|This plan is a milestone in the Agency of Natural Resources' ongoing assessment of how well it is meeting its goals, and of the changing nature of its mission, operating environment, partnerships, and the tools we use to do our jobs. This Agency Strategic Plan for 2001-2005, adopted by the Secretary, is built on the plans and experiences of the past five years. It is a continuation and a refinement of that course, drawn from the collective experience and effort of the departments that comprise the Agency. The Agency plan and the department plans are tightly intertwined and, in fact, drive one another. It is also a statement of the priorities of the Agency Secretary.
This plan was reviewed within and outside the Agency between August and November 1999. As a result of the feedback we received, we refined it with an emphasis on the importance of: high-quality public service; efficiency in our management of permitting and regulatory matters; and partnerships for achieving our goals, especially with other Vermont state agencies, municipalities, and businesses. We believe that this plan, in combination with our departments' strategic plans, is focused on the right things. We believe the outcomes defined for 2005 are realistic and, taken together, will achieve our goals.
We heard differences of opinion on the degree to which we should protect our natural resources versus the rights and interests of landowners and businesses. We believe that this plan will translate into actions that are well-coordinated and balanced, and will make a real difference in our environment and to Vermonters.
Together with the department strategic plans, the Agency plan will be the basis for developing annual operating plans from which the Agencys budget is produced. It will guide how we act as an Agency and as a partner with others, particularly in concert with other Vermont state agencies and public and private organizations on issues of common concern.
Individual employee work plans and performance appraisals will link the work of each staff member to the operational and strategic plans, providing the final step in the flow from the Agency mission to the responsibilities of each employee.
The Agency and its departments are developing meaningful measurements of performance on specific strategies. The departments will have detailed measurements and information bases that are appropriate to each of their programs. These will be used to assess the overall health of Vermont's natural resources and our performance as an Agency in accomplishing our mission.
We want these to be real, on-the-ground measurements that matter to people, such as improvement in air and water quality, and the quality of a state park visit. We will also find ways to measure our performance in areas difficult to quantify, such as customer service, public involvement, and in dealing with the issue of smart growth. These measurements will enable us to assess our progress and, in some cases, to compare Vermont against other states and organizations. We expect to produce the measurements annually; we designed the pocket on the inside back cover of this document as a place to keep these annual updates.
We will continuously seek ways to communicate our Agencys mission, goals, and strategy and to create more effective partnerships in order to more fully accomplish our mission. We will use this plan to form internal decisions on priorities and financial resource decisions, and to share those priorities with our partners, including the Vermont Legislature and others who make decisions on funding.
We will pause to assess our accomplishments, our strategies, our challenges, and our opportunities annually and to revise our goals and strategies as necessary to stay on course. In this way, as departments and as an Agency, we will continue to measure and improve our performance. The result will be a natural environment that is good for Vermonters and other living creatures in the next five years and throughout the 21st Century.
Again, we encourage all Vermonters to share their comments about the Agency's goals and initiatives.
The 2001 -2005 Strategic Plan is published by the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources, 103 South Main Street, Center Building, Waterbury, Vermont 05671-0301.