1. Why are you running to be a Commissioner on the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board?
I am running for Minneapolis Park and Recreation’s District 6 Commissioner to advocate for the quality of life in Minneapolis that our Park System has established and maintained. My passion and effective leadership of more than 30 years of civic service has been to continue the tradition of green and open space for urban livability.
Thank you for the opportunity to address your concerns and interests on behalf of the voters in making their critical decision this fall for the future of our Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board.
For more information about my candidacy, please visit my website at http://www.megforney.org/ or my Facebook Fan page http://www.facebook.com/pages/Meg-Forney-for-Parks/240944295696?ref=s
2. How would you describe the “job” of a park commissioner? What are the most important roles and responsibilities?
Park Commissioners are policy setters, not micro-managers. Their number one job is to hire a Superintendent. The next Park Board when seated may very well be entrusted with this task. I have worked with three Superintendents, each has their own style and I have watched how they have addressed the issues and opportunities before them. My working experience will be invaluable in selecting the next Superintendent. We have a rich tradition of having visionaries at the helm.
3. Are you running on a “reform” platform, or not? Please explain, be specific.
To reform the present connection to the City by making the MPRB independent, YES! Indefatigably yes, I support the Charter Amendment change to establish our Park Board as fully independent.
4. Do you support or oppose the proposed referendum for Park Board independence? Please explain.
I have been proudly door knocking with the petition for a Charter Amendment to be placed on the ballot this fall to establish a completely Independent Park Board. It’s time for the Park Board to achieve full independence and build bridges with both public and private partners to address critical issues in these challenging times. I have been pro-active in this effort. During my door knocking, I have engaged voters in the 6th District regarding this issue. The support has been amazing.
5. What experience do you have that qualifies you to serve on a board of an organization that has a $60 million budget, 600 full time employees, 1300 part time employees and controls 6400 acres of park land?
With my proven leadership, strategic vision and ability to build bridges, ... It’s time!
For 30+ years, I have effectively promoted our park system through both:
• City Wide efforts like People for Parks and the Committee on Urban Environment
• and project specific committees like the Lake Harriet Bandstand Fundraising and the Above the Falls Citizen Advisory Committee.
I am the only District 6 candidate who has been appointed to our Parks' Citizen Advisory Committees - in fact, to more than half-a-dozen, chairing 2 of these.
My strategic vision was instrumental in advocating for and implementing our Parks' new Comprehensive Plan, updating the one dated back to the ‘60’s. It's time to activate the promise of that plan - through measurable objectives.
6. What is your view on how the MPRB should approach public/private partnerships, “enterprise” or income-generating projects?
Earned revenue has been in the Park System for years through our golf courses and concessions and is needed. The focus on making these ventures more “professional” is appropriate. But balance is needed. We need clarity of policy: when, where, how, need to be weighed and measured with strong community engagement and understanding of context.
7. While employee morale remains high, there has been an acrimonious relationship between some of the members of the board and the staff and even between board members themselves. Why do you think this is, and what if anything would you do to improve these relationships?
Clarity from an updated Comprehensive Plan has helped immensely for all relationships - between staff and Commissioners, with citizens and the greater system and with all levels of government. Pursuing the plan with measurable objectives and performance plans will translate into more accountability and aid in defining expectations.
8. There is a general perception that the MPRB has sometimes has strained relationships with other organizations (City, County). What is your perception and how will you approach these relationships?
See above. Plus my experience as a Realtor is based on extensive relationship building. My skill sets are best in creating win-win situations for all parties with shared objectives.