(KUTV) Jackie Biskupski has been in office for a few weeks, but showed at her first State of the City Address that she was ready for the challenge of improving Salt Lake City.
"When I took office a few weeks ago, I spoke about building a city for everyone. A city where mind, body, and spirit can thrive."
Biskupski and other city leaders have focused the first few weeks of the new administration on "engaging with employees, reviewing both internal and external policies, and listening to key stakeholders."
Biskupski spoke with enthusiasm about the work already done by city employees, and the way they, and their work can improve to benefit the community. "I believe we must build a more collaborative, bottom-up and inclusive culture in order to be more responsive to you."
The mayor has requested that the Human Resources Director work with every department and division to begin a strategic planning process.
"These plans will include specific elements that I believe are necessary for long-term health of the Salt Lake City Corporation. Information sharing must be a key component of the plans."
Biskupski stressed the importance of keeping current employees in businesses throughout the city instead of their always being such a quick reaction to fire, then bring in somebody new.
"Across city government, we must think outside the box in recruiting and retaining diverse candidates. We will use tools like the Mayor's Office of Diversity and Human Rights and the Office of Community Relations and Empowerment to work collectively to ensure the city's workforce looks like the people we serve."
The mayor also outlined a clear vision for the future of energy in Utah by having renewable energy in different forms. "We have set a goal in line with the values of city residents to have at least 50 percent of our renewable energy needs met by renewables such as solar, wind and geothermal sources by 2020. We are all in this together and we will work with our energy provider to find ways to achieve these goals."
Biskupski also pushed to help the homeless population throughout the city.
"We know by getting the homeless off the street, we can deliver services more efficiently, identify the drug dealers and minimize their criminal operations."
Biskupski stressed that combating homelessness within the city will not be easy, but she believes steps can be taken to help that process even before the weather warms up and shelters begin to close.
"There is no simple fix but we must begin taking steps today," the mayor said.
The final objective in the mayor's address was education for Utah's children.
"My goal as mayor is to focus on the fundamentals everyday. And there is nothing more fundamental than ensuring all our students from pre-school to high school have access to a quality education."
Biskupski's administration has been active with the school boards for the Salt Lake City School District, so much that the administration has a seat on the board, to which the mayor says she is "grateful" for.
Biskupski closed the speech by saying "I believe in the people, and I believe, because of you, the State of our City is strong and we will only get better."