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GROUP FACILITATION – An Action Plan for a Public Board

A couple of years ago, I was asked to facilitate a series of meetings involving the members of a public board appointed by a City Council in Colorado.  The Board was going through a period of transition, with a few new members having been appointed to the Board whose styles and values differed from their predecessors.  Furthermore, a new Board member was soon to become the chair, and the Director of the staff of the organization over which the Board had authority was soon to retire.  Many things were in flux, and Board meetings had become laden with conflict and less productive than in the past.  The goal of the meetings I was hired to facilitate was to develop an Action Plan to allow the Board to have more civil and productive deliberations and operations in the future.

After conducting a personal interview with each of the Board and staff members, I facilitated two planning meetings with the Board members, as a group.  After agreeing to a set of ground rules for their meetings (something I always help the members of any group to do at their first meeting), the group discussed the issues that had brought them to the table.  I was able to suggest an agenda with potential topics because I had already spoken one-on-one with everyone there.  Although the details of each interview were kept private, it was understood by everyone that I would produce proposed issues for discussion based on those interviews.  I made detailed notes at each group meeting, noting areas of agreement when they happened.

Finding the time for these special meetings had been a challenge for […]

By |June 19th, 2013|Group Facilitation Denver|Comments Off on GROUP FACILITATION – An Action Plan for a Public Board
  • MARIJUANA medical dispensary group facilitation dispute
    GROUP FACILITATION – A Neighborhood Discussion on a Proposed Medical Marijuana Dispensary GROUP FACILITATION – A Neighborhood Discussion on a Proposed Medical Marijuana Dispensary

    GROUP FACILITATION – A Neighborhood Discussion on a Proposed Medical Marijuana Dispensary

GROUP FACILITATION – A Neighborhood Discussion on a Proposed Medical Marijuana Dispensary

In 2010, I was hired to facilitate a required neighborhood meeting about a proposed medical marijuana dispensary in a Colorado county.  The proposed business was to be located in a mixed-use residential and business area.  At that time, proprietors of such dispensaries were referred to as “caregivers”, and those purchasing marijuana were “patients”.  Marijuana was to be sold only with a doctor’s prescription.

After I opened the meeting by describing the procedure for it as mandated by the county, the applicant for the rezoning for the marijuana dispensary gave a proposal overview, including a handout giving the highlights of it.  This initial presentation took about 15 minutes.  A question and answer period of about 90 minutes followed.  I moderated this discussion and took notes (recording the neighbors’ questions and the applicant’s answers on a flip chart).  One or two supporters of the proposal had come at the behest of the applicant.  The others present were neighbors who were opposed to (or very concerned about) the operation of a medical marijuana dispensary in their neighborhood.

The whole concept of “caregivers” and “patients” was questioned extensively.  The owner of a nearby recreational facility patronized by children and young adults was very concerned that the proposed facility, if approved, could put him out of business.  Even though the stated intent was to sell only to “patients”, and the marijuana sold was to be grown on-site, there was still a general concern that product might be sold to others, including youngsters.  A typical concern relating to controversial land use proposals was raised by many in attendance – a decrease in property values.  Another strong concern among the attendees was the perceived potential for an increased crime rate.  It was also […]

By |June 10th, 2013|Group Facilitation Denver|Comments Off on GROUP FACILITATION – A Neighborhood Discussion on a Proposed Medical Marijuana Dispensary