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City Council's 'Kumbaya' moment remains on hold

(Tom Ross - 660NEWS)

City councillors who planned to attend a team building session say the session is important

The event was cancelled for a second time after not enough councillors were available to attend

CALGARY (660 NEWS) – It was being touted as a team building session at city hall, but it has been put off.

Council was scheduled to meet in private with a facilitator on Monday, who would lead them through a ‘working together’ session.

But too many councillors weren’t going to attend, so the session was cancelled.

It is the second time the event has been put off.

READ MORE: Nenshi postpones strategic meeting for second time

The exercise has been described as an attempt to build on council’s strong suits and limit some of the distractions that often bog down meetings.

Coun. Jyoti Gondek said there is some value to the idea.

“We have a tendency to go off topic,” Gondek said. “And I think a facilitator is critical to make sure that everybody in the room is participating instead of one person having to herd the cats, so to speak.”

Ward 11 councillor Jeromy Farkas said he was planning to attend.

“This wasn’t supposed to be just a Kumbaya session as some were making it out to be,” Farkas said. “It’s actually supposed to be a detailed discussion about the strengths, the weaknesses of each member of council, where we’re coming from, the kind of priorities that we see for our wards and I think it’s important to make time for strategic conversations like these.”

Farkas wonders if other council members are on board.

“This isn’t just the first time that it was postponed,” Farkas said. “It does beg a fair question for Calgarians to ask if city council is taking it seriously.”

Still, Farkas said councillors need to treat one another with respect.

“I think healthy disagreement is a fantastic thing. It’s really important for us to be able to ensure that when we do disagree it’s respectful.”

The future of the working together plan remains up in the air.

Some councillors have openly suggested the idea is an attempt by Mayor Naheed Nenshi to gloss over division on council.

“This is a much needed session,” Gondek said. “I’m looking forward to it whenever we can have it.”