Members of the Kyle City Council and staff “deserve to be praised to high heaven” for the amount of work they are doing — “above and beyond the call to service,” Mayor Travis Mitchell said in responding to questions about a “visioning” workshop council and some city staff attended in Fredericksburg in February.
“Our council is simply the hardest working, most proactive and collaborative council I’ve been around,” Mitchell said. “They are hungry to learn and to contribute.”
The workshop was held Feb. 8-9 and in addition to council, was attended by City Manager Scott Sellers, City Attorney Paige Saenz, Chief of Staff Jerry Hendrix, City Secretary Jennifer Vetrano and Communications Director Samantha Armbruster. The “facilitator” for the workshop was Douglas Thomas of Strategic Government Resources. Of the $18,150.12 spent on the trip, $10,000 went to Thomas, who also billed the city for $1,069.31 in travel expenses.
Though much of the council’s aspirations were hijacked by the COVID-19 crisis, Mitchell said discussions at the workshop ranged from personal —why each council member ran for office and what they hoped to accomplish to how well they believe council members work together as a group and how that functioning could be improved — to professional — sharing their thoughts on Kyle’s vision for the future in areas concerning business growth and effective communications.
They also focused on development of the Kyle Accountability Stands for Excellence (KASE) which will establish the city’s strategic vision.
But just as importantly, Mitchell said, council members and staff spent time together and got to know one another better. “We spent concentrated time together as a group working through a variety of important issues. We also got to know each other by eating meals together and spending extended time together as a cohort.
He noted that all those who attended did so after “they had worked a very long week,” and said,”By all accounts the two-day workshop was a success.”
On the first day of the workshop council met in two sessions, the first from 9:34 a.m. until 1:37 p.m. and the second from 4:34 p.m. to 6:32 p.m. On the second day, they met from 9:05 until 1:07. Non business-related activities included a visit to The Preserve Elephant Experience.
Mitchell did not say when another, similar event may be planned. Until the coronavirus pandemic runs its course or a vaccine is developed, many such possibilities remain on hold.