Hattiesburg City Council host strategic planner to discuss change for community

HATTIESBURG, Miss. - The Hattiesburg City Council held a special meeting Wednesday at City Hall to discuss how to prepare a strategic plan for city development.

Hattiesburg Mayor Toby Barker says he often hears people describe Hattiesburg as a place with potential. However, he mentioned that 'potential' can expire at any given moment. “Hattiesburg is a great city, but we know that we are capable of more. We want to make sure that we are reaching that potential as a community, across neighborhoods, across backgrounds. We’re defining what is that mutual point that we can all get to and how do we get there,” Mayor Barker explained to the public.

Local businesses donated money to the city to host strategic planner of Transformation Systems, LLC, Stephen Barone, to help the local government discover the mission to advance Hattiesburg. “I’m forecasting habit change s people are not shocked when they realize current habits are not adequate to bring about the change they desire,” said founder and former president of Transformation Systems, LLC Stephen Barone.

Council members said they want to see the city flourish with population, diversity and economic growth. “As a city we have so much talent, whether its at our universities, whether its our young professionals and even our retirees that are here in Hattiesburg that has so much life experience – we need to be harnessing all of that talent, all of that knowledge and utilizing it to make our city the best place it can be,” Ward 1 Councilman, Jeffery George explained.

Barone lectured how change will take time, implementation, adjustments and most importantly trust, “Trust is a missing thing in most relationships. There’s certain things that are not safe to talk about but you need to talk about but they need to be talked about There are certain broken promises, that the person for whom the promise was broken is never going to forget. They’re going to tell everybody, but they don’t take action to fix it.”

The mayor said Barone helped pushed the envelope of conversation for change, “What were doing right now is having an opening conversation and trying to decide as a city to see if we are ready to go through this process together. If we are, it comes to can we raise the money to help pay for this because obviously this is something that would benefit the entire community. We think there are a lot of folks that would like to make this happen,”

The administration will decide at the beginning of next year, if they will hire Barone as an assistant for city development.

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