MINUTES

BOARD OF DIRECTORS RETREAT

 

MONDAY, FEBRUARY 5, 2007

 

ROBERT LIVERMORE COMMUNITY CENTER

4444 EAST AVENUE, LIVERMORE, CALIFORNIA

6:30 P.M.

SYCAMORE ROOM

 

 

 

Meeting facilitator Brent Ives of BHI Consulting was hired by the General Manager to facilitate the Board Retreat. He introduced himself and told about his background. He stated that his goal was to help the Directors set goals for the next year and beyond. Through CSDA, he works in promoting the organizational health of special districts in California. Mr. Ives said that he has spent many hours with LARPD staff recently, through his contract to provide supervisor training and aid in succession planning.

 

He stated the objectives of the retreat, as listed in the agenda below.

 

He asked if there is one area where Directors feel the District should focus on in the next year, and to think about that as the evening progresses. He said a lot of the agenda items can be wrapped up in the goal setting.

 

President Turner asked about Mr. Ives’ interactions with staff and how staff feels about the Board. Mr. Ives responded that the LARPD staff has a very typical view of the Board. He said that the way districts are organized and the way public agencies have to work offers a difficult optic for the employees. They are always looking around the General Manager, as the Board is also looking around the General Manager.

 

Mr. Ives asked the Directors if there were any other thoughts about goals and priorities for 2007/2008. Director Kamena said that he would like the District to acquire the school district-owned land next to Robertson Park. Director Faltings said that she would like to see the District re-staff, since it lost employees in the lay-offs a few years ago. President Turner would like to see a reduction in the amount of ERAF money taken from the District by the State of California. Director Furst said he would like the completion of trail connections to be a priority.

 

1.         Director Interaction with Staff                                   

Mr. Ives asked for discussion starters and noted that he had slides to assist the discussion. President Turner said that he was one of the Directors who asked that this item be placed on the agenda. He said that, in the 6 years that he has been on the Board, he feels the Directors and the Board have become more sophisticated, and that Directors have become more in touch with the staff. He said that he was always led to believe that it would be wrong for him to speak with staff on items without first clearing it with the General Manager. He said that the General Manager is hired by the Directors to manage the District, so their focus should be on making sure that the General Manager is clued in on everything that is going on in the District with the staff. He said that he has had times that he has spoken to the General Manager about an issue, and the General Manager was unaware of the issue because Directors had gone directly to the staff and started the conversation. He said he thinks this puts the staff member in a difficult position. Mr. Ives asked if this is a consistent understanding among the Directors, and how they felt about it. Director Kamena said that it used to be that Directors could go directly to the Superintendent of Youth Services Barbara Kraybill or former Superintendent of Parks and Planning Ken Craig but, if they wished to go below that, they should talk either to the two above-mentioned staff or to the General Manager. Now, he said, there is no Superintendent of Parks and Planning. He said that he feels comfortable going directly to Jim, who will talk to the General Manager, if needed, and to Ms. Kraybill, and to General Manager Barry.  He said he would not go to anyone else without consulting the General Manager first, and that he does not need to change that. He may talk to other staff for information, but will not ask them to do something.

 

Director Furst stated that the previous General Manager tried to educate him about the Board going through the General Manager not directing staff. He said that he goes to staff for information and does not see a problem with that. He said he tries to be very careful about telling them what to do. He said he does not see that as the Board’s job, and he tries to stay away from that. On the other hand, he said, he does not feel Directors should be restricted from talking to staff.

 

General Manager Barry said that this is his understanding of how we should be able to proceed, that the Board may ask questions of staff and get information, but that giving direction is the General Manager’s job.

 

Mr. Ives said that there are a number of things to consider. He said that if there is difficulty between staff and the General Manager, for example, and it could get dicey if a Director is too familiar with the employees; the Director may not be able to sit on a grievance board, for example, because he or she may have knowledge that the rest of the Board does not. Also, he said, this can undercut the job that the General Manager is expected to do, which is to manage the workforce. This is solely the General Manager’s responsibility, said Mr. Ives. He said the role of the Board is to set direction vision and priority, and to set policy, to make budget and to manage the General Manager. He said that the Directors have to be careful that conversations with staff do not lead to inappropriate things, such as an employee complaining about the General Manager’s treatment of him. Mr. Ives said that he advises all of his special districts and clients, as well as doing so himself, calling the General Manager to see if it’s okay to talk to the employee. He said most jurisdictions like to handle it this way. The General Manager is the filter between the Board and staff. Directors need to allow the General Manager to do his job, and part of this involves not allowing cross-talk between staff and Directors. Cross-talk can diminish what the General Manager does and make it more difficult for him to perform his job.

