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Mayor Strickland's Weekly Update: April 26, 2019
Weekly Update: National recognition for Memphis government
Posted on 04/26/2019
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This week, we received a major validation of the hard work we’ve been doing at building a data-driven City of Memphis government. What Works Cities, a national organization that works with cities to deliver good government, certified Memphis as one of just seven cities nationwide that are leading the way at using data to improve citizens’ lives.

It’s a very, very big deal.

We join Arlington, Texas; Kansas City, Missouri; Louisville, Kentucky; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Scottsdale, Arizona; and Washington, D.C. on the list. And we’re one of just 13 cities to ever be honored in the young life of the program.

The process to get here was rigorous. We went through a lengthy evaluation process, and then answered even more of the WWC team’s questions when they visited Memphis over the winter. Their certification is more than just about publishing a chart or two on a website — it’s a deep dive into process, procurement, management, budgeting, contracting, and so much more.

I won’t bog you down into all of that. Instead, think of the bigger picture.

When I ran for mayor in 2015, I promised to measure results, share those results, and hold people accountable. Starting in 2016, we’ve built an entirely new culture in City government around doing just that.

No longer does Memphis govern by anecdote or whim.

We govern by data, based on results.

Today, you can be proud of a government in which division directors implement or change programs based on data — and where our senior leaders often compete with each other to see just how much we can measure to learn about how to better serve Memphians.

It’s a new day at City Hall, and I’m so proud that What Works Cities took notice.

There are so many people to thank, but I want to make sure to acknowledge Craig Hodge, Sarah Harris, Himabindu Peyeeti, Smitha Varma, and Ellen Paddock from our Office of Performance Management, as well as Paige Jackson and the team at Information Services. They invested much of their time in showing WWC all we are doing, and are a big reason why we were able to bring this recognition back home to Memphis.

As always, you can see the results for yourselves at

Helping our most vulnerable: Homelessness is a community issue, and this week we helped bring about a community solution. Working hand in hand with our partners — City Council Chairman Kemp Conrad, County Mayor Lee Harris, County Commission Chairman Van Turner, the great folks at the Hospitality Hub, and the Community Alliance for the Homeless — we announced plans for a homeless day facility and an emergency shelter for women.

You can learn more about what we’re proposing here.

In addition to what we already do, such as grant programming with local agencies and starting the Work Local program, this is a huge advancement in how the community helps Memphis women and men who are experiencing homelessness.

5G is coming: Last week in this space, we shared about how we’ve been working for quite some time to knock down barriers for wireless providers to bring the next generation 5G technology to town. Well, we learned just yesterday morning that Verizon has now placed Memphis on a list of 20 cities — including Atlanta, Boston, Dallas, and San Diego — that will receive the technology by year’s end.

Thanks to everyone at MLGW, the Chief Operating Office, the Division of Information Services, the City Attorney's office, and City Engineering for helping make this a reality.

A big step forward: You probably saw this week where we signed a letter of intent with Loews Hotels to build the new 500-room convention center hotel Downtown. It’s a big step forward for the project.

If and when it’s complete, Loews will be a great addition to our skyline and another big statement about our momentum. But more than that, it will be a big part of the engine of our tourism industry, which provides and creates so many jobs in our city. And all of our incentives to make the project work don’t take a single dime from City services.

It’s another win-win.

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Each Friday, Mayor Jim Strickland sends his Weekly Update email. It's a recap of events from the week, a celebration of Memphis' successes, and a frank look at our challenges. To receive the Weekly Update in your inbox, sign up here.

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