What Exactly Is the Leadership Committee Anyway?

Earlier this evening the first meeting of Chapel Hill 2020’s leadership team was held. So far there seems to have been much confusion on how the whole planning process will work, so I’m going to try to clear that muddiness up with all my newfound knowledge.

Basically, next Tuesday there will be a general meeting at which any and all comers will be asked to come up with a list of important areas they think the plan and the town need to focus on. A list will be drawn up and then refined at a similar meeting on October 6th. Each of these theme areas (as they’re officially called) will then be assigned a working group that anyone can sign up for. These groups will be led by members of the leadership team and use a variety of tactics to get public input on their topics. Eventually the work on the topics will be synthesized to help the professional staff understand citizen thinking on certain subjects.

So that’s the process, at least as I understood it. I imagine things will come into a clearer focus as we move forward. I think the ideas proposed are good ones, I just hope that theme area working group commitment isn’t so high as to leave out those whose voices are important but who can’t invest all that’s required. Whatever the case, the leadership team co-chairs noted that the process has been intentionally left open so that maximum input can be achieved.

Speaking of that process, I’m sure many of you wondering how it came about. I have an answer. The Chapel Hill Town Council appointed an initiating committee to set it up. In composing the committee, the council tried to select as diverse a group as possible and to choose people who had limited experience in government. In addition to sketching out the planning process, the committee also formed three new committees to make the process run smoothly: logistics, resources and outreach.

Finally, we arrive at how the leadership committee was selected. That to me seemed less clear. From the conversations I overheard, it seemed that the two Chapel Hill 2020 co-chairs recruited most people. I wondered how someone less connected would be able to land a spot. I also have to admit that looking around the room, the makeup of the committee disappointed me. It was decidedly white and decidedly older. Everyone also seemed pretty middle class. There were a lot of businessmen and a few former local politicians or people associated with UNC. One of the leadershipteam memebers herself commented on the lack of representation for the African-American community in the group.

All this being said, I left the meeting with a feeling of optimism. Everyone involved seemed genuinely excited about and invested in getting as many diverse perspectives to include in the plan as possible. Mayor Kleinschmidt talked about the challenges that Chapel Hill faces very eloquently and with such feeling and seemed truly committed to making this a people's plan. He set the bar high and said his goal is to get 10,000 Chapel Hillians--that's almost one in five town resdients--invovled in the plan in some way. There was a recognition that though the leadership team seemed homogenous now, outreach was being done and it was having some success.

At this point, still early in the process, hopes are high. My hope is that those hopes come to fruition.


I've enjoyed your thoughts on the process for the 2020 work.   Thanks for getting involved in OP.  It is really great to have students willing to engage this much. 

I have been immersing myself in information about Chapel Hill 2020, and this is frankly one of the best descriptions of the process that I have seen so far. No offense to the hardworking Town staff, but I think it's written more by and for "regular folks" to understand.One of my biggest questions about the leadership team (which is itself a really an impressive collection of leaders from around our community) is how the leaders will be chosen to work with the themes that emerge at the first two meetings. It seems odd to choose the leaders before we know what the themes even are!(Disclaimer: My husband is a member of the Leadership Team, and I have recently joined the CH2020 Outreach Committee. In related news: anyone know a free babysitter?) 

Your question was somewhat answered in the meeting (I think). It seemed
that leaders would have the chance to choose the theme they work on, but
there was ane empahsis from the co-chairs that leaders should try to
not to work on themes that they feel strongly about. The idea is to try
to keep the leaders in a neutral facilitation and recording role. If someone knows that misunderstood this/got it wrong please feel free to correct me!

We asked folks to be on the leadership team to act as facilitators on the groups working on themes.  As facilitators we would expect them to remain neutral.  Thus, as Jeff pointed out, a member of the leadership team would not be expected to work on a theme area that they have a overtly strong interest.Does that mean they can't express their opinion?  No.  As we pointed out to the leadership team at our meeting yesterday, there are several ways that citizens can participate in this process.  We will be receiving emails and the posts from our blog site and all of that information will be suppplied to the groups working on themes.  And since the emails or posts can be anonymous, a team leader can still express their opinion through these other routes.  And they can openly express their opinion in theme groups with which they aren't actively working.Some folks are undoubtedly wondering how we chose our leadership team.  We sought out folks we thought were leaders (and that is obviously a somewhat ambiguous defintion) but who could also facilitate discussions without getting personally involved.  This was obviously a judgment call on the part of Rosemary & myself.  We were comfortable in making that call.  But to insure that any leadership (facilitation) would be evenly balanced we recruited enough leaders to have three leaders (facilitators) to support each of the number (6) of theme areas we are anticipating.  There might be more (say 8) or less (say 5) - that is up to the group (hopefully very large and very representative) that shows up for the second CH2020 meeting on October 6th.I think Jeff has done a great job of describing this process to date.  Be forewarned - we don't have all the answers at this point.  Much of the process is going to be designed by you, the citizens, as we move forward.  We want this to be as inclusive as possible.  And hopefully you noticed I didn't say "by you, the CH citizens".  We've said from the beginning that this process is open to anyone who lives, works, plays or does business in Chapel Hill.  We've invited the County Commissioners.  We've invited the Carrboro Mayor and Board of Aldermen.  We've invited the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Supt. of Schools and School Board.  The folks at both the University and the Healthcare System have been totally supportive and offered whatever help we've needed.  Chapel Hill cannot and will not grow in a vacuum.  What we do influences our neighbors and vice versa.We've done everything we know to try to get the Community (not just the Town, the Community) involved.  Anyone who choses to not be involved can throw all the stones they want at the final product but they shouldn't be surprised if they just bounce off.  This is your chance to do more than sit at your computer keypad posting complaints.  This is your chance to try to make a difference.  Are we guaranteeing success?  No - but we're sure going to try.Hope to see you at East Chapel Hill High at 5-8 PM on September 27th.

