Checking back in with Tim Dempsey

Last year a mini controversy erupted around the awarding of a consulting contract to then Planning Board Chair Tim Dempsey. Seven months later, are we getting our money's worth?

I believe the answer is yes. Tim did a tremendous job co-chairing the Manager search process with Anita Badrock (BTW, congratulations on your new Chamber chairmanship- there is no one better suited for the job in my book!)

One of the things Tim worked on of late was pulling together last weekend's Council retreat, which by all reports was much improved from previous years.

I thought Sally Greene, now becoming a Council veteran, had an interesting perspective, this being her fourth retreat:

"Using a new format designed to foster more creative interaction between council members and staff, we sat down at tables together, rolled up our sleeves, and talked about common issues and priorities. The discussion was so rich, in fact, that we did not come out with a final set of priorities, but with manager Roger Stancil's help and as we move further into budget season, those will be forthcoming."

Cal Horton was a tremendous manager, but it appears that there were some opportunities for improving internal communication within the town governance structure that Tim has tackled head on.

I particularly liked the ultimate goal Tim set out in his opening remarks at the retreat last weekend-

An overarching purpose will be to eliminate two phrases from the Town's lexicon:

“The Council doesn't understand”, --too often spoken by staff and “The staff seems to have their own agenda,” too often mentioned by Council members. These statements will be eliminated, over time; not due to fear of repercussions, but because they simply will no longer be needed.

I think if staff and the Council have more open communication with each other, the improvements in the culture of town governance will trickle down to enhance the way the town serves its citizens.

There is a lot more I could talk about but in the interest of keeping it short, I will just say that I think when Tim's work is done, he will have helped Chapel Hill to have a much improved town government. And I believe that is more than worth the money he is being paid.



When Tim was the chair of the Planning Board, I often sang his praises by telling people how good he was with PROCESS. He is also smart and very fair. This is exactly what makes him a good consultant and perfect for the job of improving the Town's organizational culture (a task which was long overdue).

I was sad to see him leave the Planning Board (especially because I had to fill his big shoes), but in the end the return for the entire community definitely makes it worth it. And hopefully he'll reapply for the board when this consulting gig is done...

I miss Tim on the PB too but I think his replacement as Chair has done a pretty good job :)

OK, enough with the self-congratulatory patting our friends on the back!!!

And now back to your regularly scheduled snarkyness... ;-)

I thoroughly enjoyed working with Tim during the manager search and found him knowledgeable, professional, and with a strong professional code of ethics. I would not hesitate to recommend him to any client I have that might need his services.

Thank you Tom. I'm excited about this year at the Chamber. And a belated congrats to you too, as a guy to watch in 2007!


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