'High performance' retreat gets under way for Bainbridge city employees

City Manager Doug Schulze gets caught up with city business on his cell phone during a lunchtime break Tuesday from the first round of
City Manager Doug Schulze gets caught up with city business on his cell phone during a lunchtime break Tuesday from the first round of 'high performance organization' training.
— image credit: Brian Kelly / Bainbridge Island Review

Council chambers at Bainbridge Island City Hall were packed Tuesday, but not with islanders angry or enthusiastic about the latest activities of the city council.

Instead, about 35 employees from each city department — from police to public works, planning to finance — gathered for the first day of "high performance organization" training, an intensive effort that focuses on the quality of services delivered, customer value and financial performance.

The training retreat will stretch from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. over three days, and is led by Anton Gardner.

Gardner is the past president of the Virginia Local Government Management Association and former chairman of the Virginia Institute of Government, the Northern Virginia Criminal Justice Academy, and the Chief Administrative Officers’ Committee of the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments.

The hope is, at the end of the training, to develop responsible and accountable employees who will not only lead, but will continue to look for ways to improve.

Bainbridge has roughly 104 employees, and city officials hope that every worker can eventually complete the training.

For the first round, City Manager Doug Schulze said he developed an initial list of 20 employees to take the training, then opened it up to other candidates.

City employees who will participate in the training this week include all department directors, plus supervisors and line staff.

Other city employees will go through the "high performance organization"  training at future sessions.

Schulze said he was heartened by the participation of employees and their engagement during the morning session Tuesday.

"It's been real encouraging to see employees actively discussing and participating," he said.

The training session, which is expected to cost $15,000, was unanimously approved by the council in June.



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