 

Director Goodman said that in his professional position he reports to a board. One of the things he was told was that operational, personnel and day-to-day staff are things the Board should stay away from. He said he agrees with what Mr. Ives has said. He said there are times that occasional contact with staff occurs, where a Director might ask for information.

 

Mr. Ives pointed out that the public views the Board as the District, and as being responsible for moving the District ahead. He said that the “how” is done by employees, and the “what” is defined by the Board. He said the Board does not get involved in telling people how to do things. The Board may tell the General Manager what it thinks needs doing, but not the staff. He said the job of the General Manager is very difficult.

 

Director Furst said that the LARPD Board is very active. He said he personally wants to know what’s going on throughout the District. He said that if he went to the General Manager with every question he has, assuming there is no cross-talk with staff, that the General Manager would be so bogged down that he would not be able to get his job done. Director Furst said he sees no problem with going directly to staff to ask what is going on with something. He said that he will not tell staff what to do; he would go the General Manager for that. Mr. Ives responded that this sort of thing may not be a problem for the Director, but it could be a problem for the staff. He said that, eventually it is going to get to the General Manager anyway. He said this sort of thing puts the staff in a difficult position. Director Goodman said to Director Furst that he should always tell the General Manager if he has a concern. He said that staff might perceive a question from a Director as the Director telling them what to do. Director Furst said that the Board is very hands-on, down to the level of helping to pick out play equipment.

 

Mr. Ives responded that there can be a collective “how,” as a Board, but not a unilateral “how,” as an individual Director. He suggested that the Board come up with a statement of how it intends to handle this kind of thing, what would be right for this particular Board, what the Board will and will not do, for example.

 

Mr. Barry said that he thinks it is fine for Directors to ask questions of staff. However, if the question is asked in such a way that the staff person feels that he is being given direction, or gives the impression that the Director is unhappy about the way that the District is operating, it is a different dynamic, that should be directed only to the General Manager. The Director’s evaluation of the situation should be taken to the General Manager, he said. Mr. Ives asked the General Manager what he does when a Director comes to him in such a situation. Mr. Barry responded that he speaks to the staff and together they decide what they could or should do differently, then he gets back to the Directors about it. Mr. Ives asked what Mr. Barry tells the staff about responding to Board direction. Mr. Barry responded that he asks the staff to respond to the Director that he/she will talk to the General Manager, if it is a directive or perceived directive. Mr. Ives asked if it is fair to say that, “Board members do not direct staff?” All were in general agreement. Director Goodman said he feels it is important to keep the General Manager in the loop, so that it does not appear that Directors are going around the General Manager, via e-mail, for example.

 

Mr. Ives asked what Directors should, in general terms, normally do. President Turner said he thinks Directors must be careful not to appear to show favoritism to certain staff members. Mr. Ives summarized that there seems to be general agreement that Directors may ask for information from staff, but may not direct them, and that it is wise to keep the General Manager apprised of any Director communication with staff regarding District operations. Director Goodman said he hopes the General Manager will tell the Directors if he feels they should have communicated something with him first, before speaking with staff.

 

2.         Goal Setting for the Year                               

Mr. Ives said that every goal of the District should be rooted in, and support, the District’s mission statement. He noted that it is important to consider all aspects of District operations when engaging in goal-setting. It is important to find if any definitive thrust areas exist for priorities. A thrust area is something that we know must be dealt with in the next year. It is something that must take priority.

 

Mr. Ives displayed a Strategic Planning Model on the screen and talked about how it might apply to LARPD in terms of actions, goals and initiatives for 5-year goals. He talked about operational elements of the District and asked the Directors to define a set of goals specific to LARPD. Directors offered the following: parks, recreation, facilities, youth services, finance, administration, programs, and resource protection. Mr. Ives asked if one of these is a thrust area, requiring special attention, action and funding during the next year. Director Goodman brought up the Friendship Center relocation project. Mr. Ives stated that if all Directors were in agreement about thrust areas, then they would charge staff with developing a plan that Directors would endorse and expect to be a priority for the year, and acknowledge that this particular thrust area might be all the District can afford that year. The task is to define what is important.

