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Plans to tear down old Cole County jail and sheriff's house move forward April 16, 2014

Your Opinion: Volunteer effort: By the numbers

Dear Editor:

I’m an engineer. That usually means people think I like numbers and math. Well, truth be told, I may use math and science most every day, but numbers don’t get me too excited. It is what numbers help me understand about something that makes them so interesting and get me energized.

I served on the Steering Committee and was an Action Team co-chair during the process of Transformation over the last 18 months or so. I suppose the engineer in me got me thinking — I was curious what the estimate of hours invested in our community and its future were over the last 18 months. So I started counting.

Of course, I do not have access to everyone’s calendar who participated, but I’m going to just count the volunteer hours (no chamber staff hours) invested. I looked at my own calendar and found the estimate of my personal time as a co-chair was about 70 hours in meetings alone. That does not count the time preparing for the meetings or studying the issues. Multiply that by 18 co-chairs and you have 1,260 hours.

The Steering Committee was also comprised of non co-chairs and I estimated another 320 hours of investment there. Then I looked at my Action Team alone. We had monthly meetings all together, but also had four subcommittees who met in between.

Just over six months of the heaviest activity, I estimated 660 hours were invested in those meetings. Multiply that times nine Action Teams (and I know some met more than we did) and you get 5,940 hours invested in Action Teams. That puts my total estimated investment conservatively at over 7,500 hours of the best brainstorming, vetting out of issues, and proposing ideas that create the most opportunity for us as a community.

So, those numbers lead me to ask two questions. Has there ever been anything the citizens of this city have rolled up their sleeves and invested this much time debating and brainstorming about to get to the current proposal to the voters? Will we ever have this opportunity again?

Please join me in voting yes Feb. 7.

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