Guiding Principles

In the summer of 2017, shortly after taking office, Mayor Tom McNamara convened a two-part strategic planning session with City Council members and Department Leaders, facilitated by long-time management consultant and former Rock Valley College President Mike Mastroianni. The group developed the following Guiding Principles, which provide a lens to make decisions on City-wide priorities. The City Council formally adopted these on October 16, 2017.

Business Climate

Rockford is a business-friendly city that attracts and retains a wide range of industry, business and professional services in a climate that fosters entrepreneurship and small and minority-owned businesses through innovation.

Economy & Finances

Rockford uses sound financial management to provide value to its taxpayers, through a diverse economy with diversified revenue streams.


Rockford is a city of lifelong learners that values education and skilled trades training and provides crib to college options to support business, industry and the arts.

Entertainment & Quality of Life

Rockford is a river city with recreational, cultural, artistic and tourist attractions that cater to diverse tastes and nurture a creative class that contributes to the regional economy.

Infrastructure & Investment

Rockford is an accessible city with a forward-looking, sustainable and cost-effective infrastructure plan with steady funding that allows for timely maintenance and investment to drive economic growth across the entire city.

Leadership & Communication

Rockford practices true collaboration, along with shared vision and people working well together, to control its own destiny.


Rockford is a safe community with active and engaged citizens who have trust in and collaborate with first responders.

Safe & Vibrant Neighborhoods (Resident Quality & Inclusion)

Rockford values all its citizens, their knowledge and talents and the city offers residential options to promote economic strength and inter-connected neighborhoods.