Hennepin County's greatest strengths and challenges
One of the county's greatest strengths is its diverse staff, Goettel said, adding she is continually impressed with employees' knowledge and commitment.
“I appreciate all the hard work and years of service," Goettel said. “Many of them come back and volunteer even after (retirement). That speaks volumes."
One of the county's greatest challenges is its aging workforce, Goettel said.
“Those people who have been here for decades matter. They are a treasure trove of information," she said. Capturing their knowledge and wisdom is important for the county's continued success.
Goettel said she also sees challenges in the criminal justice system, particularly around addiction and mental health issues. By rethinking how to meet such needs during and after incarceration, the county may be able to help people live more productive lives.
Additionally, as chair of the budget committee, Goettel sees the impact of unexpected events. Despite good planning, challenges such as the opioid crisis can result in overruns. While the county uses reserves to make up the difference, it must rebuild those reserves as well.
She said she's most excited about the potential to be creative in finding solutions to challenges. Whether it's learning how Nashville, Tennessee, is reducing homelessness or how jails out east are embedding mental health staff, Goettel said she wants to learn how Hennepin County could apply lessons for its own success.