News

City Council may do its 2004 bonding out of town

By ERICA HALL

Staff writer

The City Council will be spending its annual retreat in Federal Way next month, but some council members expressed an interest in trying to hold it out of town some time in the future.

They’re planning to meet Jan. 16-17 at Dumas Bay Center, assuming they can book the space. If not, officials would find another local spot for the two-day, 12-hour planning session.

During the retreat, council members will set city priorities, establish a list of projects and begin budget planning for the next biennium.

Councilman Dean McColgan said that when he was a first-year council member, he appreciated the opportunity to sit down with his new colleagues at an out-of-town retreat “to just talk about being a council member.”

He added that having the retreat outside of Federal Way cuts down on the number of distractions because council members don’t go home at night to check on work or to check their e-mail and phone messages.

Councilman Mike Park said there are lots of pros and cons to holding retreats out of town, but he ultimately prefers it because it allows council members to focus on the issues and bond.

“When it’s local, in-town, council members just step into the meeting and then spend the evening at home,” he said. “Out of town, we discuss the issues, but it’s also a bonding opportunity. We spend more time bonding.”

He added the ideal location wouldn’t be too far out of town so the public could attend.

Councilwoman Linda Kochmar said out-of-town retreats are nice because they allow new members to get to know the rest of the council in a relaxed setting and they can concentrate on council business. This year, the council will be joined by freshman council member Jim Ferrell, who will be sworn in during the first meeting in January.

Still, Kochmar said the retreat should be held in Federal Way.

“As far as being fiscally responsible, it’s good to have it in town, and people who want to attend can,” she said.

Staff writer Erica Hall: 925-5565, ehall@fedwaymirror.com

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