Council Retreat Recap – Part 1

By:  Diane Benjamin

I wasn’t able to attend the retreat last Saturday, so I FOIA’d the audio.  Of course it’s long, so far I’ve listened to part one.  A link is below.  The documents they are discussing can be found HERE  Below are comments I had while listening to the audio, it’s not a story in full sentences!

Retreat notes:

Angela Scott was the only Public Comment.  Listen below to the beginning.  She ended with asking for Tari Renner to resign.

After this retreat the Council should know how to eliminate the “structural deficit” for the next 5 years

Council isn’t working as a team.  Hales wants them to praise each other in public.  Council plans but doesn’t implement the plan.

Council has too many 1 sided discussions.  They need to learn how to listen to each other.  Council needs to share the same information with all nine members.

The person who attended with the cough is sitting TOO close to the microphone!

Hales wishes for a united Council.  He thinks they are eroding the trust and confidence in each other.

Hales sees a growing integrity deficit.

Hales wants to know what the consequences are for misbehaving.  We still don’t know.

A FEW council members are driving staff insane with phone calls.  Halls called them micro-managing the staff.  He didn’t name names.

Nora handles all Tari’s emails!  So that’s what the communications person does.

The Council gets WEEKLY City Manager reports, the citizens don’t get monthly reports.  We used to.

They spent way too much time discussing how to communicate.

1:44 – the Council discussion of roles begins.

Strong mayors make life miserable for City Managers.  (Remember that guy who thinks the mayor’s job is full time?)

Hales blamed the past Council for allowing Tom Hamilton to build the NEVER used #5 Fire Station.  (Duh)  $3,000,000 poof!

The Giebelhausen fiasco cost the City way too much money in consultants and staff time because it went through an elected officials.  Hales didn’t mention the Fazzini jet fuel kerfuffle.

GE project developers have come to staff, not elected officials.

Basically the message was Tari needs to stop playing developer.  He cost them too much time and money.  Bloomington has an economic development guy, it isn’t Tari.

Tari holds grudges against those who don’t fall in line.  Around 2:01:00 he recites how the Council voted on 2 different issues.  It was an obvious jab at the two former aldermen who he automatically targeted at virtually every meeting.  Tari must have slept through everything said above.

Successful cities have focus, according to them.  City Manager is in charge, not elected officials.  Economic Development is a top priority, Hales asked what if the mayor wants a project and the Council doesn’t?  He answered his own question – council majority rules, not the mayor.  Tari thinks Normal is successful because they act like a team.  ($100,000,000 in debt is a team Bloomington doesn’t need mayor!)

Tari refutes Hales claims at 2:11;47 to being in charge.

The session ended with how to handle the media.  Scott Black actually mentioned he works for his Ward, not the City, council or mayor.  The facilitator mentioned creating consequences for saying the wrong thing.  Each Council member is supposed to hold each other accountable for following the policy.  See PDF page 9 and following.

First 2 hours and 20 minutes of the retreat:

There is more to come, if I can stay awake!


13 thoughts on “Council Retreat Recap – Part 1

  1. Rumor has it that Staff received over 400 emails/month, day and night, on holidays and weekends with special requests from the Council—the Mayor is part of the Council.

    If Scott Black was truly representing his Ward rather than the 500 people who voted him into office, he would not have voted for all the tax increases. Black was on the Budget Task Force. They were to find spending cuts but instead raised taxes by 1%. He voted to spend $2.5M on vacant property downtown for future development. Do you think those purchases contributed to the structural deficit?? Black has morphed into Renner. Short on memory long on misrepresentation.

    The City gives B/N Advantage tax dollars for “regional” initiatives. Black voted in favor of that which goes beyond Ward 7.


    1. I was there when they talked about Council calling staff. It was 400 over a 2 month period I believe. Here is the thing…Tari came up and let me know I could meet with him alone. How many people take him up on this offer and ask him for favors? I’m not asking for anything tangible so I’m not or shouldn’t be affecting staff. Do you think if I met with him one on one and asked him to resign he would reconsider? No! I’m really lucky in that I’m not for sale, can’t be bought, and I try to serve my community, “my people”. I care about citizens, not the money they can give me. I care about people and have never felt like they were garbage that need to be “cleaned up”.


  2. Funny as HECK! Hales is talking about “micromanaging” The guy with the pimple brain and a sealed record! As for Tari. A vote of NO CONFIDENCE is in ORDER, and IF the council had ANY gonads they would throw him to the highest curb. He’s a loose cannon, and ONE of these days will cost the city a lot of money for ONE of his eruptions.


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