The leadership training was useful, the communication advice was insightful and the marinated chicken was delicious.
That’s how Mayor Sly James and his Kansas City Council colleagues summed up their daylong, closed-door team-building workshop Friday.
“It was very helpful,” said Northland councilman Dan Fowler, who admitted he hadn’t really looked forward to giving up a whole Friday for lessons in team building and interpersonal relationships.
Before the retreat, City Attorney Bill Geary said it was legal for the elected officials to hold this type of meeting as long as they didn’t discuss city business. He attended the session to make sure that didn’t occur.
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Afterward, Fowler and other council members said no city issues were discussed. He said the training by Kirk Hardcastle, president of LeaderPoint, provided tools, exercises and ways of thinking to help the council “work in a cooperative fashion.”
James said the instruction gave council members good advice on “ways we can work together cooperatively and collaboratively to get things done.”
The $8,000 cost of the session was paid out of the city’s training budget.
All 13 council members attended the session, which began at 10 a.m. and ended at 4 p.m. It was held behind closed doors at the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce offices at Union Station.
City Councilwoman Teresa Loar said it wasn’t so much a “retreat” as a continuing education type of day. She said Hardcastle did most of the talking, providing lessons in the “best ways to communicate to avoid conflict and to make sure everyone gets heard.”
Councilwoman Alissia Canady had requested the workshop as this council nears the end of its first year in office. She said the timing was right to help all the council members work well together as they confront a host of challenging priorities, including modernization of Kansas City International Airport and revitalization of the East Side.