Communication key to government success, Texas county judge says

Profiles in Power highlights public officials nationwide who are improving their communities through their dedication, enthusiasm, creativity and experience.

This week’s profile is Dustin Fawcett, county judge of Ector County, Texas.

Public career highlights and education: Many of my highlights so far have been leading transformational change within the county as an organization as well as throughout the community. We are laying the seeds of foundation for better emergency services outside of city limits, we hired a grant writer to help leverage local tax dollars with federal and state dollars, and we have hosted town halls for both citizens and employees to communicate more efficiently what our agenda is for the community.

My first great initiative upon taking charge was to improve communications among the 41 different directors and elected officials as well as with my employees. We did by starting a program we call “coffee with the judge.” Basically, I bring these directors and elected officials into my courtroom, and we discuss the status of major projects, major wins and things that they are looking forward to. In addition, we hold regular employee town halls where I invite the 700 employees to talk about what concerns they may have or ideas they’d like implemented. It has been very well received, resulting in a series of wins.

The other major initiative was to request a five-year strategic plan of all of my department heads and elected officials before going into budget. You want to have a vision and to be proactive rather than reactive, so those were the things that we did internally. And then when it came to the external, I knew that I had to go to the citizens in the best way possible. We are also improving external communications, being closer to our citizens by social media, going out into the town and the outer limits to talk and meet folk and listen to their concerns.

What I like best about public service: Educating the public about what the function of their local governments are, how to get involved and how to effectuate change. Government, especially local government, is not taught to citizens where they are educated about their tax dollars go.

The best advice I’ve received: “Never sacrifice your long-term goals for your short-term desires.” – football coach Mike DuBose

People might be interested to know that:  I played college football for years and had a blast doing it!

One thing I wish more people knew about county government: The unbelievable amount of services that counties provide to the citizens of our community. Counties carry out a majority of the services that the state of Texas is proud to produce.

Government Market News Staff

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