Ruby, I know this won't solve your baby-sitting issue, but for those with older children:Child Care for Children Ages 5 and Over Will Be Available at Tuesday's Meeting (as well as subsequent meetings) of Chapel Hill 2020,                       Thanks to the YMCA TEEN LEADERS CLUBAlso, Food Will Be Available for Purchase,                       Thanks to the EAST CHAPEL HILL HIGH PTA  

Full disclosure: (1) my feelings are hurt that I wasn't invited to be on one of the events planning/leading teams; (2) sour grapes make me very objective.Jeff, great description of the coming events. I plan to be there but I don't know why. I'm old, white and overly opinionated. I hate "let's break into groups, people", "everybody write down 5 things you'd like to see", and other such stuff associated with the facilitated experience.What would 10,000 people in Chapel Hill have to say?I'll be there on Tuesday; stay out of my way and don't give me a pencil or pen.

That's a pretty good question. I think that a big bonus for getting people involved in the process is giving them a stake in it, building consensus around issues and educating people on what urban planning actually is. I'm really interested in exploring the whyn public participation matters, so stay tuned for a post on the subject :)

Unfortunately a news post today in the Daily Tar Heel had a lot of mistakes regarding how the Chapel Hill 2020 process has been set up and what's going to happen.  So for anyone reading this before tonight's meeting here is a chance to get the correct story. First, Rosemary (Waldorf) and I enlisted (conscripted) 18 citizen volunteers to be on our "Leadership Team".  These volunteers are going to serve as facilitators during the entire 8-month Chapel Hill 2020 process.  Therefore, while twisting their arms Rosemary and I explained that we were looking for folks that could "lead" (facilitate) while maintaining a neutral, non-partisan position.  These folks spent 2 hours in facilitation training with Matt Leighninger, our primary facilitator for our initial meetings, and Lydian Altman and John Stephens of the School of Government.  Matt is the Executive Director of the Deliberative Democracy Consortium (DDC), an alliance of the major organizations and leading scholars working in the field of deliberation and public engagement.  Lydian is the Director, Strategic Public leadership initiative, and John is Associate Professor of Public Administration and Government.At tonight's meeting folks will be asked to sit in small groups and to begin to create a vision statement for Chapel Hill and to suggest key themes that they want to see addressed. One of each of our 18 members of our leadership team of facilitators will work with each small group.  Each group will also have a staff person to act as recorder so that no group member will be distracted.  Stakeholders (you) will also be asked to jot down your thoughts and suggestions regarding what should go into the vision statement and what should be the key theme areas to focus on over the next 8 months. At our next meeting on October 6th, we will try to "finalize" a vision statement with the understanding that we may revisit it during the 8 month process if we think it needs some tweaking.  We will also determine what the key theme areas are we want to focus on.On October 22nd we will have a Community Open House at University Mall to spread the word about Chapel hill 2020 and to let folks know where we are in the process.On October 27th we will meet to begin working on the key theme areas.  Stakeholders will break up into groups, depending on what areas they are interested in.  Our Leadership Team (facilitators) will work with these groups, approximately three per group but the number will depend on the number of themes you (the stakeholders) decide you want to focus on.  We don't expect our Leadership Team folks to remain neutral on all issues - just the theme area they happen to be facilitating.  And they can still share their opinions on these themes by emailing or posting to the new Chapel Hill 2020 blog: www.2020buzz.orgSo hopefully the confusion about the number and roles for 18 members of the Leadership Team is cleared somewhat.  I should also point out that we have a number of dedicated volunteers working on three support committees who will also be involved throughout the whole process.  There is a Logistics Committee which will insure that we have places to meet and all the other necessary trappings to conduct successful meetings.  We have a Resource Committee which will provide materials, studies, speakers, etc. that the groups that form to work on a particular theme might need.  And we have an Outreach Committee which will work throughout the entire process to try to insure that we are getting everyone possible to the table.  This group will be looking for input on who is missing and who needs to be recruited.  They will also enlist the help of not only their own members but members of the Leadership Team, as well as Rosemary and myself, to go out into the community to tell folks what is going on, answer questions, and enlist more stakeholders.Hope this helps. George Cianciolo

Thanks for posting George. I feel like my words got really twisted in that story and was a little disappointed at what I saw.


Community Guidelines

By using this site, you agree to our community guidelines. Inappropriate or disruptive behavior will result in moderation or eviction.


Content license

By contributing to OrangePolitics, you agree to license your contributions under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 United States License.

Creative Commons License

Zircon - This is a contributing Drupal Theme
Design by WeebPal.