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Great expectations

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In his own words, Mayor Harold Weinbrecht opened the Cary Town Council's annual retreat today by putting into perspective the year 2008 -- the second year of his first term in office.

"It's been better than I ever could have expected," he said.

But that doesn't mean he didn't expect more. The same could be said of his fellow council members, who, along with Weinbrecht, reflected on their expectations of the governing body and by defining the degree to which the Town Council has met those expectations.

Led by Phil Boyle, an independent consultant with Carrboro-based Leading and Governing Associates Inc., the councl reviews a list of 20 expectations. As a group, the council members chose from the list a few expectations they felt had been met or exceeded:

*Recognizing and respecting the need for council members to take different positions on different issues
*Respecting different perspectives
*Getting things done
*Striving for excellence

The town council also chose from the list three expectation that had perhaps not been met to their satisfaction, or in other wods, areas in which the Town Council could improve its performance:

*Coordinating communication with constituents
*Remaining supportive of council decisions that deviate from one's personal ideology
*Doing great things

Town employees were also given a chance to weigh in on the their expectations of the Town Council. Cary's staff offered up the following as its perceived strengths and weaknesses:

Strengths -- supporting staff in public, only criticizing in private; communicating the values on which decisions are based; trusting, recognizing and respecting staff; showing a willingness to consider multiple alternatives

Weaknesses -- identifying problems instead of solutions; raising concerns in advance; setting priorities.

Council member Julie Robison expressed her appreciation for and satisfaction with the team-building exercise. "It's reaffirming," she said. "These are the kinds of things I would hope our council would exhibit. I would be disappointed if we didn't connect ourselves in these ways."

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About the blogger

Jordan Cooke is the town government and public safety reporter.