Early impressions and big challenges
One of the things that has surprised Fernando most is the speed with which staff respond to commissioners' requests. Recently, as the board awarded grants to expand the tree canopy, Fernando asked how adding trees might affect air quality. That wasn't the primary purpose of the grants.
“By that afternoon I had in my literal mailbox a little study about air quality," Fernando said.
Listening to staff's expertise is important for Fernando.
“I'm one person," Fernando said, calling employees' decades of service and expertise an “amazing asset and gift to be able to unlock."
“A lot of what ends up crossing my inbox is a result of some collection of people asking meaningful questions five or 10 years ago," Fernando said, adding she's committed to asking the same kinds of thoughtful questions now to ensure leaders five, 10 or 50 years in the future can build on work being done now.
“I believe strongly that the voices of those being impacted by decisions and those implementing decisions should be the loudest. The staff here fall in one or both of those categories almost every single time," Fernando said. “It's quite literally every person's job here to be the loudest, strongest advocate on behalf of residents."