Ta Ta…For Now!

What a summer it has been! This will (unfortunately) be my last blog post of the summer. But rest assured, my work with Chatham County is not done!

Picture of freshly picked blueberries
The blueberries I picked while interviewing a producer from the Chatham agriculture community.

Over the last few weeks, I spent a lot of time deciphering and coding the information that I received from interviews.  And let me tell you…I had quite the spread! After I coded them, checked them, re-coded, and re-coded, and re-coded…I finally had a clearer picture of what Chatham residents view as challenges to a more connected community and what they think we (the Chatham public administrators) could do to tackle those challenges. It was really interesting to see the similarities and differences of responses to my two standard interviews questions. After coding the responses, I wrapped it all up in the best public administrator package that I had — you guessed it, A MEMO!

gif that says busy, busy, busy with puppy paws typing
Me working on coding and typing my memo

My beautiful memo outlined the findings of my interviews and research thus far. The top three challenges that Chatham residents mentioned fell into three broad categories – equity, division, and infrastructure. These broad categories were then broken up into corresponding subcategories such as race, geography, and broadband. (side note: Did you know that some Chatham residents do not have access to internet because the internet companies never placed fiber in their areas? Talk about a market failure…). And some of the suggestions I got were around building stronger community relationships and the opportunity to share stories across town lines. In addition, my memo outlined possible paths that the County Manager’s Office could take in working towards unifying Chatham County.

And then…I got to present to the County Manager…So on Wednesday of last week, I got to present my findings and ideas to Dan. Dan was super receptive and supportive. He provided me with some good feedback on what the County Commissioners would likely want to know. I left that meeting knowing that I had the support of the County Manager! So, in September I will be presenting my findings and recommendations to the County Commissioners at the Board of Commissioner’s meeting.

gif of a woman of color doing her happy dance
How I felt after my meeting with Dan

As I move forward, I will continue to map out how we can implement some community building events in Chatham County. Hopefully, in the next fiscal year a position can be funded to carry out this work!

gif of tigger walking out of Pooh's door saying tata for now

It has been a pleasure sharing my experience with you all! I hope to continue doing this kind of work in the future so be on the look out for me! In the famous words of Tigger, “Ta ta for now!”


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