A practical new approach to governing the city of Fort Morgan by being hyper-involved in the community has been implemented by Mayor Lyn Deal.
“I took the mayoral job to get involved in the community,” Deal said. “I like people and working on projects. I want to do the work and serve the way I feel I should.
That means she could be spotted at your workplace, in your organization, at a restaurant, or knocking on your door, she says.
Deal recently took part in a tour of the Cargill meat plant and previously toured the Leprino cheese plant, detailing those experiences for the city council. These two activities led her to gain perspective for those who work in various capacities in factories.
“They work really hard,” Deal said, noting that among what she learned, Cargill processes about 3,000 to 4,000 head of cattle a day. “If you like burgers, ribs and steak, that comes from a lot of work there.”
The visit to the two factories was consistent with an agenda that Deal, she says, had before she became mayor of the city, but adopted after her election.
“I want to connect with as many businesses and individuals as possible,” Deal said.
The update she provided to the city council also included a report on Tuesday regarding a visit with Kids At Their Best, a local nonprofit that aims to provide a self-help leadership program to provide a pathway out of poverty for college and career, the organization’s website reads. The more than 600 children involved in the program speak 26 languages.
“They go out every day and serve meals to the kids,” Deal said. “I invited them to come and share a powerpoint with us [City Council].”
She also attended World Refugee Day at Fort Morgan City Park, meeting residents from diverse cultural backgrounds.
“I heard stories about how they got here,” Deal said. “I learned a few about their contributions to our community. I think they feel a bit isolated.
The goal of Deal’s agenda to meet with community residents, she says, is to get a better perspective on the community as a whole, and therefore make decisions that better meet community needs.
“I learned so much about the diverse population we have and was able to better determine their needs,” Deal said. “I want to know our residents personally. I feel like sometimes there are parts of the community that we don’t know and don’t really know what they need.
Another example of his business is visiting every business involved in a Main Street road closure project to determine their perspective ahead of a city council meeting, and also connecting with Wells Fargo to discuss the purchase potential of a nearby parking lot. the bank in support of access for activity to downtown and the city park.
“I feel like as mayor people want to hug you,” Deal said. “I want to bond.”
These are connections that Deal says she is inspired to make one-on-one, in groups and with organizations. Some have seen her out and about to an extent where, she says on Facebook, some have called her “the people’s mayor,” or perhaps better comparing her to Where’s Waldo.
“I learned a lot and tried to be wherever I can,” Deal said. “I learned a lot about our community and the people who live there. I feel like I connect with people.