 

Mr. Ives asked for other thrust areas. President Turner brought up the goal of a sports park as a possibility. Director Kamena brought up the Robertson Park and District Master Plans. Directors discussed these different goals.  Mr. Ives said that if something is consuming, then that helps to define it as a thrust area. General Manager reiterated the Robertson Park Master Plan. Directors agreed that the Friendship Center is a thrust area. Mr. Ives said that he wished to offer another idea. He said that he has worked a lot with the staff over the past few months, and has discovered that there are areas imbalanced in LARPD staffing. He said he gave the General Manager his opinion on succession planning and staffing. He expressed concern about the Friendship Center adding more burden to the staff, for example.

 

Directors talked at length about how time-sensitive and important the Friendship Center project is, how this project affects other areas of the District, details of what is going on with the project and the next steps.

 

Mr. Ives asked about other thrust areas. General Manager Barry brought up fiscal management and the ERAF issues.  Directors discussed ERAF. President Turner said he thought one of the problems is that the District does not call upon its state elected officials to help it with anything. He said he feels Board time should be spent on this. Directors discussed the efforts to reduce the amount of District property taxes taken by ERAF. General Manager Barry said that he thinks the District needs to put some resources toward legislative advocacy. Mr. Ives talked about the importance of having clarity on what this goal of reducing the District’s ERAF shift really means, and the need to plan the specific steps needed to reach the goal. There are a lot of components to reaching this goal, which require funding, time and resources, particularly staff time and resources. Mr. Ives asked who will be the lead on this. Mr. Barry said that he feels the District will need outside help on this, and that he would be the point person. Director Faltings said she feels the Directors need to be involved as well, but that logistics make it difficult to be involved. The group discussed using lobbyists. Mr. Ives said that, in his experience, the lobbyists for his public agency tell him and his colleagues when they need to be present in Sacramento to meet and speak with legislators. He said there needs to be someone to organize all of this, such as a lobbyist. He pointed out that the Board must be aware that if the General Manager recommends a contract with lobbyists, that it will cost the District money.

 

Director Faltings stated she felt the best thing would be for the General Manager to have a Superintendent of Recreation and a Superintendent of Parks and Planning so that he can be the General Manager, and not have to perform the functions of these positions. This would give him time, said Director Faltings, to meet and influence legislators and their staff in Sacramento. Mr. Barry responded that he plans to propose to the Board engaging the services of a lobbyist in the near future. Ms. Faltings said the General Manager needs adequate support in running the District so that he can go to Sacramento. Director Goodman pointed out how this has been difficult because of the recent staff layoffs; he also noted that there are staff who will be retiring soon, and that many of the keepers of the District’s history will be gone. Director Goodman said that if the District does increase the staff, then it must be acknowledged that it will not be able to do some other things. President Turner said that he agrees that the General Manager should be able to go to Sacramento to meet with legislators, but that it cannot be his primary job. He said the District must hire lobbyists to get the job done. Mr. Ives suggested a combination of these suggestions, with lobbyist, staff and Director efforts.

 

Mr. Ives asked for more thrust areas. Director Kamena said that Robertson Park is a priority, mentioning the soccer complex plan and the vacant school district property that the LARPD wishes to acquire. The group discussed whether it is a thrust area or a goal, and how the time sensitivity of some projects, such as acquiring this land while it is available, serve to make some goals more  urgent priorities than they would otherwise be. General Manager Barry said he thought the thrust here is to provide more fields for the community.

 

Mr. Ives listed different possible thrust areas: Friendship Center, Robertson Park land acquisition, sports park, Denton House/ranger station, doing something with the vacant District property on Trevarno Road, succession plan.

