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Old School VS New School

michaelskis

Cyburbian
Messages
19,481
Points
44
Just wondering if I am alone in this, but we seem to have an interesting situation. Our soon to be, chair of the planning commission is the retired senior planner. Here is where it gets confusing. He will come in at least once a week and make comments about everything under the sun... even if it is never going to go before the planning commission. Most of his comments make me realize that he does not understand the way things are in the planning world out side of our city. (He has never lived anywhere else) All the ordinances have changed, we have a new Comp Plan, but his reasoning is "this is the way that we have always done it." Oh and computers are just a fad, and have no use for planning. (He told me this when I was working on a GIS project) He thinks that he is gods gift to planning. But I want to ask him, if you are so good, why is it that the city have only gone down hill since he started working for the city. We can not say he can not come in here because he is on the planning commission, and our current senior planner idolizes him.

Does this happen to any one else?
 

Cardinal

Cyburbian
Messages
10,080
Points
34
I have seen a retired city clerk get on the city council. It was similar. This person resisted or blocked change when they were still working. As a council member, they could not see how the organization was modernizing. At least none of the city staff (or even most of the council) gave the person much credibility.
 

Repo Man

Cyburbian
Messages
2,550
Points
25
Over the past few years our plan Commission has shifted from Old School to new school. However for the most part Plan Commissioners and Common Council members have been very open to staff recommendations and new things. I think that they see the results of staff actions and realize that they actually work.

There are some other people in the region that I cannot say the same for. We have a head of a county-wide automated mapping committee (i.e. a GIS implementation body) who I believe still thinks computers are a fad. He sees no reason why anyone would need to be able to get a GIS map from the internet. As a friend put it "I think he is just waiting for this technology fad to pass so he can get back to drawing maps on paper."
 

Jeff

Cyburbian
Messages
4,161
Points
27
Welcome to planning in Pennsylvania! Your situation is quite common all across the state. Seems the old schoolers all went to the same school and learned from each other.

And none of them like computers...my old job we had 1980 Macintosh's (the ones with the 4" monitors) until 2 years ago, and most of our stuff was handwritten then given to a secretary to be typed...talk about archaic.
 

donk

Cyburbian
Messages
6,970
Points
30
I have this come up from other staff frequently. My response is to ask what year it is. (ie you are no longer the boss and the rules have changed since you last looked at them.)
 

Tom R

Cyburbian
Messages
2,274
Points
25
geezerism

I've seen this with planners that aren't all that old - 50ish. I think part of it is they probably went to school when, if they had a computer, it was fed with cards and for some reason they never adapted. Part of it might be that they stayed in one position too long and hoarded the institutional memory as a job security strategy. To a degree it works, but if you don't change you ossify. Just ask my avitar.
 

Dan

Dear Leader
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
17,846
Points
59
I haven't really encountered geezerism regarding technology. Regarding proces, though ... the staff reports I'm typing use the identical format, with identical standard wording, as those produced here in the 1980s. I catch hell if I so much as change a "shall" to "must," or a "prior to" to "before."

I wonder about old-school filing systems, too ... the "throw it all into one folder, duplicate, triplicate and octuplate copies be damned! Is there any reason to keep 5 24" x 36" copies of a site plan amendment that the applicant withdrew, or a 20 year old "while you were out" phone message slip? True old-school is keeping the files for all the development cases you've worked on in your office, like one place I worked. Someone comes in, asks about a subdivison, and you go from office to office to find which old-timer handled the project back in 1972.

Old, crusty old-school is writing every number, no matter the context, how large or small, as both a number and a word. "Submit two (2) copies on twenty four (24) inch by thirty six (36) inch paper sixty (60) days before the Planning Commission meeting." To see minutes that say "In the year of our Lord Jesus Christ One Thousand Nine Hundred and Seventy Five Anno Domini" is deep old school.

Planners in Texas and New Mexico that deal with occasional plats showing length not in feet and yards, or even chains and leagues, but in varas and smokes ... that's old school.
 

Tom R

Cyburbian
Messages
2,274
Points
25
?

Planners in Texas and New Mexico that deal with occasional plats showing length not in feet and yards, or even chains and leagues, but in varas and smokes ... that's old school. [/B][/QUOTE]

I've seen rods too, but you're stumped me. (Not really that difficult of a feat.) What are "varas and smokes?"

I'm the second oldest on the staff here and I'm the advocate of tossing the junk. (The best way to do it is just do it. Don't ask.) Some of the younger staff can tend to rely too mush on the computers, though. The old "Its backed up, nothing can go wrong." stance has been bailedout a number of times by a paper stash. Now that I think of it, the reverse occurs too. But it is hard sometimes to find a computer that still has the old 5 1/2 disc drive and the software that can real what is on them.
 

Chet

Cyburbian Emeritus
Messages
10,624
Points
34
We're in transformation right now

New School started getting a foot hold here about 7 years ago, when we hired our first Finance Director *with Masters Degree* (instead of just having an elected treasurer and a staff accountant), our first Park and Rec Director *with Masters Degree* (instead of just a groundskeeper and program admin)
our first City Engineer *with PE* (too bad he was arrested at work for kiddie porn)...

We have 3 dept heads left that are old school, but one of them is fairly progressive.

The "...but thats how we've ALWAYS done things..." comments are heard less and less these days.
 
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