Every two weeks members of the Snowmass Village Town Council sit behind a table with the TV cameras rolling. They are addressed by members of the community, Town staff, developers, board members, and others asking them to make decisions for the good of Snowmass Village – many of which have a big price tag associated with them. There are expectations and deadlines, personal dynamics and politics (perceived or actual).
On September 3, Council had the opportunity to step away from the microphones and into the more intimate setting during a retreat facilitated by Interim Town Manager Gary Suiter.
Council retreats are an effective tool to improve working relationships and communications skills amongst Council members. Retreats also provide an excellent opportunity to create alignment behind high level goals and objectives, review and discuss current programs, plan for future needs, and to determine priorities.
Suiter is no stranger to facilitating high-level strategic discussions. Since 2001, he has operated a consulting company specializing in local government management, strategic planning and implementation, organizational analysis, and policy development.
“Hopefully what I brought to the retreat was some perspective,” said Suiter. “We are a unique and world-class resort community. But, the challenges and opportunities our Council faces are similar to those experienced in other mountain towns. From what I’ve seen, we’re heading in the right direction. A retreat like this gave us the opportunity to take a deep breath, and work together to find ways to smooth the path forward. ”
Specifically, the group had six objectives:
- Improve “Council dynamic”
- Clarify roles and responsibilities
- Discuss Council protocol and “ground rules”
- Develop working agreements
- Become more strategic
- Maintain candor and humor
Through a series of posts, we’ll dive deeper into a few of these topics, and provide an inside look at what Council members learned about each other, their roles and goals, and how to defeat “the swirl.”