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City Council - Minutes     
Thursday, April 30, 2009

Call To Order:
MISD Board President Janet Frohnmayer called the meeting to order at 5:30 pm in the Crest Learning Center, 4150 86th Ave SE, Mercer Island, Washington.
Roll Call:
Councilmembers Bruce Bassett, Mike Cero, Mike Grady, Dan Grausz, Steve Litzow, Deputy Mayor El Jahncke and Mayor Jim Pearman and MISD Board Directors Lisa Strauch Eggers John DeVleming, Adair Dingle, Pat Braman and President Janet Frohnmeyer were present. City Manager Rich Conrad, MISD Superintendent Gary Plano and Sue Bennett (Professional Facilitator) were also present.
The purpose of the special meeting was to develop, define and discuss the partnership and relationships between the Mercer Island City Council and the Mercer Island School district. Mayor Jim Pearman stated the cultures of the way the two entities do business is very different. The goal of this evening is to work on a process which is meant to be a road map on how to have discussion with both groups that is agreeable to both parties. President Frohnmayer added in addition, the goal is to create a foundation to build better relationships and frame the context of what the working relationship should look like. The two groups need to sit back and reflect and have some understanding on how to move forward.
At the January 2009 Planning Session, the Council agreed to have the City/School District subcommittee members (Councilmembers Grausz, Litzow, and Pearman) involved during the School Districtís master planning process to consider school/city nexus, shared resource/responsibility opportunities and to provide real-time feedback. And at the School Districtís January 29, 2009 retreat the Board updated a draft policy statement which stated the City Council and School Board agree to meet at least annually or as needed to review City-School district partnerships and collaborations.  Further, the Board President, Mayor, City Manager and School Superintendent agree to meet throughout the year on a mutually-agreed upon schedule. The group discussed the policy which included the frequency of the meetings (when is enough and when is too much if there are no agenda topics) and whether to share the use of facilities free of charge. It was determined that details of facilities usage are negotiated in interlocal agreements.
Facilitator Bennett led the group into determining guiding principles for joint discussion.


  • Open discussion, ideas brought forward
  • Don't direct staff without full City Councilor Board of Director agreement
  • No surprises
  • Transparency

Partnership Committee: Process Management
The proposed structure reflects a "Partnership Committee: Process Management" which includes the Mayor, Board President, City Manager and the School Superintendent. The Partnership Committee is the forum within which matters affecting the organizational necessities of City Council-School Board relations are discussed and planned. The committee is sanctioned to meet and undertake organizational issues that relate to present and/or future Interlocal Agreements for both governing bodies - the School Board and the City Council.
Ad Hoc Issues Committee
The Ad Hoc Committee is the forum within which City and School officials undertake issues of mutual interest, conduct analyses, identify alternatives for action and devise mutually-agreeable proposals for consideration by the respective governing bodies. The committee is intended to serve as a working group, delving into issues at a policy level and a detail level to the extent necessary to make informed recommendations.
Facilitator Bennett suggested a "Decision Tree Model" where a good idea moves forward to people of interest within the two entities. The process would then ultimately result in the idea being placed on a City Council agenda and a School Board agenda for discussion. Depending on the respective outcomes the idea would move to the Ad Hoc Committee which includes members of both groups for more discussion.
The ultimate goal of the combined governing bodies is to work better together and form a strong community partnership. In conclusion, the group had a shared understanding of the different cultures of process currently in effect.
Adjournment:          6:45 pm



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