SPECIAL MEETING OF THE COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF NOVI
MONDAY, JANUARY 23, 1995 - AT 7:00 PM EST
ACTIVITIES ROOM - NOVI CIVIC CENTER
45175 WEST TEN MILE ROAD
The meeting was called to order at 7:10 PM with Mayor McLallen presiding.
ROLL CALL: Council Members Crawford (present), Mason (present), Mitzel (present), Pope (present), Schmid (present), Toth (present) and Mayor McLallen (present)
Present (7) Absent (0)
ALSO PRESENT: Edward F. Kriewall - City Manager
Craig Klaver - Assistant City Manager
Geraldine Stipp - City Clerk
Mayor McLallen stated this was a special meeting in order to facilitate Council formulating their goals and objectives. She said there are numerous issues confronting the City and the Council and she thought that this would be helpful. Mayor McLallen stated that Councilman Pope has been attending a leadership seminar for 10 months and he recommended that Marlene Fluharty, Executive Director, Americana Foundation in Novi be invited to speak to Council.
Marlene Fluharty said she had done organizational development and facilitation, conflict resolution and mediation for a wide variety of groups. She said the role that she has been asked to play for tonight and January 30th was that of facilitator. She said that meant to help Council reach whatever goal or end product they wanted to reach. She said her job was to get Council started thinking about goals and objectives, pull ideas out of Council Members and be sure everyone participates.
Ms. Fluharty said it was her understanding the Council wanted to set goals and objectives for 1995. She said then it was her job to see that everyone stayed on that path. She said in preparation for doing that we are going to do a little work tonight to get Council ready to think about what they want for the Novi City Council for 1995.
Ms. Fluharty said she had seen Council at only one meeting and it was the meeting discussing the Scenic Natural Beauty Roads for Meadowbrook and Nine Mile Roads. She said she had served for eight years on the Michigan National Resources Commission in an appointed position by the governor. She said she worked with some very diverse people and they had to set policy, direction and actually run the Department of Natural Resources as they were the head of the agency. Ms. Fluharty said she had worked with other governmental bodies at local levels but her background and knowledge is not important she said Council brings all the knowledge and information to the meeting. She said it was Council's role to talk a lot, think and to participate. She said the more participation the more Council thinks about what their goals are the more productive the meeting will be.
Ms. Fluharty asked Council to participate in a 20 minute exercise. She said Councilman Pope and Councilwoman Mason would observe. She said it was an exercise that required five members of Council to be put around a table, each member would be given an envelope and in it would be pieces of paper that look like pieces of a puzzle. She said the object of the exercise was for each of the five people to have a 5 inch square completed in front of them; when each of the five participants complete their square the exercise is finished. Ms. Fluharty explained the rules of the exercise; no talking, no signaling that you want a piece of someone else's puzzle and you cannot put all the pieces in the center and abandon ship. She said they may give pieces away but no talking, signaling, body language and those who are observing the group of five are the regulators. They will make sure rules are followed.
Council moved to a table to participated in exercise suggested by Ms. Fluharty.
Ms. Fluharty asked each Council Member to write a sentence from their perspective why there was a Novi City Council.
Councilman Toth said to represent the people.
Councilman Mitzel said to improve the community.
Councilman Crawford said to accomplish or implement what is best for the City.
Councilwoman Mason said to use the tax dollars to benefit the citizens who pay those taxes.
Councilman Schmid said to participate in the development of a quality City that will stand the test of time.
Councilman Pope said to be a trustee for the past, present and future.
Mayor McLallen said to serve as a forum so that the citizens can facilitate their own government.
Ms. Fluharty had written all the sentences on the blackboard and said it read like a mission statement or a vision. She said if these goals were written into a paragraph they would probably describe what most City Governments are. She asked if Council were operating under those statements what problems might they have looking at those words.
Mayor McLallen said in the first place which people and what government.
Councilman Mitzel said what's an improvement.
Councilman Schmid said define a quality City.
Councilman Toth said you have to define people in the community and what do you mean by people; people that live here, people that work here or people that are visiting.
