‘To be the best city in the world’ Is Paducah’s new mission statement measurable?

PADUCAH — “To be the best city in the world.” That’s what Paducah leaders say their overall mission is.

The city commission passed that brief mission statement, along with a vision statement and organizational values, back in December. So, what does being the best city in the world mean?

“I think it’s a statement — a challenge,” City Manager Jim Arndt says.

Arndt says being the best in the world is something the city can strive for. “We talked about being the best city in Kentucky, being the best city in the region, the best city in the United States. We’re challenging ourselves to the best city in the world,” Arndt says.

Paducah Mayor Brandi Harless was out of town Tuesday, but she spoke with us by phone. She says, while the mission statement might not be specific, the city’s strategic plan is.

“That’s what the strategic plan is for. If you see all the different activities and initiatives in the strategic plan, they do have indicators associated with them that we will be measuring to make sure we we are pushing forward and making progress,” says Harless.

New Paducah City Commissioner Gerald Watkins doesn’t necessarily see it that way. He used to teach political science at West Kentucky Community and Technology College. Watkins says mission statements should be more specific.

“At the university level, the mission statement is more focused and consequently more measurable,” Watkins says.

Watkins says the new commission might look at broadening the mission statement and adding specific, measurable things that they can accomplish.

“When people look at what we’re trying to do, we don’t want them to look at our mission statement and chuckle and say, ‘Well, you know it sounds good, but how in the world are you going to do that and how are you going to measure it?'” Watkins says.

Arndt says the city did seek public input when creating the mission statement. He says he and the assistant city manager presented the mission statement to what he says is a professional business group at the Little Castle Breakfast Club.

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