 

Mr. Ives asked whether the above items are funded by the operations on capital budget. He said there is a lot of talk out there by LARPD staff that the Board wants do to a lot of projects, but they are forgetting about staff. Director Furst said that the workforce is not under the Board’s purview in terms of setting District visions and priorities; he said the General Manager needs to tell the Board when he needs more staff and needs to restructure the District organizational chart and bring it to the Board for consideration. Director Kamena agreed that he, as a Director, has no idea of what specific staffing is needed to accomplish the District’s work. He said that he is not forgetting staff, but that he does not know what is needed unless the General Manager informs him. Director Furst said that there is a communication problem if the staff thinks the Board is ignoring them in favor of doing capital projects. He said it is not up to the Board to direct the General Manager in how to administer his staff. Director Goodman said that a goal would be to ask the General Manager to look at his staffing and come up with recommendations.

 

Superintendent of Youth Services Kraybill said that there have been staff recommendations to the Board not to take on projects due to staffing manpower and other issues, such as the climbing wall, and the Board has gone against staff recommendation. She said this is an instance where staff is being stretched, and going to complain that they have yet another thing to be involved with, where they have other strong priorities.

 

Director Kamena acknowledged that what Ms. Kraybill said was true. However, he said that he saw this situation not as staff recommending against the climbing wall, but the General Manager recommending against it. Director Kamena said he saw staff at the Board meeting at which this issue was addressed being permitted by the General Manager to voice its support for LARPD taking over the climbing wall, though the General Manager recommended against it. He said that he interpreted this as the General Manager not being strongly against the prospect. Director Goodman said that he would like it if the General Manager brought to the Directors, five different projects, for example, but told them that the District can only handle three of them. This way, he said, the Directors would see that a choice has to be made as to whether more staff is needed or that, even if there is enough staff, the General Manager cannot take on more than three projects right now. Director Goodman said he thinks the General Manager has been reluctant to tell the Board that the District needs more staff; he encouraged the General Manager to tell the Board if and when he does. General Manager Barry responded that he does need more staff, but that he is realistic with the budget that the District has. He said we go through the budget process and select priorities and the District was able to get some additional staff this year, but it was within the framework of building up the District’s reserves, and so on. He said that he feels that he does present the Board with what the District’s needs are, and what it can afford. What the Board probably has not seen, he said, is what the ideal organizational structure for everything that the District is doing.

 

Director Goodman said that he thinks the General Manager is reluctant to tell the Directors things that they do not want to hear.

 

Mr. Ives asked the Directors what they want the General Manager to do, in light of the fact there is some contention that staffing is inadequate. Director Faltings said that she would like the General Manager to be able to tell the Directors what they do not want to hear. Director Kamena said that the General Manager does many things, and does them very well. He said that he thinks the General Manager views himself as a peacemaker between the staff and Board, that he is very concerned about keeping staff happy and keeping the Board happy. Mr. Kamena said that he feels like he asks the General Manager for things, but that the General Manager does not ask him for things. He said that his perception is that a General Manager or public official should be able to approach his Board President, for example, and ask for things, or ask for how to approach the Board on an issue.  He said that he doesn’t know where the General Manager is going, how to help him help himself.

 

General Manager Barry said he thought he lost a part of that when he started having to wear so many hats at the District. He said that he does not get the time to do forward planning and that sort of thing. He said that he would really like to get to do that.

 

Mr. Ives noted that, in his succession planning for the District, he had noted that there needs to be some help at the top for the General Manager. He said maybe one of the first staffing needs to be addressed should be a high level person to assist the General Manager. Director Kamena said that the former General Manager had two Superintendents who took care of District operations when he was away, which allowed him to focus on more big picture concerns. He said he feels that Mr. Barry is probably torn in a lot of different directions, and needs to be involved in so many things. Director Goodman pointed out that the former General Manager did not have a community center to manage.

 

Mr. Ives said that the General Manager needs to be able to bring bad news to the Board. For example, he needs to be able to be comfortable telling the Board that it will take, say, three years, to bring staffing to the level it needs to be, and it is going to cost X amount of money, which means that thus and such projects will not be able to be done. Mr. Ives said that there needs to be clarity in how the Directors feel about this, that if the Board acts differently here in the workshop than it does in a formal Board meeting, then the General Manager is given mixed messages. He said that the General Manager needs to know that he has the Directors’ endorsement that he will bring items to them, such as increasing staffing, and they will acknowledge that the District will have to give up some things in order to achieve this goal.

