Bainbridge city council ponders holding another retreat

The Bainbridge Island City Council is considering holding another council retreat — the second in six months — and will review a proposal for the get-together from Strategic Government Resources at the council meeting this week.

The retreat is expected to cost $9,000.

Strategic Government Resources is the Texas-based company that's currently searching for a new city manager to replace Brenda Bauer, who was fired by the council in March.

During Strategic Government Resources' last trip to the island in May, council members began to touch upon differences in their perceptions of Bainbridge Island and the roles of city staff, as well as the manager for city hall.

That talk prompted the possibility of a retreat that could help define the council's goals and direction.

Last week, Ron Holifield, CEO of Strategic Government Resources, sent a letter outlining a retreat proposal to Bainbridge officials.

The retreat will not be part of the work in the ongoing search for a new city manager. In light of the city's current relationship with the search firm, however, the firm offered to give a discount and waive fees if the city decides it needs the company's help in holding a retreat.

The proposal for the one-and-a-half day retreat is highly detailed. It covers everything from exercises to determine the city's mission, to making sure the appropriate number of colored markers will be available.

The huddle of city leaders would include a pre-retreat exercise, "Team Dimensions," to gauge the council's working relationship (at a cost of $1,200).

The retreat itself will come at a discounted price of $6,000 (a reduction from the usual price of $8,000).

Other costs include travel expenses for Holifield or his associate Tom Muehlenbeck; $1,750 for a written report of the retreat, if desired.

The search firm waived a $1,650 fee for pre-retreat interviews with  council members.

The overall price tag could hit $8,950, before travel expenses are included.

It will be the council's second retreat in six months. The council held a two-part retreat on Jan. 8 and Jan. 28, following the arrival of four new members on the council.

The council will consider the retreat proposal at its meeting Wednesday, June 6. Council members are also expected to get an update on the search for a new city manager.

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