What Is The Secret?

For Mayor of Molalla
Molalla City Council member since 2006
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"Putting the unity back into Community"

Government Experience
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Government Experience
A Plan for the future

Government Experience of James G. Needham, Jr.

Molalla Board of Education
In April of 2000, as an elected member of the Molalla River Board of Education, Jim saw the opportunity to utilize the Internet as a means of keeping the public informed of information regarding the School District activities and Policies they would otherwise be denied unless they attended School Board Meetings and Worksessions.  At his own expense he established a 'template' for the School District's first website (http://www.geneonet.com/MRSD/). Although he suffered significant personal and professional criticism, he had the courage to provide the public with information concerning School Board minutes, policies, and other relevant information concerning the School District's public decision-making and operations.

During Jim's tenure as an elected member of the Molalla River Board of Education, he served upon the Policy Committee and Public Relations Committee.  He helped to organize the District's "Key Communicators" group.  The purpose of the group was to provide an efficient and effective means of communication between the public and the School District by engaging members of the District constituency, occupying "key" positions in the community (faith-based, volunteer, community service, commercial, and other organizations) leaders to provide free and timely information exchange between the community and the District.

While serving as a member of the Molalla River Board of Education from 1999 to 2003 Jim gained substantial knowledge and experience at developing policies and procedures to implement State and Federal education mandates. It also gave him the opportunity to lobby for revision of State CIM and CAM laws when Federal “No Child Left Behind” mandates began to produce redundancy of testing programs and overlapping standards. As a member of the District Policy and Public Relations Committees he had many opportunities for public speaking, encouragement and oversight of strategic alliances, planning, organizing, and outreach to surrounding communities, the State and the region. While serving as a Public Relations Committee member he assisted in the development of the District website and initiating the District “Key Communicators” program to keep patrons informed of District activities and decision-making, in addition to rumor suppression.

Molalla City Council
In October of 2006 Jim was appointed to the Molalla City Council and then won election in November of 2008.  In January, 2009, when Jim saw the effects of the current economic crisis reducing the ability of government to meet the increased needs of the multitude who are suffering most, it became clear that the City Council needed to make it a goal to engage Molalla's social service stakeholders in a collaborative strategy session - a Community Summit.  Thursday, May 28, 2009, over 40 social service providers, a representative from Congressman Kurt Schrader's office, city of Molalla, and local faith-based, 501c(3), volunteer, and service groups met for approximately three hours to discuss needs in the local area and ways to network the services available.  The summit was organized by the city of Molalla, Foothills Community Church and Molalla Weed and Seed.  There were four areas identified as primary needs:  Housing, Healthcare, Employment, and Family Skills.  The discussion which followed was directed toward indicating how each of the participating organizations addressed those needs and what kinds of obstacles these organizations encountered in providing their services.  Another very important outcome of this meeting was the development of the Molalla Area Social Services Directory.  The city is now exploring options for a second Community Summit to continuing to build upon the strong base established in 2009.

Molalla received statewide recognition by the League of Oregon Cities for this innovative approach to community-based collaboration, communication, and coordination of resources.  The concept has caught on and Molalla TEAM (Team for Economic Action in Molalla) has sponsored two "Business Summit" meetings, and the community enhancement volunteers of the Molalla Main Street program are sponsoring a much more comprehensive Community Summit to engage stakeholders from Business, Social Service, Education, and Government at a meeting which was planned for January 28, 2010.

He was elected Chairperson of the Molalla Budget Committee in 2007, 2008, and again in 2009. Another unprecedented project the City of Molalla participates in is the Molalla River Alliance, a coalition of many environmental and other organizations to promote, protect and enhance the Molalla River Recreation Area, where Jim served as a member of the Outreach and Public Relations Committee. He was a member of the Molalla Urban Renewal District advisory board and serves as a member of the Urban Renewal Agency.  The Urban Renewal District was a critical component of the city's plans for developing new revenue sources to fund road maintenance and development of blighted areas.