Claremore Daily Progress

December 26, 2012

Retreat: City to use meeting facilitator

Salesha Wilken
Staff Reporter

CLAREMORE — The Claremore city council set the date for a council retreat on January 14 at 5:30 p.m. at the Rogers State University Innovation Center.

For the first time the council will be using a third party to facilitate the meeting.

City Manager Jim Thomas has been reaching out to the stakeholders of Claremore, including Rogers State University.

Thomas met with Jeri Koehler Director of the Rogers State University Innovation Center.

“The more I talked to her the more I told her I am interested in bringing her into the process,” Thomas said. “My experience has been that it is easier for us to talk and for me to participate in the discussion, if I have a third party facilitator.”

Kohler worked up an agenda and we started discussing possible dates for the discussion, Thomas added.

“She [Koehler] realizes that I want to bridge the gap between the city of Claremore and the University,” Thomas said.

“We talked about where we want to see the community in a few years,” Koehler said.

Councilor Brandon Smith asked about how the meeting would be sufficient to get the work done.

“It is a big task and to complete it in 90 minutes,” Smith said. “We may need multiple meetings to get this done.”

Koehler detailed her experience as a facilitator and outlined her plan for success.

“I am really good at herding cats,” Kohler said. “If we got of on other topics that are not relevant then we table it and get back on track.”

The council will need to keep a scope in mind and stick to the goals, she added.

“So if it is an open discussion then we can take the gloves off,” Councilor Don Purkey said.

“The key to come prepared to the session,” Thomas said. “I know she [Koehler] has the skills and abilities to help make this successful”

The meeting will help Thomas to direct the staff and will provide a “road map” for the months ahead.

The council approved the meeting date and the proposal to work with Koehler on the project. The retreat will focus on developing goals for Thomas during the first six months of his employment, as well as a long-term perspective for the city.