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Meeting? What meeting?

Update: The town has released notes from the retreat including a set of potential action items. Items are copied and posted here.

The Town of Carrboro had a problem sending official notification of the annual Board of Aldermen retreat on Monday at the Seymour Senior Center. The board, mayor and senior staff met for several hours. Mayor Mark Chilton apologized for the error Tuesday and said Town Manager Steve Stewart was notifying members of the media and offering an apology for the breakdown in communication.

According to Chilton, the press was not notified save a posting in the lobby at Town Hall.

Members of the media and interested members of the public are commonly notified of upcoming meetings via email and through the town’s website.

No members of the media were present at the retreat and materials presented at the meeting have not been posted on the town’s Web site or made available.

The town did issue the following press release and meeting plan on the retreat:

Board of Aldermen Discusses Economy

On Monday, February 2, the Carrboro Board of Aldermen held its annual retreat for the purpose of reviewing the present economic situation and discussing its implications for Carrboro residents, businesses, and for the town’s budget, services, and capital programs.
The board received several presentations. Vance Holloman, Director of the NC Local Government Commission, discussed the state budget perspective as well as the many safeguards in place for local government investments. Nancy Coston, Director of the Orange County Department of Social Services, detailed increased demand for services in recent months. Margaret Henderson of the UNC School of Government discussed government/nonprofit cooperation. And, finally, Assistant Town Manager Bing Roenigk discussed implications for the Carrboro budget.
A board brainstorming session identified twenty-two potential action items. Among those given a high priority for immediate attention were trying to increase aid to agencies seeing increased client loads due to the recession, controlling the Town’s tax rate, and reviewing the results of surveys on the impact of the recession on Carrboro businesses and nonprofits.
Board members were pleased with the quality of the presentation and materials and expressed eagerness to move forward on the potential action items.
Carrboro Mayor Mark Chilton commented “the Board of Aldermen is focused on reacting to the recession and how it is affecting the Town Government and the citizens.”
The board will return to those and other items at an upcoming work session, probably on March 10.

Here is a copy of the meeting plan for the retreat.

Revised (1/26/09) Plan for Town of Carrboro 2009 Board Retreat

Date: February 2, 2009

Location: Dogwood Room, Robert and Pearl Seymour Center, 2551 Homestead Road, Chapel Hill

Anticipated attendees (22): Board of Aldermen (7), Town Manager, Assistant Town Manager, Assistant to the Town Manager, Town Attorney, seven Department Heads, invited presenters (3), Andy Sachs (facilitator).

Discussion/Participation Guidelines
• Begin and adjourn on time
• One speaker at a time
• Stick to the agreed upon task and topic
• Share the floor
• Listen attentively when others are speaking
• It is OK to disagree…please do so respectfully
• Board members, Town Manager and designated staff will be the only participants in discussions.

Desired Outcomes:
• Shared knowledge among Board members and the Manager of some basic information regarding the economic situation and the implications of the economic situation for our residents, programs, and budget.
• Direction from the Board to the Manager on next steps, based on this shared knowledge.

12 Noon Gather
Lunch is available

12:30 Convene
• Brief opening remarks by Mayor Chilton
• Quick check-in on retreat agenda and groundrules that were adopted by Board during work session on December 2.

12:40 Basic Information on Economic Situation
Three sets (15-minutes each) of briefings as follows, each followed immediately by a 15-minute Q&A period for clarification:

• State budget perspective: Vance Holloman, Director, NC Local Government Commission
• Local human services perspectives: Nancy Coston, Director, Orange County Department of Social Services, and Margaret Henderson, Associate Director, Public Intersection Project, UNC-CH School of Government
• Carrboro budget perspective: Bing Roenigk, Assistant Town Manager

2:10 Stretch Break

2:25 Implications of the Economic Situation for Carrboro Residents, Programs and Budget
Open Discussion: “What are the implications of the economic situation for our residents, programs and budget?

4:00 Wrap Up

• “Where do we go from here?” – Individual Board members may raise and then if possible the Board as a whole will consider and reach closure on specific instructions to the staff based on today’s discussions.

• Retreat Evaluation – Board members and Manager will share individual thoughts aloud on what worked well at the retreat, what did not work as well as s/he would have liked, and ideas for structuring/conducting Board retreats in the future.

5:00 Adjourn

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