by Rocky Rogers,
Reedley City Manager
Sister City relationships are becoming relatively popular throughout the United States. Reedley has held sister city relations with foreign cities for well over a decade. It began with Tobu, Japan and then expanded to Tongyeong, South Korea. The Former Mayor, Joe Rhodes, was an active participant and advocate for sister city relationships.
Reedley is considering establishing relations with cities in Taiwan, Africa and El Salvador. Establishing a sister city relationship requires commitment, time and finances. Therefore, deciding to establish that relationship requires careful thought and consideration before taking the step toward that establishment.
To my knowledge, Reedley has never had a committee in which recommendations could be made to the City Council for sister city consideration — that is, until now. The City’s Human Resources Manager, Marissa Gonzales, has assembled a team of seven members to function in this capacity; working with Reedley’s current Sister Cities as well as making recommendations for other considerations, and working closely with the Sister Cities International Organization.
Sister Cities do have a value added function besides just being a great program to participate in or because other cities do it. Sister Cities are formed to promote, maintain and sustain a global understanding through exchange programs, letters, email, and personal or professional visits. They promote mutual respect through cultural exchange, educational programs and professional networking. They also help provide for economic opportunities and making strategies outside the normal tourism and/or occasional governmental exchanges.
Governmental agencies look at sister city relationships as a way to gain new insights into better police, fire, public works, recreational education, and economic functions and methods.
Sister City relationships aren’t easy and they certainly aren’t for the hobbyist or tourism enthusiast. They are for individuals and professionals who want more than what the boundaries of Reedley, Fresno County or even the State has to offer. Reedley chooses to reach beyond its borders and dares to share its smorgasbord of people, organizations and resources with others around the globe in hopes of a better Reedley and — who knows — possibly a better world.
If you would like to learn more, become a part of this exciting committee or be our cohort, please contact Marissa Gonzales: Human Resources Manager at City of Reedley, 559-637-4200 ext 210.
The next meeting will take place on September 20, 2010 at 3:30pm in the City Hall Council Chambers.