A number of commenters on the Rhino Times website have questioned the necessity of hiring an out-of-state consultant to run last week’s two-day City Council retreat.

From the photo above, those commenters and others can see how wrong they were about the need to hire an out-of-state consultant to ensure the City Council stayed on task and didn’t waste its time on frivolous endeavors.

Above is the final work product of the two-day retreat.

On Thursday, Feb. 2, city councilmembers were aided by artists and art students in order to have a final work product to prove they had spent their time considering how to solve the major issues facing the city, such as a lack of housing and an increasing vacancy rate in the Greensboro Police Department.

Before the agenda for the two-day meeting was available, the Rhino Times noted that when outside facilitators run these retreats, colored dots are often used to express the vision of the City Council.

But the facilitator, Rachel Yost of the Southeastern Institute of Research Inc. (SIR) in Richmond, Virginia, did all those past facilitators one better.  Rather than using colored dots to indicate councilmember’s approval of some measure, under Yost’s direction each councilmember was assigned an artist and worked with that artist to put their vision for the future of Greensboro on paper.

On Friday, Feb. 3, each city councilmember was asked to come to the front and explain their personal work of art.  Although the councilmembers complied, was there really any need?  Anyone can look at these works of art and know exactly what the Greensboro City Council is planning to do in the next year.

One of the purposes of the annual two-day retreat is to give the city manager direction regarding the City Council’s priorities in the upcoming budget.

In the past, the city manager has had to page through stacks of notes to make certain all of the council priorities are included in the proposed budget he presents in May.

But this year, because of the foresight of the facilitator, all City Manager Tai Jaiyeoba has to do is pull up a photo of this panel of artwork and the direction of the City Council is crystal clear.

Whoever said that the two-day retreats were a waste of time should be eating their words now that they have seen what the City Council accomplished in its two all-day sessions.

Despite rumors to the contrary, these works of art will not be auctioned off to the highest bidder.