 

General Manager Barry said that there needs to be a balance struck between being able to increase staffing and being able to pay salary and benefits that are competitive, to keep increasing those so that the District can rise to the level of its marketplace. He said that the District continues to feel pressure that it lost ground, with two or three years without raises. He noted that some school districts giving 7% raises in order to gain ground that they lost during years that they were unable to give raises. Director Goodman noted the difficulty the District has had in recruiting employees. Director Faltings noted that the City of Roseville just gave all of its employees an 8.5% raise. She noted that the impression that capital project steal salary and benefits from jobs and employees is not correct, because it is a different pot of money. Director Goodman pointed out that the longer people are with the District, the bigger that pot gets and the ability to manage it is affected. Ms. Faltings said that the District is getting hit on two fronts: the ERAF shift impacts the General Fund from which salaries and benefits come, and the City of Livermore is slow-growth, which reduces the amount of capital money to the District. President Turner suggested that staffing and budget should be put on the list of LARPD thrust items. Director Goodman asked if there is value in having an independent party look at the District and evaluate its staffing organization and funding. Mr. Ives said that this would be helpful because if not, it is another thing for the General Manager to do. He said that consultants can give another perspective and can analyze not just staffing, but organizational inefficiencies. He stressed the need, for example, to have some cross-over skills among employees, to avoid a single point of failure. A strategic plan for the organization over several years helps an organization to develop some continuity and direction. Part of a strategy, for example, would be to put more resources into one thing the first year, so that more resources can be devoted to other things in the second and third year, while still dealing with other priorities. Director Goodman said he thinks it would help staff to know that there is a plan for increasing support in the future.

 

Mr. Ives reiterated that the General Manager needs to know that he can ask the Board for additional executive staffing, for example, if that’s what he feels the District needs. There was discussion about the General Manager’s style of expressing his recommendations, etc., and the Directors’ interpretation of such. Also discussed was the General Manager’s ability to talk about agenda items with individual Directors prior to Board meetings, and the preference of some Directors to get advance communication from the General Manager on items that the General Manager feels are of particular importance.

 

Director Faltings expressed her satisfaction with the fact that General Manager Barry keeps the Board very well-informed about what is going on in the District. She said that General Manager Barry is every bit as good as any park district general manager that you will find in the state.

 

Mr. Ives commented that this meeting is very productive, with good interchange occurring between the Directors and the General Manager. He said that this meeting will likely lead to improved communication between the Directors and the General Manager, as some expectations and preferences are being clarified tonight.

 

Mr. Ives returned to the 5 goals offered by Directors. Mr. Barry said that he would like to add ongoing operational cost estimates into budgeting for capital projects. Mr. Ives said that he thought it would be a good idea for the General Manager to list the distinguishing elements between capital and operating costs or projects.

 

Mr. Ives noted that the discussion tonight touched on many things he heard from staff in his trainings with them, such as the climbing wall, Scottish Games, and the equestrian arena cover. Director Goodman stated that a different perspective is held by staff and Directors; for instance, staff may not understand why a project is approved by the Board, and the political implications of some such decisions. Mr. Ives said that the message he got from staff was: ERAF shift, the community center, layoffs…………yet the Board continues to want to do all of these things. This is how some of the employees feel. He said they feel unsupported in some way because of some of the decisions the Board has made, the perception being that the Board is looking for new and glitzy, rather than supporting staff. He said staff would like to see some deliberate, articulated intention by the Board to address and improve some of the above items, such as restoring staffing positions that were laid off.

 

Director Kamena stated that some of the items discussed tonight may be put on a regular Board meeting agenda. He stated that he was able to say what he wished to say at the meeting. He said that he feels he will never serve on a better board than the LARPD Board, that has better staff or facilities than this.

 

Director Kamena left at 8:40 p.m.

 

Senior Recreation Supervisor Brandenburg said that he thinks most staff understands that funding for operational costs and capital projects comes out of separate pots, but that they feel that more funding needs to be put into the operational costs to help relieve overwhelmed staff.

