Best Practices

Mayor Robert J. Thomas

Mayor's Community Enrichment

Westland Mayor Robert Thomas has incorporated 13 divisions of service under one umbrella. We believe this unique service offered to our citizens has had an overwhelming impact on each and every one of them.

Our televised monthly "Town Hall" meetings are located at a different facility within our city each month. Basically, we take our show on the road. We select a student from one of our 23 elementary schools to lead us each month in the Pledge of Allegiance. We have public comments by citizens, directed to the Mayor (or his staff). We select one of 19 departments to be highlighted; this is enhanced by a five minute department video, as well as a follow-up discussion regarding this individual department. The Mayor also recognizes a "Senior of the Month" and other outstanding achievers in our community. Our department heads give a monthly report on highlights in their respective areas. Over 84,000 people live in Westland, and over 70,000 watch our city-owned television station.

"Table Talk" is a program in which the Mayor goes to a local facility, such as Hudson's Department Store or our mall, and sets up a table. He is then available to discuss with citizens their concerns. He gives each person a small gift for asking questions or discussing views.

Our "Neighborhood Walk" program has been very successful. Usually conducted in the spring, summer or early fall, it involves the Mayor and many of his directors, including the cable television crew who film the entire event, walking through a section of our town. As the Mayor goes door to door he talks to the citizens and listens to their concerns and suggestions for improving the town.

Our "Student Forum" is designed for the Mayor to be televised with about 20 to 25 students in a dialogue about government. Usually, the Mayor has two other directors with him when he does the show. This show is age specific and has been done for a variety of school age groups in our community. Again, the show is televised so the entire community is aware of the adolescents' viewpoints.

"Mayor Thomas's Monthly Live Call-in Show" is also very popular in the city. This forum addresses a specific topic and allows citizens a chance to call the station and speak directly to the Mayor. Here again, the Mayor is accompanied by two or three directors who work in the specified area, so they can also offer suggestions to the viewer.

Other programs include "Focus on Westland," "Report from the Mayor," "Behind the Scene," "Youth Assistance Program," "Youth Substance Abuse and Violence Task Force," "Drug Abuse Resistance Education," "Department Update," and "Government Directory." All are part of a total service program package and most are televised on the local government cable TV channel. The Mayor's philosophy is to bring citizens and their government closer together using an unusually large number of televised programs.

Contact: Office of the Mayor, (313) 467-3200

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The United States Conference of Mayors

J. Thomas Cochran, Executive Director
1620 Eye Street, NW, Washington, DC 20006
Telephone (202) 293-7330, FAX (202) 293-2352

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