Santa Cruz County

Agenda Item
Accepted and filed
Apr 10, 2018 9:00 AM

Accept and file report on the "Vision Santa Cruz County" strategic planning process; and direct staff to return May 8, 2018 with an update, as recommended by the County Administrative Officer


Department:County Administrative OfficeSponsors:County Administrative Officer Carlos J. Palacios
Category:CAO - Board LetterProjects:Master Calendar
Functions:General Government


  1. Board Memo

Financial Impact


Board Letter

Recommended Action(s):

1.              Accept and file report on the "Vision Santa Cruz County" strategic planning process.

2.              Direct staff to return May 8, 2018 with an update.


Executive Summary

The County Administrative Officer initiated a countywide strategic planning effort in 2017-18, and this memo provides an update on the planning process. County staff spent the fall engaging with internal and external stakeholders and used the input gathered to develop the draft elements for the strategic plan.



The purpose of strategic planning is to establish a long-term vision for the County and set a course of action through (1) overarching focus areas and (2) specific goals and objectives. This requires assessing the current landscape and trends, engaging internal and external stakeholders, and drafting and adopting a multi-year strategic plan and a shorter-term operational plan, which would inform County budget development.


Staff prepared for this process by comparing existing models and formats in other counties and cities, reviewing department and subject-area plans, and receiving input on strategic plan development. This work led to the identification of five key strategic plan elements:


·              Vision - reflects the collective understanding of the ideal situation


·              Mission - identifies the County’s role in pursuing the community’s vision


·              Values - provide the foundation on which the strategic plan is constructed


·              Focus areas - represent strategic initiatives, which organize the goals of an organization into a limited number of categories or themes


·              Goals - provide generalized statements of what the community wants to achieve consistent with its vision


The Strategic Plan Steering Committee (SPSC) met weekly for several months to finalize the strategic planning process that has led to the development of these elements. This process has included internal and external engagement of the County’s numerous stakeholders through a variety of in-person, electronic and other methods. Engagement efforts began with employees in September and the community in November, which resulted in feedback from hundreds of staff and residents. Additional information on these efforts was provided to the Board on December 12, 2017 and January 23, 2018.



The SPSC took the data generated over the past six months and distilled it into the draft vision, mission, values and focus areas presented to the Board on February 27, 2018. These elements are shown below.


Vision: Santa Cruz County: A healthy, safe and affordable community that is economically and environmentally vibrant for all.


Mission: An open and caring government, the County of Santa Cruz delivers quality, results-driven, fiscally responsible services that strengthen our community and enhance opportunity.


Values: Our service is: Accountable, Innovative, Transparent

                 Our partnerships are: Collaborative, Respectful, Trustworthy


Focus Areas: Health and Safety; Housing; Transportation; Economy; Environment; County Operations


In March, staff worked with the SPSC to develop draft goals in each focus area using the input gathered through community meetings, employee mixers, surveys and emails. A follow-up survey was also sent to more than 1,500 people on our mailing list to assess interest in attending small group meetings. With more than 200 people responding, staff are considering ways to offer everyone who is interested an opportunity to consider and prioritize the draft goals. This will include an online survey combined with meetings that target key groups, such as Spanish language speakers. Staff will return May 8, 2018 with a further update on the strategic planning process.



Contract Details

Contract # 




GL Key/Object


Meeting History

Apr 10, 2018 9:00 AM Video Board of Supervisors Regular Meeting
MOVER:John Leopold, First District Supervisor
SECONDER:Ryan Coonerty, Vice Chair, Third District Supervisor
AYES:John Leopold, Zach Friend, Ryan Coonerty, Greg Caput, Bruce McPherson