Ms. Fluharty said there are some pretty subjective terms in these statements and that was one of the big difficulties of the english language. She said it can mean a lot of things to a lot of people; that's why mission statements are very broad, very general so you have this huge umbrella that will encompass everybody and their perspective of what community means.
Ms. Fluharty said it was great as sort of an overall goal statement. She said all the Council Members have a little different view of what those things mean and that was good because it made for a good group of people.
Ms. Fluharty said it was how you do that "stuff"; how you pick the tasks or the objective to get you to that and more clearly define what those things mean. She said when you say represent the people is that the taxpayers; is that everybody and how do you go about representing the people. She said one thing you can do between now and next Monday night when we finish is come up with some ways that this group of seven people can make some progress together towards that. She said they didn't all have to reach common detailed agreement on what those words mean but agreement did have to be reached on what they wanted to accomplish and how they want to accomplish it to get them to their vision of this.
Ms. Fluharty asked Council briefly to tell her why they are on the City Council.
Councilman Toth said for the reasons that were stated. He said to represent the people, representing them in terms of controlling their funds and allocating them in a sensible manner. He said to be fair and relatively impartial to various groups within the City. He said you represent people that may not fit your life style yet they get the same amount of attention that the others do. He said you are representing them and you are in a position of authority to be able to do that.
Ms. Fluharty said instead of saying "you" which is the pronoun that Councilman Toth used she asked him to use I. She said why is Joe a Councilman.
Councilman Toth said for the reasons I just stated. He said the reason I took the job is because I represent the people and I expect everybody else to represent the people on the Council including myself; he said because there are seven of us that allow for interaction or resolution down the line or late in the evening.
Ms. Fluharty asked Councilman Schmid why he was on Council.
Councilman Schmid said about 15 years ago things were happening in the City and he was concerned, from his perspective, that the City would not be a quality City and it would not stand the test of time. He said he felt that he had some leadership qualities that would allow him to do that and there was a large number of people that agreed with him and he felt that he was representing the majority of our substantial number of people.
Ms. Fluharty said the key words that she heard were that you believed that you represented a group of people, not all, but a group of people that felt the same way you did.
Councilman Mitzel said he was on Council because he wanted to make a positive difference in the community. He said he felt that he grew up here, saw a lot of changes and felt that he should contribute something back to the community, make a positive difference and help it become a quality community and improve.
Councilman Crawford said when he first ran he liked and still does the direction the City was headed in and that was why he ran he wanted to be part of that direction. He said when he says City he means everyone, residents, visitors, businesses, etc.
Mayor McLallen said she was a transferee and she gets transferred a lot and she has learned that one way to feel like you are a part of a group is to work with them. (Could not transcribe)
Councilwoman Mason said that she really didn't want to do this but she basically did it to be a watch dog. She said she is in real estate and a lot of people call about various things. She said the more she would try to get information from the City or the present Council the more she wasn't getting information. She felt she should run, be a Council person, take the time to represent the people, to see what is going on and relate it back into the community. She said then it was up to the people to make the changes because, in her opinion, once you are on the Council you have no personal opinion. She said you are representing peoples opinions, groups of people and as a Council person she felt that her function as far as making decisions was is to see that the rules and ordinances were followed. She said basically she felt she represented those people who pay the taxes and she should funnel the information to them.
Councilman Pope said he didn't have a personal goal and never thought he would be on the Council. He said he felt similar to Councilwoman Mason and did not feel that there was a level of trust to the Council that was present. He said not knowing that he ran on one or two issues that he was suddenly going to have to deal with, water and sewer. He said trust is the most important thing.
Ms. Fluharty thanked the Council and gave them homework assignments and asked that it be done by Wednesday at 5 PM and either fax it to her, come out to Tollgate or mail it. She said it was preparation for Monday, January 30th to set goals and she wanted the Council Members to think of things for 1995 that are important to them. She asked that they come to the next meeting with five things they want to accomplish in 1995 and to put them on the last page of packet she handed out.
Meeting was adjourned at 7:55 PM.