Steamboat Springs City Council to set goals at retreat on Tuesday
March 10, 2014
Steamboat Springs — The Steamboat Springs City Council hopes to walk away from Centennial Hall on Tuesday night with a list of clear, measurable goals.
And with no council seats up for election until November 2015, Council President Bart Kounovsky said Monday the planning session should reach beyond this year.
"It’s good we’re taking some time to look at longer-term items rather than a yearly goal-setting session," Kounovsky said.
Tuesday’s retreat is the second and final half of a planning session with local facilitator and motivational speaker Todd Musselman.
While the first half of the retreat focused more on relationship building and procedural issues, such as whether it was appropriate for council members to eat at meetings or glance at their cellphones, Tuesday’s session is expected to center around setting the priorities of the council.
Community members who are interested in learning more about this current council’s priorities can attend the public work session at Centennial Hall starting at 4 p.m. They also can email their ideas to the council at any time.
The council hasn’t held a goal-setting session with new members Scott Ford and Tony Connell, who were seated in November.
Council member Kenny Reisman said Monday that not having a list of goals or priorities to refer to can be a challenge for the council and sometimes results in the body going off on some "random directions."
"Normally, we’ve done this out of the gate" after the new council is seated, Reisman said. "It’s been kind of a struggle for us on council the last four months. We haven’t had these targets out there to work toward, and for staff to understand what our priorities are."
When the council decided to forgo a chance to purchase into a solar garden, for example, Kounovsky pointed out sustainability didn’t make it as one of the top five priorities the council set in 2012.
But he said those priorities could be different under the new council and have an impact on future energy decisions.
Reisman said the goal-setting process "allows us to get something that we can keep coming back to and remind ourselves of."
In addition to setting some specific goals, council members also have indicated they want to revisit and discuss their expectations for City Manager Deb Hinsvark.
The topic came up last week when two City Council members expressed concern about Hinsvark’s use of work product to send confidential emails to the council on preliminary city projects.
Hinsvark said she used work product because she was asked recently by a number of council members to keep them better informed on city projects.
Reisman said last week that by not more clearly laying out its expectations of the city manager, council was creating a "no-win" situation. He wanted the council to discuss its expectations for Hinsvark at Tuesday’s retreat.
The recent retreats with Musselman mark the first time in several years the council has turned to a facilitator to help with strategic planning and goal setting.
Council’s last goal-setting session came more than a year ago when it worked with Hinsvark on a set of measurable goals that ranged from increasing the financial performance of the Howelsen Ice Arena and the Steamboat Springs Airport to creating a sustainable pay plan for city employees.
What should be a goal of the council in the coming months? Leave a comment below.