The Cities | John Phillips and R.I Mayor Dennis Pauley & Dr. Bruce Polay | WQPT

Uploaded by WQPTPBS on 05.10.2011

production funding for the cities is provided by a grant from the doris
victor day foundation
the end of an era for one community and after making music for sixty years the
they ain't going to stop now
welcome to the cities
tonight maestro and his symphony will tell you about classical musicians you
may not have heard of before
but first remember the quad cities of the late nineteen eighties farm equipment
manufacturers were still shutting down their doors
people relieving
the riverfront were depressed areas casinos
who'd bet on it here
well with that is our backdrop
why would somebody agreed to come to the cities
to try to do the impossible help revitalize our rust belt community
let's ask the man who did just that
joining me now is rock island retiring city manager john phillips how are you
doing great enjoying here is the mayor of rock island
dennis pauley mister mayor alwayss glad to have you here once again
john this is your last week of work in the big city of rock island it has been
twenty four twenty five years as the city manager
want me to decide time now to go
well i just felt it was time for a change have been in this business
twenty almost twenty five years in rock island i was he administrator rockford
for five years of thirty years a city administrator city manager and about
close to forty total
in local government
so it just seemed to me maybe it's time to step back
and see if there are other things i want to do and i also think it fits
not a bad idea maybe for the community to have uh... a pair of fresh eyes
looking at
the operations
maybe they've got some ideas that i'm rejecting today because he tried in
fifteen years ago and they didn't work
but let's be honest of city manager
is not be a sure job you've seen them go
in davenport, bettendorf and moline as well
during your twenty three years and and you've had a staying power where you
well first of all the community is stable
uh... ray botch there sixteen years and the neil nelson who was there ten years
before me so that probably is a record of
of uh...
more than fifty years of
three city managers
so there is a history that so there is a culture of professional government was
strong policy leadership from the elected officials
that rely on people like myself and my staff to
help them carry out their goals and objectives and so
that tradition and culture certainly has been a a big help to my longevity but
there could also be a lot of friction between the elected officials the alderman
the mayor hear as well as the professional staff we've seen that in
other cities you had a long tenure with
mark sweibert the former mayor
part of the the consistency that you think rock island had
one is other things we do that not every community does for example we have an
annual strategic planning session
where the council in their work together
to try to determine the most important priorities well that's important for
staff because it provides clear direction and it's also a team building
opportunity for them so the mayor and the counsel spent two days together
uh... to talk about their feelings in their wishes in their goals for the
community so
there's some techniques that are really important to keep the team together
what is interesting mr mayor is
that it'd be if you believe that you don't have all the answers in the world
and you take office
the city administrative city managers the person you turn to get all the
advice and to help you get through your job
when I was elected he
came into office and we talked about
is what uh... is responsible is or what my response was a
uh... maybe work extremely well together john was a great mentor
he come he would always update me you know what was going on around the
council and that we do have discussions among council members and
with me there sometimes a little heated but at the end of that we try not to do it
at the council on the council floor
in a number of ways though you are
are uh... uh... letting john know that he is going be missed i know that you
have a a proclamation for friday
friday is john phillips day in the city of rock island
last night we had a nice event for a volunteer appreciation night which is
also john a going away party for john as i said that i would say anywhere john
at all to a professional that is viewed as a job the best of any city manager of
ever seen do it involve a lot of city manager here's how would you be spending
john phillips day
i'll be spending it at work
hopefully I'm going to come in the afternoon celebrated with john I'm sure we will have some cake and other
to be you'll be celebrating it by packing up the last u working a lot
just in your office ready offer a successor will talk about that just a
moment mr mayor but i mean it really is winding down i think that reality i
hasn't quite set in well you're right
you know i find myself talking about
projects that we were involved in and i still using the word we
when i should say the city's plans
after your spend this much time involved in a job like my need you new
become passionate about it it becomes part of you so
i guess i'll see how that adjustment goes but i will stay involved in the
community and to live in the community and sure there'll be other ways that i
can help
rock island and the whole quad cities
to be even a better place in the future you came to the quad cities in january of
nineteen eighty seven from rockford a much bigger cities
what are you nuts i mean do you know what rock island was like back then the quad
was just going downhill fast
it was there were problems with the city had uh... two million dollar deficits in
the general fund we
were uh... seemed decreases in assested value actually we lost about one third
of the cities uh...
