Cities don’t make a lot of widgets (although we do manufacture clean water) — what we do is provide services.
Cities were born out of a desire to have services that people either didn’t want to provide for themselves (think sewers) or were too expensive to do individually (fire response). I don’t want to do it and you don’t want to do it — so let’s create a city to do it.
I may be overstating the motivation behind the birth of full service cities, but not by much. Some 150 years ago the pioneers headed west and survived unforgiving landscapes and wild terrain only to discover that settling down into a community once they got there wasn’t nearly as easy as they thought it would be. They needed some help so they formed cities, towns and villages.
The evolution of city service isn’t all that complicated. The need for self preservation in the wild west eventually led to the modern police forces that we have today.
After self preservation needs were met, folks wanted a way to stake their claims and be land owners which laid the groundwork for what today has become community development departments in cities.
With a roof over their head, our forefathers began to turn their attention to the rutted roads, raw sewage dumped in the streets and trash that stunk up the neighborhood — giving rise to the early street and sanitation departments.
As more and more houses were built (out of wood) fires took a toll on lives and property so city fire services were introduced.
The next you thing you know, you’ve got yourself a full service city.
From these humble beginings, residents today still have high expectations for city services and cities have responded with services that meet an enormous range of needs. It’s been said that city services are an inch thick but a mile wide and given the breadth of services we provide, I’d say that’s a pretty fair characterization.
As any good service business knows, in service it’s all about the people. Cities don’t perform services, people do — so City employees are front and center to the City’s mission.
Since what we do is all about our people, I thought I’d share a few of the stats that about our City employees that our HR Manager compiled earlier this year. It’s an interesting perspective of the people that create this thing we call the City of Kent.