Decatur Mayor Baskett says retreat a success

Posted by Dan Whisenhunt December 3, 2013

I’ve been making a bit of a fuss about the Nov. 22 retreat held by City Commissioners and Board of Education members. My main beef with it had to do with notice and access. I intended to let yesterday’s post be my last word on that specific meeting, but last night I received a statement about the retreat from Mayor Jim Baskett.

Setting aside my complaints about the meeting’s remote location and poor notice, I genuinely wanted to know whether officials thought the meeting achieved its goals. I first asked this of City Manager Peggy Merriss, who directed the questions to Mayor Baskett.

Since Mayor Baskett is the mayor, I figured I ought to give him a little room to discuss the intent and purpose of the meeting. I’ll let Mayor Baskett take it from here:

Mayor Jim Baskett

Mayor Jim Baskett

Dan, here is my response to some of the questions you posed to the city manager.

To the best of my recollection the retreat was first suggested by Marc Wisniewski, but, it was very quickly seen as a good idea by all of us.

Our goal was to find ways to communicate better and work together on issues that affect the whole community.

The general consensus is that it was a successful retreat and that going forward we will be approaching issues with more respect for our different roles, more trust that all of us are working to do the best we can for Decatur, and more commitment to improve our communications.

Jim Baskett, Mayor, City of Decatur

I appreciate the mayor’s response. I watched the live stream of last night’s City Commission meeting, and commissioners suggested these retreats might become a semi-regular occurrence.

That’s great. Let’s hold the next retreat in Decatur so it will be more convenient for people who live here. I’m sure there’s a local restaurant that would appreciate the catering business, too.

About Dan Whisenhunt

Dan Whisenhunt is editor and publisher of

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  • Steve

    Dan you miss the who point of a Retreat. One of the ideas is get out of familiar surroundings and promote a little fresh thinking.

    • No, I get the point of the retreat just fine. I just don’t get the part about holding it 48 miles outside of town. I don’t think you have to leave the city to come up with fresh ideas.

  • Karen

    I support the idea of city and school leaders finding a better way to work together. I do not support them discussing city and school business away from the prying eyes of the taxpayers WHOM THEY SERVE. Both the city counsel and the school board seem determined to cut the voters out of process as much as is legally possible. If both bodies were more transparent a lot more trust would be won.

  • Rick Baggenstoss

    ‘Retreat’ should not be confused with “offsite” meeting. This issue has been blown out of proportion. Clearly, it has touched a nerve only few citizens share. Forty-eight miles is hardly inaccessible. I’m much more interested in the idea that the City has not had ‘retreats’ but clearly has issues which are well-suited for retreats. The City’s conflict resolution, idea creation methodology will influence results. Too bad this best practice is being smoldered.

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