property values
back in there
late eighties and early nineties so
yeah it was uh... it was a challenging thing and i guess i looked at it that
way but the other thing that attracted to me
uh... rock island did have a council manager former government
with a culture of a professional approach to dealing with problems that
was enough
political or partisan
uh... environment
and people work together to try to deal with issues so i felt that
the whole community was willing to try to get behind efforts to
make a difference to improve the community were gonna get personal
uh... conflicts or debates
they were really interested in working together to decide what's best for the
no i wasn't here in eighty-seven arrived in the mid nineties one of things i was
told us that if you look at downtown rock island in eighty seven the only
thing i was there was mckays
other than that there was nothing that now you take a look you didn't have the casino
boat used to be there you've got a vibrant district that other communities
have tried to copy has certainly tried to emulate
and is that where you think that nugget
of growth started for rock island
i think that was part of that uh... the whole economic development area working
with businesses emory got that tom's pressler to locate
and our southwest area worked with several other businesses and expansions
you know one of the most dramatic changes in that twenty five years is the
riverfront and the downtown
the riverfront uh... sunset park was about the other way to access the river
and we had no botanical center no bike path
uh... say nothing about sweibert riverfront
or or the sylvan slow natural area
or uh...
assets like that features for our community there is no district obviously
so uh... there's been a lot of progress over that time and i i think those are
the things i most proud of
i know it's you know when i first got here the first thing i thought about
what i think rock island i've thought of the district now i think of rock island i think
strong neighborhood association said that the city has that really has
kind of become back
bone for the residential areas of rock island
yet really has and again that that didn't exist twenty five years ago i
by the city council and our staff
really worked hard to try to help neighborhoods organizing the open to
engage citizens in their neighborhood
in a lot of cities there's conflict between neighborhoods in the city you
want to see you gonna do for us
but rather than working together to figure out how can we work together to
make things better for our neighborhood
work in partnership
several neighborhood plans a broadway area the keystone area
uh... there's several a neighborhood plans and we did that
really have resulted in and i think a lot of positive activity in our
neighborhoods and
it's better for the citizens that live there on when we talk about when you got
your eighty-seven how bad the deficit wise and rock island has scene
good times better times and still
some tough times like all the cities are seeing right now what what do you see
right now as far as the finances for the city are concerned
a lot you had a number of meetings about that earlier this year that we try the
mayor about i mean the financial footing seems to be there but you just don't
know what's around the corner well it is going to continue to be challenging this
economic cycle where an nationally and at the state level
what it means is you're not going to see revenues like sales tax and a share of
income tax
uh... coming back to the cities
good to see those increasing very much over the next few years so we are kinda stable
the challenge of me to continue to keep costs as low as you can
and do your best to provide city services but it will continue to be a
challenge the positive thing for rock island is
we're starting off work were staying in good financial shape we just had the
financial report
we met our goals for fund balances in the general fund
uh... we've got still got a pretty aggressive capital improvement plan we
could do more about we've got a pretty aggressive campaign from plans to leave
uh... funding to do that
we just had our bond rating
i reaffirmed at a double a two-level which is a very good level
uh... for for us and so
were starting in good financial shape
uh... and i think
they've been the most important thing is for the city to continue to make the
financially when they need to be made
you see so many governments
differing those decisions delaying those decision as as this phrase has been
used a lot kicking the can down the road to someday in the future
and the problem is
uh... they dig themselves into a big hole
and then it really is difficult to get out but we've certainly mr mayor scene
and on the state level
john I'm sure is alluding to because
beginning about some of these governors in the past in illinois have always
wanted to have these big projects that their names could be associated with but
their legacy is actually
like he said a can that is kicked down the road huge budget deficits it's not
sexy bought
is one of john's legacy is the fact that the city is in pretty good financial
footing definitely the we
we are a lot of the great shape that were in because of john's leadership in that
area and the issue when he comes in the budget session he's laid out for us and
telling us this is how we have to do it in order to keep the raties in order to
stay within our uh... in order to increase in provider excellent
services for city council had to do a nationwide search for someone to
replaced john and you found a guy who's name so great to have to say it twice
what they say about new york new york is next thomas thomas from
macon georgia what made you pick thomas thomas that we have
sixty people to choice from we narrow it down
narrow it down to seven the final three were all excellent choices
but thomas just have the answers that were a little aboe the others but
again nineteen years so uh... city experienced and he has an excellent
financial background
so he was just the right fit for the return when john was saying that perhaps
you know it's a new blood in new set of eyes is a good thing is there's
something that you want your news city manager to look at
perhaps with a different set of eyes but we're going to look at everything
as john would do you have to look as entire budget you have to look at
is are we doing all the right thing to do something that we should be doing
differently that we've just been looking at a one-way all this time we should we
look at something we don't know you were an excellent financial shape we want to
stay there but it never hurts to thing that is a close look at things i know he is
sitting next to see you feel compelled to say nice things about my understand
that mr mayor but your mayor you run the place you can say whatever you want
what do you think is going to be the biggest thing that you're gonna lose
with john phillips leaving his office as if he's not sitting right so i think
what what will really lose is john has a report with all of
the uh...
