Loveland Council Closes Annual  Retreat
Guarded Cordiality Prevails
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Loveland - January 16, 2010

The Loveland City Council along with senior city staff concluded their one and a half day annual retreat by Noon Saturday against the
backdrop of animated characters in a conference room at The Group Publishing building on Cascade Avenue in Loveland.  

Straining to keep the meeting on cordial terms the nine members of Loveland's City Council carefully shared their thoughts and opinions
on numerous topics with the assistance of a paid facilitator.  

Councilman Larry Heckel used his remaining time near the end to complain about the newer members of the council supporting an
expansion for the library.  Heckel stated,

"I am trying to make a comparable statement about our decision yesterday regarding the library.  My common sense approach is if it
ain't broke don't fix it."  He than changed direction and stated, "However its not the time to sit around and wait to see if they can raise
another $600,000" in reference to matching funds being raised by volunteers.  By the time he concluded his library comments Heckel
appeared to be supporting the council's decision.  

Doubts Regarding Loveland's Recent Elections

Heckel than changed the tone of his comments by sharing his view as to why Loveland voters elected people he didn't support during
the recent city elections.  "In the last two years myself and others have been undermined by a certain organization in town that has no
credibility......I don't deserve that and other people don't either."  Than he turned and looked back over his shoulder towards his former
council colleague, Dave Clark, who made a failed attempt to be elected the mayor of Loveland last November.  Former councilman
Dave Clark has been a regular fixture in the audience at council meetings since his electoral defeat and has even made gestures regarding
his displeasure with some members of the city council while they were speaking.

Heckel concluded his comments by reiterating his support for Loveland City Manager Don Williams by crediting Williams with a
"conservative" management style that Heckel argued has kept Loveland solvent when other cities are suffering financially all while
indicating the city was just fine before last November's election.

Councilwoman Joan Shaffer responded in her comments to Heckel's political commentary.  First she thanked all her colleagues for their
forthright approach to the retreat and ability to amicably discuss differences.  She stated, "Everyone demonstrated open mindedness and
right heart in the discussions."  Shaffer also stated she was "happy" about the decision to fund an expansion of the library and felt it was
the proper direction for the city.

Shaffer than commented, "I appreciate the uncomfortableness councilors have felt" when being criticized by the community while
acknowledging she too has encountered such critics.  Shaffer said "hurt feelings were not the intent" in an apparent reference to city
election results last November.  She went on to say, "The electorate spoke through the election....which the turn-out wasn't that bad."  

Shaffer than stated she was interested in hearing from staff about "what is going on with VNet and the $900,000."  

Editor's Note: The company VNet received approximately $900,000 from the City of Loveland in an agreement that required a
portion or all of that money be returned should the company either close its doors or change significantly its ownership
story) within a specified period of time.  The company has now closed and re-opened and was sold but Loveland City Manager
Don Williams has ignored previous requests by several council members to provide an update on his "negotiations" with the
company regarding their obligations to repay money to the city.  Williams was quoted in the Loveland-Reporter Herald last
year saying the previous owner who also made a personal guarantee for the money his company received to expand would
soon repay the city after it changed ownership.  Subsequently, Williams has ignored requests by several councilors to agendize
the V NET issue on a council meeting agenda for discussion.

Councilmembers Comment On the Retreat

Councilman Hugh McKean used his alloted speaking time at the end to laud praise onto Loveland City Manager Don Williams by
saying, "I am humbled to work with you Don [Williams] and the incredible city staff."  McKean said he wanted to convey, "40 seconds
of just wow" and commented on Loveland city staff, "this is one of the most remarkable groups of people I have ever known."

Kathleen McEwen addressed the council's actions during the retreat by observing that she believed too many politicians on a national
level allow their agendas and personalities get in the way of working together.  She commented it was her observation that Loveland's
City Council demonstrated an ability to come together and work through difficult issues during the council retreat and she was pleased
with the frank discussions.

Mayor Cecil Gutierrez stated in a good mannered kidding, "All I want to say is I am glad you all think I have a big 'S' on my chest and
can solve all the regional problems" in reference to previous comments by his colleagues that they expect him to coordinate the regional
strategy for the city by meeting with officials from surrounding cities.  Heckel interrupted, "Cecil if you do the job the way you should I
think you will be successful.....if you don't do it I am not sure anyone will know the difference."

City Manager Seeks Affirmation by Council To Continue Setting City's Agenda

Loveland City Manager Don Williams sought guidance from the council regarding future council study sessions or meetings by
commenting,  "I have heard comments over the years about staff setting the managers in Colorado have had the right to
bring topics not requiring support from at least four on the council"

Williams was referring to complaints that he doesn't allow council members to place items on the agenda unless they first obtain support
from three other members of the council to place the item on the agenda.  Williams doesn't hold himself to the same restriction he places
on the elected officials but instead unilaterally decides which items he wants removed or added to study session agendas without first
seeking a consensus from at least three on the city council.  Williams does, however, often meet with he mayor to review future agendas.

Williams invited comments from the council by proposing, "Let's put that smelly on the table now."

Heckel was first to respond by announcing,

"I think the city manager knows best what is going on in the community and should set the agenda.." for the city.  Councilwoman
Johnson added, "I agree."

Councilman Klassen stated, "We pay him the big bucks.  If we don't trust him to set the agenda than we hired the wrong guy."

Mayor Gutierrez looked about the room as if seeking any additional comments.  Gutierrez concluded the discussion by asking Williams,
"Does that give you the answer you need?"   Williams responded simply, "yes."

Earlier in the morning Williams told the council he defended their actions so far when questioned about his opinion on their spending
decisions the day before by saying, "So far the council is listening and doing the right thing."

Mayor Gutierrez finished the retreat by concluding, "I think it was a particularly productive retreat and I am especially excited about the
economic development goals..."
Loveland Mayor Cecil Gutierrez

Retreat Infommercial Pitch
Moderator Promotes Self-Help Book

Around 11:00 am the 2010 council retreat
took an odd turn as Bob Tipton, the
facilitator who received $4,800 for
moderating the day and a half meeting,
departed from the agenda to make a special

Likely taking a cue from motivational
speaker Tony Robbins, Tipton raised a
book over his head displaying the cover to
his left and right for those assembled to see.  
Tipton explained he authored the self-help
book entitled "Jump." He recommended it
as a must read for the city council and staff.

See Tipton's website about the book

Using his baritone voice in a manner more
appropriate for an infommercial, Tipton
explained his book would help the council
get "unstuck" from issues or problems. His
website describes the book as, "
brings together the principles of
quantum physics, ancient philosopy
spiritual practices and sound leadership
in a a
sic. two-part book."  He also said it
contained anecdotal information regarding
leadership in the City of Loveland while
calling out Don Williams, the City Manager,
specifically as an important influence in the
examples provided in the book about great
leadership and efficient organizations.

This is especially ironic because Tipton
described the city's development related
services in Loveland while managed by
Williams in an
April 2005 report as
"Inefficient and onerous."  Tipton was
reported to have received $80,000
subsequently from the city for his 2005
observations and report and has since
become a close friend of Don Williams.

Tipton announced at the conclusion of his
sales pitch that 'Jump' will
"be available in book stores soon" for
the council and others to purchase in helping
them cope with life's many problems.

Apparently the $4,800 consulting fee didn't
include complimentary copies of Tipton's
new book.

According to
Tipton's online biography
"Tipton is a well-known and popular
speaker throughout the world."
online biography fails to mention any
academic or educational qualifications.  His
work history described in the biography is
vague and fails to mention the name of any
previous employer other than his own
consulting company.
Self-help Guru Robert S. Tipton