Director Goodman said that he thinks staff would probably like to feel that they are being heard. He said he wishes there was a way to do that for staff. President Turner said that he thinks one of the ways staff is heard by being at the staff table at Board meetings and being permitted to say how they feel. Mr. Brandenburg said that there are capital projects that he would love to see the District undertake, such as a sports park and the overhaul of Robertson Park; however, he said that it can be hard to support such projects because, though they may have capital funding, he knows that the funds to cover operational and maintenance costs are insufficient. Director Goodman agreed, saying the District might consider looking at a hotel tax or some sort of developer fee that would fund maintenance expenses. Director Goodman said he would like it if the District could fund some positions now, even if it’s not enough, and show staff that the Board is concerned about the employees. General Manager Barry pointed out that the Directors put staffing on the goals list being compiled tonight. Mr. Brandenburg said he thinks it would really help if staff sees the Board considers staffing a priority.

 

Mr. Ives suggested that the Board may want to ask employees for their feedback, perhaps conduct some sort of employee survey. He said that an inclusive process is very effective.  He said that the younger the employee base is, the more inclusive they expect the process to be.

 

Director Furst said that he thinks the goals brought up tonight should be listed in two separate categories: operational and capital.

 

Director Goodman said that he attended the recent LARPD Rummage Sale on a Saturday and also went to the LARPD Superbowl Party the next day; he said he saw some of the same staff working both days, which means they probably worked seven days in a row. He said he thinks that sort of thing should be acknowledged. Director Faltings said that the District lives on the backs of the part-time staff and needs to acknowledge the contribution of these staff. She said she would like to see the summer staff picnic brought back, so that staff and Board can meet and mingle. Director Goodman said he thought the Board should ask the staff how they would like to be appreciated. General Manager Barry said he’s formed an Employee Resource Committee, which discusses employee events, morale, etc. He said he’s gathered that many staff feel isolated, working out in the field, etc.; the Committee is trying to create opportunities for staff to feel more included. Director Goodman said he thinks that if Directors attend employee events, the employees will see that they are interested. Mr. Barry stated that it has seemed, in the past, that staff did not want Directors to attend some employee events, but that perhaps that has changed.

 

Mr. Ives said that the next supervisor training he’ll conduct at LARPD will deal with optimizing work teams, and they will deal with some of these issues of Board and staff. He said it is important that social occasions attended by Board and staff remain just that, social occasions, and that staff appreciate seeing Directors at social occasions. He commented that he thinks the RLCC is fabulous but that, organizationally, it has spread people apart. Mr. Brandenburg agreed that the fact that the District has gotten so big makes it feel less family-like. He said that one of the nicest things the District does is the Employee Recognition Breakfast, and it’s amazing how many employees don’t know one another.

 

Mr. Ives asked what the Directors expect from the General Manager and staff on each of the goals listed tonight. Are they expecting a staff report on the options? President Turner said that the Denton House and the Trevarno Road properties were addressed already, which are on track already. For the sports park, Director Goodman said he thinks the District needs to look at options, whether it is to hire a firm to gauge public interest, to look at the viability of a bond measure, and also identify maintenance. He said that a simple report would be acceptable. Mr. Ives said that it cannot be a simple report. Mr. Goodman responded that he would like something that says what the District may need to do to get a sports park. Mr. Ives pointed out that it is like the Friendship Center in that there are incremental steps that must be identified. He said that at some point the Directors will need a recommendation from LARPD’s professional staff in order to make a decision. Mr. Ives said that it would be helpful if the Board were to say when it would like to be able to make a decision on this project, which would allow the General Manager to create a timeline. If the Board does not take a deliberate step, said Mr. Ives, it makes it difficult for staff to prioritize working on a project. President Turner said he likes simple reports. For example, he said, he would like the General Manager to say that the Trevarno Road properties are not in the District’s plans, we are never going to use them, so the District should sell them. Or, he said, he would like to hear that the properties are in the District’s plans and we expect to use the buildings for thus and such purposes. A use analysis, in effect, is what he would like to see. It was noted that the Trevarno Road properties cannot be decided upon until the Friendship Center relocation project is decided upon, by mid-summer perhaps. Mr. Ives asked about the Denton House/ranger station. President Turner said he believes that issue is resolved.

