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Thread: What makes a "Good Corporate Citizen?"

  1. #1

    What makes a "Good Corporate Citizen?"

    Whithout exception at every Plan Commission meeting an applicant will say "We have been good corporate citizens" as one of the reasons the PC should approve something. We have had some business owners that are a complete pain in the a** come in and say that with a straight face.

    We have some businesses that always step up to the plate with things like sponsoring little league and donating money for festivals, etc. However, some of these businesses are always skirting the zoning and sign ordinance.

    How would you define "good corporate citizen?" Is donating money enough or should good corporate citizens also maintain their property, adhere to the sign code, etc?
    "I'm a white male, age 18 to 49. Everyone listens to me, no matter how dumb my suggestions are."

    - Homer Simpson

  2. #2
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    IS there such a thing?

    I would characterize a good corporate citizen as an organization that sees the value in consistency with ordinances. After all, shouldn’t the ordinances be crafted to advance the desire of a community as a whole? Enhancements and uniformity should help create a place where customers will want to be, and their business can excel on its own merit. You can have the biggest, loudest sign in the word, but if your workers have poor attitudes or your prices are not competitive, you endeavor won’t succeed!

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    IMO:

    I would define a good "corporate citizen" as one that supports community activities, and not only operates within the city's codes, but sets a standard for others to meet. For example, a good corporate citizen would have a real landscape instead of just two potentilla and a half-dead arborvitea. In addition, the plans they brought into the Plan Commission would meet all of the city's requirements. I don't want to hear "We have to use metal siding because anything else is too expensive and your requirements are going to drive us out of town." Good riddence.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian jresta's avatar
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    everything about the term is oxymoronic.

    but since people are going to use the term anyway i'd define it more or less along the lines of what stumpf said but it would go beyond design standards . . . they would have to be invested in the community and i don't just mean in good PR like funding little league.

    Somewhere in their corporate charter should be a line attaching them as a permanent member of the community.
    Indeed you can usually tell when the concepts of democracy and citizenship are weakening. There is an increase in the role of charity and in the worship of volunteerism. These represent the élite citizen's imitation of noblesse oblige; that is, of pretending to be aristocrats or oligarchs, as opposed to being citizens.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    Originally posted by Michael Stumpf
    IMO:

    I would define a good "corporate citizen" as one that supports community activities, and not only operates within the city's codes, but sets a standard for others to meet. For example, a good corporate citizen would have a real landscape instead of just two potentilla and a half-dead arborvitea. In addition, the plans they brought into the Plan Commission would meet all of the city's requirements. I don't want to hear "We have to use metal siding because anything else is too expensive and your requirements are going to drive us out of town." Good riddence.

    *You forgot the barberry lined walk way.

    There is a company in my home town that has been a good corporate citizen. They sponsor events, little league teams, have fund raisers for several charities, they are always hiring, they provide training, and continuing education for employees. They have done allot of the community. Oh and it is an Clean Industrial Plant.
    Not my monkey, not my circus. - Old Polish Proverb

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    Originally posted by michaelskis
    *You forgot the barberry lined walk way.
    You have a company with a barberry lined walkway?! Damn, I wish we had something that nice.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    Originally posted by Michael Stumpf
    You have a company with a barberry lined walkway?! Damn, I wish we had something that nice.
    You would think that it would look nice, but they never trim it, and the thorns seem to reach out and bite people.
    Not my monkey, not my circus. - Old Polish Proverb

  8. #8
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    Originally posted by michaelskis
    You would think that it would look nice, but they never trim it, and the thorns seem to reach out and bite people.
    Our problem is with some businesses that are required to install landscaping in their plans, but once it is installed, they keep it butched so that it is almost non-existent. I'm thinking of one particular retailer, especially. They have evergreen shrubs in the landscape islands of the parking lot. Since the development is six years old, they should be grown to a decent height, but every year they trim these things into little hockey pucks, a foot tall and two feet wide, round with a flat top.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian SW MI Planner's avatar
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    I would define a good "corporate citizen" as one that supports community activities, and not only operates within the city's codes, but sets a standard for others to meet. For example, a good corporate citizen would have a real landscape instead of just two potentilla and a half-dead arborvitea. In addition, the plans they brought into the Plan Commission would meet all of the city's requirements. I don't want to hear "We have to use metal siding because anything else is too expensive and your requirements are going to drive us out of town." Good riddence.
    I agree! I also think it's important that they go the step further - weed your damn landscaping before they reaches 10 inches (the magic number in our code) and pick up the trash in your parking lot. Keep your store clean and make sure your employees treat customers with respect.

  10. #10
    Cyburbian donk's avatar
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    I'll add that the corporation should treat its employees with respect. We have one that the owner sponsors everthing under the sun and is generally thought of as a good/tolerable guy. Ask his employees how he treats them and you get a different story.

    And don't complain when we help your competitor set up in the exact manner that we helped you out.
    Too lazy to beat myself up for being to lazy to beat myself up for being too lazy to... well you get the point....

  11. #11

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    Originally posted by Michael Stumpf
    I would define a good "corporate citizen" as one that supports community activities, and not only operates within the city's codes, but sets a standard for others to meet. For example, a good corporate citizen would have a real landscape instead of just two potentilla and a half-dead arborvitea. In addition, the plans they brought into the Plan Commission would meet all of the city's requirements. I don't want to hear "We have to use metal siding because anything else is too expensive and your requirements are going to drive us out of town." Good riddence.
    You've stated what a 'good corporate citizen" should be. But since the advent of the globalized economy, there is no such thing as a good corporate citizen. It used to be that CEOs would get together and participate in civic clubs that would actively look for ways to help their community. Corporate bigwigs at one time were invested in their communities; now they donate to local foundations, if you're lucky.

    They don't create the sense of permanence they used to because they no longer have one.

  12. #12
    Cyburbian H's avatar
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    I recently worked with a hospital to help them apply for a variance to expand, not # of beds, but # of rooms to make single beds. I admit the line “good corporate citizen” was thrown around a bit. But I think they deserved it. They supplied many “good” jobs to the local residents, they kept their appearance / aesthetics clean and attractive, they donated money to all sorts of city programs like paying for underprivileged little league teams to go play in out of town tournaments. I think they deserved the term “good corporate citizen”, I also think they deserved the variance, so did everyone else…they got it.
    "Those who plan do better than those who do not plan, even though they rarely stick to their plan." - Winston Churchill

  13. #13
    Cyburbian Emeritus Chet's avatar
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    I think all of the discussion about good corporate citizens having landscape areas maintained can be summed up in three words:

    Pride of Ownership

  14. #14
    Originally posted by pete-rock
    You've stated what a 'good corporate citizen" should be. But since the advent of the globalized economy, there is no such thing as a good corporate citizen. It used to be that CEOs would get together and participate in civic clubs that would actively look for ways to help their community. Corporate bigwigs at one time were invested in their communities; now they donate to local foundations, if you're lucky.

    They don't create the sense of permanence they used to because they no longer have one.
    This is a GREAT point. its happened to a lot of smaller and even medium sized cities in a dramatic way. the Derby Festival here in Louisville has experienced funding issues as a result of this. corporations that were once local increasingly are not as its hard to get an ok or commitment from HQ to participate in any way. its sad because in some cases companies that once boasted civic pride no longer can - they feel as though their hands are tied because the decison making process lies thousands of miles away in some cases.

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