leadership of the city
and he's probably hired most of the directors of the city they've all worked
very very close has a team you bring in somebody different they don't know how
they are going to mesh with a new person so for a while to be extremely difficult for them
to to figure out the how they want to work together john i was able to do
that so well over all the years is that one of things that you like leaving
behind as a staff if you think is going to work with whoever does replace it
well i think i have a good team
and uh... now the team has been together a long time
uh... some of them have been there
from the very beginning when i came couple you're still there
and the rest of their ten fifteen years so
i've got a good team
you know you have the chemistry of got have the confidence in the leadership
it's like any organization you've got to work together
and i think overtime i have the opporunity meet mister thompson who participate in
the city's goal
setting session that we had
and uh... i a very very personable
person and i think
he's going to respect
the skills and
experiences of of some of that leadership team and i think that we find
that you can understand the apprehension
of uh... some of the
department heads because of the change we haven't had a lot of it for some time
and let's take a look at it like you said your you're leaving you're trying
to get all the loose ends tied up i'm sure
but you keep saying we
and us was i doing that again well you say before you have a fine right now
uh... it's a hard not to look ahead even though
your tenure is and it what do you
what do you hope is accomplished in the months ahead as far as what you were strategically try
to do for rock island
well there's a lot of projects that excite me frankly i think we're in a
really good position i feel really good about that i wouldn't want to be leaving
at a time when i felt that things were not good
we talked about the financial condition of the city which is very positive
but challenges ahead as it when it comes to budgeting
uh... but there's a lot of projects we've got a lot of investment in the
city there's thirty two new businesses in the last year and we've got out
a dozen expansions that were quietly working on
uh... you know even if half of those happen in the next year
i think uh... i think they'll be a lot to say in a year from now about
growth and investment in jobs in the community so those are some of the
important things we've that a new police facility we just started the planning
of that
uh... we really need that you've probably seen our police facility and
what are you trying to imply
i've seen the other side of it
well i didn't want to go there. you took us there so
anyway on most of the facilites we have made investments thats one
that is still on there way
on i think the cities in pretty good shape and well-positioned to move
and to be uh... real great place to live in an important part of the quad cities
so it's almost like a i'm being handed to another person you don't
expect any lapse in in city services the general public shouldn't even notice the
difference by then we may have one new complained and said he doesn't want to
get their streets fixed
yes not the
i feel that everything is going to go over well
expect of course if you hiccups with when you have somebody new coming
in you do have to work out all the little problems in between but i don't
expect to serve as a suffering all that should be great we will
look at the budget extremely carefully to make sure that we stated good shape
solid shape of the budget
john what what do you think uh... is going to be a retirement plan you said
you do plan on staying in rock island you plan on
being a particpant in your city for
at the same level you do right now
right well i have one volunteer uh... commitment that i've made it's gonna
take some time it's called pioneering healthy communities
and uh... that is
is working on the west side of rock island tried to
provide an environment and policies that
encourage people to live healthier lives both in terms of diet and exercise
that's gonna be a couple year commitment and uh... i'm excited about that i think
there is real opportunity
throughout our community for that
beyond that i'm trying to say no to most uh... offers for volunteer or other
opportunities but after a month or two
who knows i might say
you know i really would like to get back involved maybe in the job market or
employment some kind
or some other volunteer effort
and at that time if i'm ready then i'll have the opportunity to do what i want
to do
and himself
in any event i expect to be involved
and mr mayor you were saying for john phillips is that he has kind of a
permanent uh... reminder of his uh... impact in his vision in the quad cities
reportedly telescope down at sweibert park
phillips look out
and is for uh... is dedicated to john for all the twenty-five years he spent
looking out for the city of rock island which is kind of sweet idea and you're
