San Carlos Mayor Matt Grocott has an idea of how the city can button up its identity following a series of service outsourcing moves -- shirts.
Actually, Grocott is also thinking hats or polos as long as they have the city emblem and possibly its motto "The city of good living." The attire would be handed out to every official, appointee and employee as a way to encourage the sense that San Carlos is a team rather than a city of piecemeal providers and separate governmental bodies.
"It could show that we're really all on one team," Grocott said.
The items would not be a mandated uniform but simply a piece of clothing to be worn as the owner chooses, particularly when representing the city at regional meetings or local events like Hometown Days. The shirt, jacket, sweatshirt or whatever is chosen could be given to officials or employees when they join the city as part of a welcome packet.
Grocott was prompted by seeing the police vehicles that once bore the city's name along with the Sheriff's Office star be switched to only the former so that the county law enforcement can more easily move its equipment among the cities that contract with it.
"We're not going to get that back so I asked myself what are some other ways we can bring about some identity to the city? Things like that can be important to employees as well as the commissioners and staff," Grocott said.
Grocott broached the idea at the City Council's recent strategic planning retreat. The council will consider it, along with other topics raised at the retreat, at a future council meeting.
But while the other councilmembers didn't dismiss the idea, the reaction was mixed. Vice Mayor Bob Grassilli, for one, wants to iron out the details first -- mainly the price tag.
"I don't mind spending and I'm not saying I'm against it. Some dollars might not be very much if it's a good thing for the community but we shouldn't necessarily spend public money arbitrarily," he said.
Grassilli compared the clothing proposal to that of an official city coin by former mayor Omar Ahmad. Grassilli and Grocott both voted against the idea in April 2011 but it passed and the city now hands out the coins as a thank you, congratulations, honor or mark of important circumstances. The cost of 300 coins was $2,500.
Grassilli opposed the coin because of the cost but concedes the city is in better financial shape now.
Councilman Ron Collins favors the idea of city attire as not only a sense of identity but a source of pride among employees. Collins said a "City of Good Living" baseball hat he received from the new fire department upon joining the council is his "hat of choice" and he is similarly proud to wear a city T-shirt.
If the plan doesn't cost too much, he thinks the city should explore the idea.
Grocott also takes price into consideration and said some of the work may already be under way as part of the city's earlier efforts at rebranding itself. The company hired by the city churned out some coffee cups and shirts as examples of what could be done and Grocott said those might be a good starting point.
Price aside, Grocott said the goal is to let San Carlos residents and workers know they are still a united community despite the Sheriff's Office having taken over police, some parks services having been outsourced and Redwood City in negotiations to fully absorb the fire department.
Grassilli isn't so sure that's a problem.
"My philosophy is that folks in San Carlos appreciate the services but don't necessary ask where the people live," he said.
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