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Down east in Carteret County it is not uncommon to run into someone who is retired from the armed services in civil service. In Pine Knoll Shores the mayor and the town manager were previously in the air force and marines, respectively. Often times a military professional will be in their mid-forties, after twenty years of service when retirement is an option. Brian Kramer (PKS Manager) retired as a Marine Colonel on a Friday and started at Pine Knoll Shores the following Monday. He jokes about the adjustments to civil service and peppers his leadership with anecdotes and military jargon.

The OODA Loop is more than jargon, though, and I can use it to keep track of where I am at on my assignments. Observe Orient Decide Act – a classic military strategy developed by Air Force fighter pilot John Boyd, is not as simple as it seems because of the loop. Decisions and actions loop back to the observation phase, which also includes other inputs. The Orientation phase is a complex, five point, interrelated process. Kramer offered the OODA loop as a work flow model for guiding effort on tasks. On my permitting system research, I am somewhere between observe and orient.

A great help to me in the permitting system work are UNC School of Government list serves. After joining the NC-Permit list, I found I was already a member of a good number of SOG list serves, I just didn’t realize all the other options available. I reviewed the archive and posted my question: A small town of 1300+ year-round citizens and 10,000+ summer citizens with an average annual permit income of $58,000 is looking for permitting system recommendations. I had terrific response, from simple thumbs up or thumbs down, to lengthy, detailed feedback on one of the systems we’re considering.

Projects from the last few weeks are into the action phase after being approved at this week’s Board of Commissioners meeting. I presented on three different topics and received the go ahead to submit a grant I had prepared – so the Action phase is underway on that task, and is ready to loop back to the orientation phase of implementing the grant, if approved by the funder.

Maritime forest canopy at Trinity Center, PKS, NC

A meeting with Kramer, after his return from vacation, has added a number of things to my list. Investigate automating accounts payable – something not too costly, we need efficiency but don’t have the volume to justify a costly system. Another grant application is on my plate as well, this time a FEMA Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG). My instructions were prefaced with “Kramer is 0 for 10 with this grant”. The challenge has been laid down!

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