What were the results of the City Council’s 2010 goal setting session?

Northfield City Council goal setting sessionI attended the first hour and the last hour of Monday’s Northfield City Council goal setting session held at the Northfield Hospital Board room from 5-10 pm. The husband/wife team of Richard Fursman and Irina Fursman, Global Synergy Group (GSG), were the meeting facilitators.

For reference, see the 2009 Council Vision and Goals and 2009 Council Goals and Initiatives.

See the photo album of the meeting (mostly photos of Council-generated content posted on the walls), the large slideshow, or this small slideshow:


  1. Griff Wigley said:

    LWV Observer Jane McWilliams was there the entire time and has blogged her goals session report.

    City Administrator Joel Walinski wrote in his Friday Memo yesterday:

    As a follow-up to the Councils Strategic Goal Planning Session last Tuesday, the February 9 Council Meeting and Work Session will include a review and next steps discussion for the development of the 2010 Council Goals and Initiatives, and scheduling for the follow-up discussion on Council Goal #4 which focuses on the decision making process.

    Councilor Betsey Buckheit posted these comments about the meeting in her January recap blog post:

    Goals: I loathe “facilitated” meetings.   I find it insulting to be being told to mind my manners and having everything (which we agreed to last year) read to me from large posters (I’m 49, had a mother who drilled me in manners, and have a BA, MA and JD – I can behave AND read).  I dislike “get to know you” activities, too.  But mostly I believe the passivity which facilitators induce is not helpful.  If I knew I was coming to a goal-setting session with Mayor Rossing leading our discussion and the press and public listening (yes, where was the News?), I would have my homework done especially diligently and I’d be looking to help reach whatever outcome the Mayor requested.  Instead, we meet in a remote location (Hospital Board room) with no recording facilities and little room for the public, have facilitators who lead the show, ask the questions as they see them, and generally relieve all of us of any need to be active participants.

    We don’t set goals;  we are lead to them.

    We reviewed 2009 goals and, from that list, identified the top goals for 2010: finish the Land Development Code and continue work on the Safety Center planning.  These goals, and those further down the priority list, will be massaged by the facilitators and returned to us for formal adoption.  Stay tuned for the final version.    Stay tuned for the discussion, to happen soon, of process, transparency, Council/staff relationships.

    Ask for more if you’re not satisfied.

    No reporters from the Northfield News nor KYMN were there. 

    January 30, 2010
  2. Griff Wigley said:

    LWV observer Jane McWilliams appended this comment to her report:

    [This is a difficult sort of event to record, as much of what is important is the interchange between councilors as they went through the process.  Several primary themes emerged:  sincere desire to be in touch with the public in order to make good decisions, and a sense that the public isn’t aware of much of the progress the city has accomplished. This helps explains the large number of action steps pasted under Goal 1.  Although on Walinski’s list there were 10 accomplishments under that goal, he also mentioned the need for better communication and transparency in decision-making, and continued complaints of access to information on the city’s website as ongoing concerns.]

    January 30, 2010
  3. Griff Wigley said:

    If you look at the photos of where the councilors placed their dots to indicate priorities (starting here), the prioritized list is:

    • Land Development Code (7 votes)
    • Safety Center (5 votes)
    • Conservation (4 votes)
    • Maintain city operations without state support (3 votes)
    • Sustainable building policy for new municipal bldg (3 votes)
    • Participate in MN Green Step Cities program (3 votes)
    • Update city website (3 votes)
    January 30, 2010
  4. Griff Wigley said:

    I think the facilitators made a big mistake by not lumping several of the public communications-related cards (Goal #1) into one connected lump (see the photo of the cards here) before the councilors placed their priority dots.

    They did this for the LDC-related cards (Goal #2). See that photo here.

    As a result, IMHO, only the card for updating the city website got 3 votes when public communications/listening/transparency etc collectively is a huge issue.

    January 30, 2010
  5. Kiffi Summa said:

    No matter what any of us think of this facilitated ‘process’, Betsey Buckheit has said it best; read her blog.

    January 31, 2010

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