Oconee County department heads, at the invitation of Board of Commissioners Chair John Daniell, met for two days last week at Stone Mountain in what Daniell said was an effort at “team building.”
In the first day of the session on Thursday, former County Administrative Officer Alan Theriault led the group through a discussion about the budget process, communications, morale “or any other item important to the group,” Daniell said. Neither he nor current Administrative Officer Jeff Benko attended that session.
Friday’s session included a brief discussion involving Daniell and Benko of each department. “The goal was to allow brain storming on the director’s ideas for implementation and see where joint efforts may benefit,” Daniell said.
Including Benko, Daniell and Theriault, a total of 20 people attended the two day program, and County Attorney Daniell Haygood participated in the session on Friday.
Final figures for the cost of the retreat, including travel and hotel expenses, won’t be complete until Friday, Daniell said. The cost has been budgeted at just under $600 per employee and will come from each department's travel budget for the current year, he said. That brings the rough cost to about $12,000.
The state open meetings law does not extend to staff meetings, though Daniell did make passing reference to the planned retreat at the work session the Board of Commissioners held at the Community Center in Veterans Park on Wednesday.
The retreat was held inside Stone Mountain Park at the Evergreen Conference Center.
Daniell said he chose to go out of the county for the retreat because “I believe it is more effective for team building and getting prepared for an aggressive agenda.”
The retreat was two full days with two nights stay at the conference center hotel.
Spouses were invited to attend the Friday evening meal, Daniell said, but not all were able to join the group.
No Other Commissioners Present
Daniell said that none of the other four members of the Board of Commissioners attended the retreat.
According to a sheet Daniell provided me, the group discussed a list of goals, including a county-wide electronic filing system, open book management, performance indicators for all departments, a new county seal, a facility plan, and broadband service in the county.
The list also included Rails to Trails.
“I believe the time was beneficial to all the participants and allowed for much needed team building,” Daniell said.
Note: I misinterpreted how the budget for the retreat was calculated and have updated the article to reflect a correction from Daniell. I apologize for the error.