Mayor Paula Hicks-Hudson: Wrapping up Her Term and Preparing
the City for the Future
By Fletcher Word
Sojourner’s Truth Editor
Toledo Mayor Paula Hicks
Hudson has a white board in her office on the wall on the
far side of the room from her desk. The board has a list of
tasks and priorities and was set up several years ago not
long after she first moved into the office. The tasks –
providing safe water, fixing the roads, making neighborhoods
safe, increasing government efficiencies, diversifying the
economy – have been the guideposts for the mayor and her
administration during her three years as chief executive of
the City of Toledo.
As she finishes up her
final weeks in office, Hicks-Hudson, the city’s first
African-American female mayor, uses that board and the
guideposts scribbled there to gauge her success at running a
city of almost 300,000 citizens. And as she assesses how she
and her administration have handled those assignments, she
is pleased about her team’s success at staying on task.
“Safe water, fixing roads, safe neighborhoods,” she answers
about her satisfaction with the direction the city is headed
in as she prepares to leave the 22nd floor of One
Government Center. “We’ve done most of it,” she says.
While the guideposts are
written on the left side of the board – over to the right
are the departments assigned to handle the tasks. The
mayor’s goal for dispensing those chores has been to “remove
the silos of those departments” so that they can interact
cooperatively and efficiently.
The results have been
gratifying for the city’s highest office holder. The water
is safe and is an effective economic development tool, she
adds. When Cleveland Cliffs made the decision to move its
operations earlier this year to East Toledo, the company did
so because of the city’s water, she notes.
The neighborhoods will be
safer, she believes, especially with the increased
installation of LED lighting and with the city’s emphasis on
Engage Toledo, which allows citizens the opportunity not
only to reach out to government officials but also to gain
information on how the city operates.
Most of all, neighborhood
streets are being paved for the first time in almost 10
years, says the mayor.
“My legacy is that we have
moved the city forward and helped make it a 21st
century city,” reflects Hicks-Hudson.
Unfortunately for the
mayor and her supporters, that message was not effectively
communicated to a majority of the city’s voters last month.