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Pilot Point Council Governance Subcommittee meets

Pilot Point Council Governance Subcommittee meets

By Abigail Allen

Editor & Publisher

       The three members of the Pilot Point governance subcommittee shared the research they have done regarding other cities' governance policies on April 2.

       The group, facilitated by Tracie Shipman, was joined in the work session by City Manager Britt Lusk and City Secretary Lenette Cox. "Effective boards aren't afraid of having invigorated debate," Shipman said. "Respectful, productive but invigorated debate."

       Before launching into the meeting, Shipman provided a detailed time line, explaining the path the city leaders had to arrive at the creation of the governance subcommittee as well as the experience she has had working with Frisco and other cities in creating governance policies.

       The process started with a council and staff work session Sept. 22-23, which was attended by all but Mayor Pro Tem Andrew Ambrosio and council member Elizabeth Jones.

       The initial discussion brought up Robert's Rules of Order, she said.

       "That's one way to manage, or govern, a political body," Shipman said. "But John Carver, 30 years ago, came up with some other ideas, making it not quite so pedantic, … not so structured, not so isolating."

       From Oct. 9 to Dec. 13, Shipman conducted "leadership pulse interviews" with each elected official, Lusk, Cox and City Attorney Brenda McDonald to help the city develop its approach.

Pilot Point Council Governance Subcommittee meets

       She provided her recommendation to the council and mayor on Jan. 11, and the subcommittee was formed three months later.

       Shipman shared the planned schedule for the group's meetings: Work Session 2, noon-3 pm. Friday; Work Session 3, 9 a.m.-noon Tuesday; Work Session 4, 9 a.m.-noon May 21; Work Session 5, 9 a.m.-noon June 11; and Work Session 6, 9 a.m.-noon June 18.

       The six focuses of the subcommittee are the guiding vision and values for Pilot Point; the roles and responsibilities of the mayor and council; council interaction with staff; council communications and engagement with the community; a Code of Ethics review and possible revisions; and meeting management.

       There will also be a community input night on June 11 at the Pilot Point Community Center.

       Following that process, the subcommittee's recommendations will go before the City Council in a work session.

       "That's the value of subcommittees, is that it allows that microcosm of the organization to get in, start working through the weeds and then pull something out," she said. "All of this information is available to all of the council members. … You're not a decision-making body. You're in an advisory capacity to do all this research to then bring it to council."

       From there, Shipman encouraged Chad Major, Ray Dane and Brian Heitzman in turn to share what they took away from the policies in place in Allen, Bryan, Celina, Frisco, Sunnyvale and Lancaster related to the role of the mayor and of the council members.

Pilot Point Council Governance Subcommittee meets

       The audio recording of the meeting is available at

       "It was really straightforward," Heitzman said of Celina. "It was almost like they took Bryan and boiled it down and took the most important parts."

       Both of those cities had policies he felt were helpful to build from.

       Dane pointed out Frisco's focus on the preparation of the elected officials and the guidelines it gives for interacting with each other and other stakeholders within the city.

       "I'm disappointed in one that you left off that I just really love out of Frisco," Major said. "'… Remember the council speaks with one voice or not at all on items not previously formally acted on as council.'"

       He also really felt that the guidelines from Lancaster were applicable to Pilot Point.

       The trio also brought up other topics that they felt the cities handled well in their documentation that will be touched on in future work sessions.

       The roughly 15 audience members present at the start of the meeting dwindled over the course of the meeting to about 10.

       The subcommittee, which is a less formal body than the council is able to be by law, engaged with the community members present, taking questions and checking in to see whether the discussion made sense to the observers who did not have the same information in front of them.


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