 

Mr. Ives said that the sports park issue is something that must be dealt with, that is not going to go away. President Turner said it has been an issue in Livermore since 1989. He stated that a bond issue might be the best thing, and that Livermore is competing with Pleasanton. Mr. Ives asked what the Directors would like to happen, and by when; what should the first step be, and when would Directors like to see it happen? Director Faltings noted that, if the District goes with a bond issue, then that is a set process. The group discussed that first steps might be approaching the school district and the City of Livermore. Mr. Barry said that some discussion has occurred with these entities. The Directors agreed that they would like to be able to make a decision on this by the end of fiscal year 2007/08. General Manager Barry said that he can present information to the Board. He said that a consultant study would be necessary to see what the public’s tolerance is for a local bond measure for a sports park. Director Goodman said it is time that we try this, see what happens, and go from there, but this has been an ongoing issue which the District must address. Mr. Barry said that the first step is to see if the District has agency partners with a bond measure. Mr. Barry said that maintenance costs must be addressed with this project. Director Goodman agreed that funding mechanisms need to be identified. He noted that arts groups are getting funds, for example from the Altamont Landfill and the hotel tax.

 

Mr. Ives asked about what the Board wants to be done about the Robertson Park land. Director Furst responded that LARPD is waiting to hear back from the school district, that LARPD has sent a letter of interest. This means that the General Manager will report back to the Board when he hears from the school district and then move to the next level, said Mr. Ives. General Manager Barry talked about fencing that was recently put around the property and why the school district did this, and recent plans the school district may have for putting sports fields on the property.

 

Mr. Ives asked for any more ideas for goals. Mr. Barry said he would like to add the development of a strategic plan for next year. He asked the Directors if they would like to work on a strategic plan that would develop a framework for working on goal setting for the District each year. This would give employees, Directors and the public input into the direction the District is going. Mr. Ives explained what a strategic plan would involve, defining goals and action items and delineating the steps to reaching objectives; the plan would cover five years, and every year the strategy would be revisited, revised if needed, and pushed out another year. It is a very practical tool, he said.

 

Director Furst expressed concern about a strategic plan. He said his professional experience has been that a lot of time is spent coming up with strategic plans that are not carried out. He said that he cannot participate in creating a strategic plan unless everyone commits to carrying it out and making it part of the District’s operational plan. Mr. Ives stated that the 7 or 8 districts that he has helped to develop strategic plans have integrated it made it their annual planning method. He agrees that it is useless to develop a strategic plan unless the Board is committed to seeing it through, in which case it is an extremely practical, useful tool. Mr. Ives said he follows up on the agencies he’s worked with to ensure that they use their strategic plans. He explained some of the elements in developing a strategic plan.

Director Faltings said she has always felt that master plans should not be done in-house, that an outside set of eyes is better.

 

3.         Bond Issue for Sports Park   

            This item discussed under Agenda Item 2.         

 

4.                  2008 Bond Issue for East Bay Regional Park District                     

Mr. Barry said that this is related to the sports park bond issue. He said that EBRPD would like to put a financing instrument on the November 2008 for East Alameda County that provides money for capital projects. He said that EBRPD would like to work with LARPD so that our District’s capital needs would be reflected in the bond measure and LARPD would receive a portion of the money. Mr. Barry said that, depending on the type of measure it is, it could also include maintenance expenses. He said there are several options. He said that staff asked EBRPD to include LARPD in its survey when it surveys the public about its interest in such a measure. We will get the results of that, which will be a catalyst for LARPD to discuss it. He said that EBRPD needs to know if LARPD will be on board with this; if so, LARPD would need to produce a list of projects to be funded. He said that he would need to know what share of the funding the District would get from a bond measure, so that he can relate that information to the Board. Mr. Barry noted that an EBRPD measure may conflict with a measure that LARPD may want to put on the ballot separately.

 

5.         How Board Committees Communicate With Each Other

Director Furst stated that he asked that this item be placed on the agenda. He suggested that it may be more appropriate to discuss this at another time, as it is 9:15 p.m. right now. Directors and Mr. Barry determined that staff special workshop can be scheduled prior to a regular Board meeting, in order to allow ample time for a discussion on this topic.

 

6.         Grants

·         Status of Grant Writer

·         Priority for Projects

 

Mr. Barry stated that staff can prepare a report for the Board on current status of grant writer. He said that there is a grant writer that staff would like to hire.

       

7.                  Adjournment

Meeting adjourned at 9:25 p.m. Mr. Ives said that he will prepare a summary of the meeting.

 

 

APPROVED,

                       

                                                                                    _______________________________

                                                                                    Dale Turner

President, Board of Directors

ATTEST:

 

__________________________

General Manager and ex-officio

Clerk to the Board of Director