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Manager’s Message

Monday, November 21, 2022

It has been a whirlwind two months since starting as City Manager in September! The best words that describe my feelings are energized and optimistic. We are such a unique and amazing community, and I’m excited about tackling both the opportunities and challenges that face us.

An early priority for me has been to get to know the people who keep our City running and are working hard to make it better. I’ve been incredibly impressed by the dedication and expertise of our City leaders and staff. The reality is that like many organizations, we are also stretched thin after more than two years of fighting the pandemic. This is an important time to renew our culture, particularly as we seek to achieve the ambitious agenda set by the City Council and our community. I’m looking forward to investing in greater empowerment of our leaders, improving wellness and work/life balance for our workforce, and continuing our commitment to anti-racism, diversity, equity, and inclusion.

I want to highlight some of the amazing work that our City has done. I spent a half-day with our Police leadership, and I came away so proud of the commitment and spirit in the department. For more than 10 years, the Cambridge Police has made significant investments in progressive policing reforms and the sustained effort has produced real results. Cambridge Police was one of the first departments in the nation to implement procedural justice training in 2010, which focuses on improving community interactions through greater listening, transparency, care, and dignity. Recently, we were one of three cities participating in a national multi-site randomized research study that showed that these trainings resulted in reduced crime incidents and arrests, while improving community trust and relationships. Another example is Cambridge’s Safety Net Collaborative, a national model that has reduced juvenile arrests by 90% and supports youth through intervention and diversion strategies. And there are many more – including investments in trauma-informed care and our Police Cadet program. Commissioner Elow and her leadership team have a deep commitment to not just enforcing our laws but working toward the overall health and wellness of our community. While there is still more work to be done, we are moving in the right direction and with the right values.

I have also been reflecting on how the City better engages our diverse community and the many voices that are trying to speak on important issues. The reality is that many people feel unheard, and there is a broader challenge over how we make decisions when the community disagrees. I hope that we can continue to look for common ground while moving forward and that we will also have healthy community conversations, reflecting our urgency and passion, but also our empathy for each other, respect for our good intentions, and the dignity of everyone in our City. For the City’s part, I recognize that there is work to do to improve our communication, transparency, and responsiveness and this is a priority for me.

As part of this, I’m excited to be more accessible and find time to sit with residents and get feedback. I am hosting regular meet-and-greets across the city. Please visit Cambridgema.gov/MeettheManager to view the schedule. You are each important parts of our community, and I’m looking forward to hearing from you!

Yi-An Huang

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