Washington Evening Journal
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Neighbors Growing Together | Dec 18, 2014

Council works on communication

By Xiomara Levsen | Apr 30, 2013

RIVERSIDE — “I think you’re at a crossroads here,” consultant Pat Callahan told the Riverside City Council Monday. “This might be kind of the ‘make-or-break’ type of situation. If we can’t get you working together as a team, then at some point you need to accept the fact that this just isn’t working. We all have different life experiences, and with that comes a different life perspective.”
At the city council’s work session Callahan, of Snyder and Associates in Cedar Rapids, stressed that the council and city employees need to continue working with each other. He is helping the council work through internal issues.
Callahan gave the council members a questionnaire to fill out prior to the meeting. A lot of discussion came up regarding what the mayor and the city council members think their main jobs are.
Councilor Christine Kirkwood said that since taking a financial training session she is reviewing the bills, which she feels is part of her responsibility as a council member.
City Administration Rusty Rogerson said that he had also attended the training and did not remember that being discussed. He wondered if she needs to go through the bills as much as she does. Callahan suggested Kirkwood and Rogerson sit down together and come up with a plan for looking at the bills.
“You got to have some faith,” councilor Bob Schneider Jr. said. “Some of those are going to be routine monthly bills.”
Callahan asked Kalona city administrator Ryan Schlabaugh, who attended the session, what Kalona does when it comes to paying bills.
“Whatever goes before the council, I have to be comfortable with the fact the council is going to support that I paid the bill,” Schlabaugh said.
“So many of our bills are routine,” Rogerson said, “and we’ve lost discounts and we’ve been late-charged. At some point you’re going to have to trust me that I’m not going to overpay. There’s no benefit for me to overpay.”
Callahan suggested the council pass a resolution naming which bills Rogerson can pay without discussing them at a council meeting.
Kirkwood said she thought that was already done, but none of the council members could remember when it was passed.
In other business, the council discussed:
• when to include all of the city council on e-mails;
• enhancing the working relationship between the council, the mayor, and the city administrator;
• what items the council would like to achieve in the next couple of months;
• what they thought the public impression of Riverside’s city council was;
• and what ways the council could work to improve the public impression.
At the end of the work session Callahan asked if the council wanted him back in August as a checkup. The council asked him to return

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