As the retreat approaches I really wanted to learn more so I reached out to each of the town council members. I asked them what’s the purpose of the retreat, who was invited, and what they hope to get out of the retreat. I got some incredible response I felt should be shared to give their thoughts about the retreat. Let’s start with Cheri Lee as she has the most experience with the retreats.
Cheri Lee- The retreat allows the council and staff to step away from day to day duties, so we can regroup and focus on the future of the town. Although it is an open meeting, it is a more casual atmosphere which can enhance the retreats effectiveness by giving us time to know each other and to do long range strategic planning for the town. Each retreat is a little bit different. It is important that we meet the specific needs of our group and reflect the unique context in which the council and staff are operating. These two days are the first of many strategic sessions.
I recently read a statement that really fits what we want to do: to accomplish things, sometimes you need less of a silver bullet and more of a silver BB gun…Several little steps which put together, will transform the team and accelerate its impact. As for taking it out of town, being away from the distractions of home life allows us a couple of days where we are solely dedicated to the task at hand and we can share ideas, research, and constructive criticism as well as bond as people not just coworkers. Being somewhere new and dedicating yourself to a purpose often makes team members come out feeling stronger together.
Tom O’Brien- 2018 Holly Springs retreat is open to the public, and during the two-day meeting, presentations will be made by Town Staff. Each department will provide updates and a budget overview. Council and staff work together to identify and prioritize certain projects needed.
Over the last year I have attended several HOA meetings to provide updates and receive feedback. The most consistent concern that I have heard is traffic. Some of the topics we will be covering are road improvements, tree preservation, and capital projects. These are just some of the items that will be covered. Our goal is to continue to make Holly Springs one of the best places to live.
Peter Villadsen- The retreat will give the new Council and Mayor the opportunity to address with each other any issues and goals that will allow us to be successful this coming year. This council is young: the average length of experience is just 1.8 years and it is so critical for Council to learn about each other and what our vision is for Holly Springs.
Most of the retreat will be spent discussing what Council has identified as being key topics: transportation, tree and historic preservation, Southern Area Planning Initiative findings, and parks & recreation. The goal is not only discuss these topics, but to come away with actionable items that will help address these issues in the coming years according to the vision of Council.
The retreat is exciting in that it gives Council and staff an opportunity to learn about each other on a more personal level. It is a great way to build trust and dialogue which allows each of us to do our jobs more effectively and successfully.
Dan Berry- I view the retreat as an opportunity for the council and staff to come together and discuss priorities for the year. It allows the staff to ensure they are operating the town in alignment with the Councils expectations.
Staff needs clear direction on what the Council’s expectations are and this is one of several opportunities throughout the year to ensure that alignment. It’s the Council’s role to provide guidance and feedback on items and be clear on establishing direction.
This year’s retreat is particularly important because of a rough and tenuous election cycle. There are undoubtedly questions from the administration, staff, and even council members themselves on how we can unite our thoughts for the town’s best interest and move forward.
Christine Kelly- Thank you for reaching out and asking me why I was looking forward to our upcoming town retreat. There are many reasons, but here are my top ones:
- To get to know the staff and other council members better. This will help us build better lines of communication and learn of everyone’s experience. I know the attendees are dedicated and passionate about our town, this retreat will help to understand a little more of why.
- The vision, mission, goals, strategies. I look forward to discussing these important topics as it relates to our town and where we want to be in the short and long term. Having this dialog will make sure that what decisions we make in the coming years will support our chosen direction and help prioritize projects based on resident input. It will also help us as we update several of our town plans.
- I had the pleasure of attending Essentials of Municipal Government training in January, a required training course for all newly elected officials and an excellent opportunity to learn the fundamentals of how a town is established and should operate. The attendees came from all over NC and I was able to meet and hear how other towns are coping with traffic, staff changes, social media adoption and other similar topics pertinent to Holly Springs. I look forward to sharing what I learned to help us discuss how we want to move forward with the opportunities and challenges our town is facing.
Thank you Town Council for taking the time…