hoping to use for people that are eagle watching it fit what do
you love the river right
and what what a great way and the
uh... than the one of the greatest assets of the quad cities that were
neglected for so many years is river that is really a touching salute
your really as i really appreciate it
as kind of cool
the play on the words too
uh... but no i think that river front is one the proudest things of course i
don't do anything alone but i had a part of that
um... there was a real vision from the mayors in councils in the past two
to reclaim our riverfront and we have worked together to try to accomplish
that so
as a great place to have that
will phillips name there by the telescopes on are really appreciate that
gesture that that's great
mr mayor john congratulations your retirement that
perhaps could not come through soon for you but
and a lot of people who are at the latest a little bit longer thank
you for joining us
our music tonight comes from the knox galesburg orchestra performing
shostakovich is tenth symphony
under the direction of our next guest doctor bruce pola here's the knox
galesburg symphony
that's the knox galesburg symphony before we get to learn more about the
highly regarded knox galesburg symphony let's find out about some the events in
store this weekend as lora adams goes out and about
we've got to pumpkins festivals haunted houses and music on tap as we go out about
high i'm lora adams on wqpt frontline takes
the wounded platoon
the film follows a single platoon as they deal with the aftermath of the war in
our area take a hayrack ride close, corn or spook maze to much more can be
at the quad cities pumpking festival at adventure quest all watch pumpkins fly
when the pumpkin cannon visit country corner u_s_ highway one fifty two miles
north of alpha and its pumpkin extravaganza at the quad cities
botanical center can special pumpkin related events take place sunday
afternoon in october and the hillcrest resort presents a renaissance
joins celebrating the elizabethan world then come dressed in your favor
renaissance costumes plus there's a haunted house at southpark mall
this year the revamp how says sixteen room more scary in the next
sure to get your heart racing
on stage circa 21 opens there new production the marvelous wonderettes which
takes into nineteen fifty-eight what you mean one direct four girls with big
hopes and dreams just as they get their condolence cards with voices to match
for information on these and other events log on the wqpt dot
as always thank you so much lora now for sixty years the knox galesburg symphony
has been turning heads
a small community with a liberal arts college has been able to leave 'em
mark in the music world
with a touch of class but also plenty of fun
well tonight we're lucky to have with us the
maestro is spent three decades growing his symphony into a respected nucleus of
talented musicians much of the credit goes to this man doctor bruce polla he is a
three-time illinois conductor of the year receiving his latest on our last
spring and the knox galesburg symphony has been honored three times as illinois
orchestra of the year please welcome maestro bruce pola their is great
to see uh... model wonderful thing i don't think they are not making any of
that out those are accolades that have been given by other professionals to u
one honor is and and like i was saying in the introduction earlier in the show
people the quad cities may not even heard
of the knox galesburg symphony
that's a shame
well we there're a lot of things to do in life
were a city of thirty three thousand surrounded by corn
and so it takes an hour to get there
from here
and uh... frankly uh... most of the musicians in the orchestra live uh...
at least an hour away an average
core player uh... drives an house each way in good weather to get to us and you
think about that and you think of some of these big city detroits uh... opera
house i believe
detroit symphony folded you talking about
the arts they're going away in large cities
in here your thriving i don't i just off but you're still able that they continue
one of the interesting thing about that is that the majors
uh... we have really talk about the majors because chicago baltimore
las angles for monica new york for monica at they have their own clientele
in their own level
but there are many orchestras like ours
then uh... the quad city symphony peoria symphony others that are very fine
orchestras on that us survive because the community supports them
on when i came the galesburg in eighty three i coin the phrase
that we're not a community orchestra were an orchestra of the community
and i think that in beds the fact that we're there to stay and we're there to
focus on the uh... building a better environment for the city of galesburg
and the key thing is bringing life to a community and the arts are the life
well that's very very true it we think about the arts as something that uh...
