpayers.

Not liking the ratio, according to Vice Mayor Steve Dresser, means that the council as a whole isn’t doing its job of seeing the projects through and working closely with staff to make sure that those things are happening.

“I think that it’s a failure of the council,” Dresser said. “As the council we have the meeting and we establish those ideas and if the staff doesn’t follow through then it’s incumbent on us to raise that flag.

“We failed. They didn’t fail.”

But in the eyes of Lathrop Manager Steve Salvatore, staff needs even more than just the direction of the council on specific projects.

Salvatore said that he and the rest of the staff would like the council’s views on overreaching policy issues and ideas in order to craft suggestions – using how to propose Measure C fund allotments as an example.

Whether the city were to put either 5 or 10 percent of annual Measure C funds into an account to possibly one day start a police department, Salvatore said, would be one way to possibly allocate the money at the council’s direction. Putting up to a third away to make sure that programs aren’t cut when an economic downturn hits again would be another.

Such a suggestion was met by opposition by Ornelas who balked at the idea that Salvatore propose policy that would typically fall into the realm of the council.

A future meeting will be set to discuss the ideas.