2013 BOCC Strategic Planning Conference – Day One

Group1The annual Strategic Planning Conference is a critical step in providing the elected officials with information and the guidance they will need to make important decisions about the future of Mecklenburg County.

Since there are four new Board members, staff invited Dr. Carl Stenberg of the School of Government at UNC-Chapel Hill to provide a brief overview of the Council-Manager form of government. Dr. Stenburg offered a list of habits of high-performing boards.
1. Thinking and acting strategically and with a vision for the community’s future.
2. Respecting the “shared constituency” with the citizens in horizontal and vertical relations with other jurisdictions.
3. Demonstrating teamwork.
4. Mastering small-group decision making.
5. Honoring the board-staff partnership.
6. Allocating board time and energy appropriately in four key areas – goal setting retreats, study sessions, regular public hearings and meetings, and community relations.
7. Having and following clear rules and procedures for board meetings.
8. Conducting systematic and assessment of policy and implementation performance.
9. Behaving in a manner that encourages citizen confidence in county government.

Dr. Stenberg cautioned the Board not to expect a smooth working relationship with staff after just a few meetings. He says it takes time to get to know one another and develop respect for one another.

PattersonThen Lee Institute President Cyndee Patterson facilitated a discussion between the elected officials and County staff on working effectively together. As an ice-breaker, Commissioners were paired with staff one-on-one to learn more about each other.
Patterson identified some of the most important components, values or rules of engagement for any successful team:
•Listening with an open mind
•Respecting others for what they bring to the discussion
•Be accountable
•Trust
•Honesty
•Communications
•Accepting of others’ views
•Knowledge that we are advancing the ball for the good of the entire community
•Personal needs are secondary to the needs of the group and larger community

Breakout 1Day one wrapped up with the Board and senior staff prioritizing recommendations for a Working Agreement between the two.

The Top 5 goals include: 1)minimal surprises 2) be more prepared for meetings 3)more face-to-face, less email 4) accept accountability, and 5) give the manager a chance to analyze and fix problems.

Day two of the conference starts at 9:00 a.m. Thursday. On the agenda: Discussion about the Community Vision and Corporate Scorecard, how to develop the FY2014 budget including a briefing from two noted economists, and a staff update on the County’s financial status including revenues and expenses.

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