Isle of Wight: A county that cares

Published 7:16 pm Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Supervisors in search of ‘true north’

By Ryan Kushner

Staff writer

The Isle of Wight County Board of Supervisors set out last week in search of the county’s “true north.”

They believe they may have found it in “choice” and “care.”

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“A community of choice that cares” is the county slogan supervisors settled on at the end of a two-day retreat in Suffolk last week, with “cares” serving as an acronym for Choice, Accountability, Rural, Ethics and Service. {mprestriction ids=”1,2,3,4,5,6″}

Supervisors were tasked by the retreat’s facilitator, Renee Rountree, with determining the county’s “true north” by pinning down what makes Isle of Wight County special. Developing a “true north” is a tactic utilized by Disney to provide direction for the company, according to Rountree.

They had the county website’s mission statement to go off of: “Our mission is to serve Isle of Wight County with the provision and enhancement of quality of life services for all citizens.” They also worked with the county’s current slogan: “A community of CHOICE committed to excellence,” which was developed around 2008.

The goal was to come up with something short and memorable.

Smithfield District Supervisor Dick Grice said he liked keeping “choice” in the slogan.

“It has connotations of freedom,” agreed Carrsville District Supervisor Rex Alphin.

From there, the Board brainstormed.

“A community of choice that we all call home,” said Windsor District Supervisor Joel Acree.

“A community of choice that we can be committed to,” said Grice.

“A family-friendly community of choice,” said Acree.

“A caring community of choice committed to excellence and citizens services,” said Newport District Supervisor William McCarty.

The decision on the motto, a “rebranding,” was given no small amount of weight during the retreat. It had to summarize what the county valued for current residents, attract future residents, and inform county staff of the values they are tasked with instilling in their work.

Grice liked the idea of simply, “We Care.”

The final form of the slogan was shown to department heads in the county on the second day of the retreat for their opinion.

Chief of Emergency Services Jeffery Terwilliger said he liked the idea of “choice,” that it instilled a sense of pride.

Economic Development Director Tom Elder said Chesapeake already had the tagline “A city that cares.”

“I don’t think it did a whole lot,” he said of the slogan for the city, but noted that he liked the inclusion of “choice” and the acronym for CARE.

Director of Information Technology Jason Gray suggested creating an online survey for residents to weigh in on.

Transportation coordinator Jamie Oliver said that the slogan should focus more on people outside of the county who don’t know what’s it’s all about.

McCarty responded that some citizens in the county might not think the county or Board cares. This would tell them, too.

“We’re saying … we do genuinely care,” said McCarty.

Alphin said the slogan it is a high bar to set for the county.

“It can be high fuel for ridicule” if things go wrong, he said.  {/mprestriction}