as an historical documentation
we look at the arts that which has survived history
uh... and what we yes we we know about war as we know about
other kinds of historical
things but when we look at the artifacts of history from the artistic side we
find out what the culture was made up
dr pollia during your first uh... performer g featuring trumpeter jon
earnes great guy to see you must know booking these why do you like john
but john is a bag john as tall enough so that when i said a podium i still have
to look up to it
and he's a terrific guy he's a he's a wonderful presents he actually uh... is
a from a small town in wisconsin
and did both his bachelor's master's work in madison
is a terrific player great guy wonderful family manages places socks off the
and and that something that i meet people can relate to the trumpet
it will liven up will you be tapping your feet the blood
starts flowing yeah and and the check both of these concertos and i
asked john to do something very special
he is playing trumpet
um...big audience
rabble rousing it's it's a great pieces of fun piece it is a bullet immediate
it's always hopes always strong
is also playing the piccolo trumpet
uh... is playing it which was originally written
for violin
uh... but john just the kind of guy to do that
and um... so he's gonna be change his amish ernesto presence
as a trumpet player to playing the piccolo trumpet
that you are going to be featuring different
uh... musicians throughout the year i like in april old
friends i mean i thought you'd love to talk about this
the recital slash comments there are well yeah that's gotta be fun to be in
the perform but also get a little background
a little history and show a little bit of the heart and soul that you have
towards the music uh... its generous of you mentioned this uh...
a few years ago a friend of my jim nolan is a professor of political science at
university of illinois
are asked me to come up and play for a political uh... fundraisers any play and
they'd rebuilt this wonderful buildings and now called the bistro
and uh...
i looked at jim needed the refurbishes places it was very well there was no
old piano i suggest that you are to have a concert series
so we developed a concert series there and other places uh... with our guest
artists and john will be performing with me up into law
but uh... later uh... jim said well you know bruce is everybody likes what you
have to say before it
may commentary before each of the performances and sometimes actually
and fa fa
and uh... you might why down you do a concert of your own
so i looked at my old friends which of the old tunes that i played when i was
and uh... developed this bruce and old friends
so we replicated both tulon and galesburg ability to discuss the
has got to be very special
well the interaction of knowing something about the music and and had
the idea presenting something to an audience
you love and you want them to love
and so you think it's people the option to know a little bit more about the
to become involved with it and uh... too
intersect with
interactm as you start the sixtieth anniversary
of the knox galesburg symphony were sent to me what you want people who have a never stepped
foot in and hear you
think about
to hear them think about here then think you've got something i felt that you've got
you got untapped resource for some people have never been that's right
the symphony i'd always mention the people that
the symphony is not the only answer to music-making but the symphony is a great
part that often is uh... is neglected
uh... and if people whatever sampled the symphony
uh... particularly beautiful hall eicher or orpheum theatre uh... they don't
really get a chance to choose anything else that would be like going to same
fast food restaurant if you like all your life um... and never trying
something that's wonderful
and uh... it gives people an opportunity you noted to test the waters for
something different
and actually
right now
now is make this this analogy
if your chicago bears fan in you've never been to soldier field you're
really not a bears fan
and so when you come to the symphony oh i love
beethoven i put it on my headphones all the time that sounds artificial
the sound of a live
orchestra playing well
is remarkable sound and it's something
if there's a reason why it is existed for so long
the reason
beethoven's music is almost two hundred years old
and yet we still
we called the bold stroke we if we see it still fresh it;s still new it's played
by every major symphony orchestra every year
since that time
audience an item so there's something wonderful so that would be the thing
that i hope that people would bring in
and staying power
sixty years for the knox symphony congratulations that is what are we
appreciate you joining us
that knox galesburg symphony if he has a variety
of actual season ticket packages are available there are also individual and
discount ticket options
single ticket prices start at eight dollars and eightteen dollars children
children and students half price in the concerts
are held as you heard in a beautiful orpheum theatre that you can check out
the details by going to their website knox galesburg symphony dot org that
now wqpt is also celebrating hispanic heritage month in october
this tuesday were presenting a free screening of the documentary called a
class apart
alfred ramirez will lead a panel discussion discussing the hispanic
experience in the quad cities during the nineteen sixties and nineteen seventies
it's at six thirty tuesday night at the moline public library and of course you
can catch us every thursday night at six thirty an sunday night at five thirty
for another edition of the cities
production funding for the cities is provided by a grant from the doris and
victor day foundation
out and about is supported by ascentra credit union