Minutes - 12/2007, Council Retreat
Saturday, December 01, 2007 3:00 PM




Board Orientation and Retreat 

December 9, 2007, 12:00 p.m. 

Historic Streetcar Station 

1224 N. Lexington Parkway 

St. Paul, MN 


Directors present:  David Arbeit, Sharon Frisell, Chai Insook, Luke Kuhl, Mike MacDonald, John 

Marino, Marcy Micek, Dennis O’Rourke, Nancy Sabin, Matt Schmitt, and Nathan Volz.   

Directors absent and excused: Sehoya Cotner   

Staff present:  Sue McCall, Community Organizer    

1. Introductions: Getting to Know Us! 

David Arbeit called the meeting to order at 12:20 p.m. He led an exercise in which the Board 

members introduced each other and themselves. 


2. A Profile of the Como Community 

Using maps and census data, David Arbeit gave an overview of the Como area. 

3. District Councils as a Framework for Citizen Participation 

David Arbeit discussed the history and role of District Councils. 


4. A Brief History of the Como Community Council 

The Board reviewed the list of past chairs and where they are today. 


5. Reviewing the 2007 Work Plan 

The Board reviewed each of the goals of the Citizen Participation and Neighborhood Crime 

Prevention grants, and how much of each had been accomplished.  


6. Exercise: Council Achievements/Council Disappointments 

Each Board member wrote one achievement and one disappointment on post-its, and these were 

read aloud. They are as follows: 



Council works – lakeshore improvement, water quality, plantings 

Creation of Events and Institutions committee and increased communication with the 

institutions of the neighborhood (State Fair, Como Park campus) 

Land Use committee volunteers, work, and achievements 

Local area outreach on Land Use issues 

Petition to create Watershed District 

Increase awareness of council through newsletter 

Creation of Capitol Region Watershed District 

Annual Cleanup 

Empower the community and protect the community 

D10 Retreat Minutues (12-09-07) 



Collaborated with residents and dozens of organizations, businesses, institutions, and city 

officials in 4-year Land Use Plan development 

Retained a talented community organization through the most challenging Board leadership in 

8 years 



Rely too much on staff – committees must do their own work 

Communication on major developments in the Park 

Don’t try to put too many things in an agenda that cannot be covered in the allotted time of a 


Hmong Festival 

Lack of information on District activities 

Inability to engage the community through active participation 

Failure to stand up for the protection of Como Park 

A lot fewer DC newsletters than used to be distributed 

Lack of communication 

Lack of guidance from ’06-’07 chair, support for staff, guidance to committees, and financial 


Best to form as a team (orientation), then norm (more in-depth work e.g.), then storm (get 

goals completed, in-depth discussion, strategy development) 


7. Understanding NonProfits: Best Practices 

Nancy Sabin presented information on best practices of nonprofits. 


Parking lot issue: Explore the Open Meeting law and what is ok to discuss in emails or 

conversations outside of Board meetings. 


8. Understanding Financial Statements: District 10 Funding 

Marcy Micek presented tutorial on understanding financial statements. 


9. Exercise: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats 

There was no time for this agenda item. 


10. Exercise: Setting Goals for 2008 

There was no time for a full discussion of this item, but David Arbeit gave his definition of goals, 

objectives, and activities.   


Goals – high-level (not measurable), strategic 

Objectives – tactical rather than strategic, measurable 

Activities – how the objectives are accomplished, more specific 


Dennis O’Rourke said that committees should be involved in goal-setting was important and that 

he hoped they would be allowed to set their goals rather than having them set by the Board.   


11. Wrap Up: What Now? 

No time for this item. 


The meeting adjourned at 4:10 p.m. 


Minutes submitted by Marcy Micek 

District 10 Como Community Council | 1224 Lexington Pkwy N, Saint Paul, MN 55103 | 651.644.3889 | district10 [at] district10comopark.org

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