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Community Council Prepares for Leadership Transition

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Contact: Mary Campbell

Community Council is beginning the search for its second executive director. Julie Reese, the organization’s first director, will retire in December.

President Craig Christensen said, “This is Community Council’s fifth anniversary. The organization was just months old when Julie was hired. Since that time, it has grown, its financial stability has increased, and it has fully implemented its study-action process for community enhancement. She has helped us get off to a good start. We are confident that our next director will strengthen Community Council’s role as a catalyst for community action.”

A search committee led by Christensen and composed of community and board members will recruit a new leader before the end of the year. Reese will continue to facilitate the organization’s programs during that time. Advocacy for recommendations developed as part of the Improving Communication among Citizens and Government study will begin in September, the 2013-14 study is scheduled to begin in October, and the Reducing Gang Membership through Prevention implementation phase will conclude with a report to the public at the Full Circle Celebration, November 6.

“The last five years have been very stimulating,” Reese commented. “It has been fun to help build a new organization and to implement the study process as a community improvement tool. I feel fortunate to have been able to learn about so many things in this region and to have had a chance to do the thing I enjoy the most—work with friends and neighbors who are dedicated to making our community the best it can be.”

Reese has played a key role in implementing Community Council’s study process in the Walla Walla Valley. Four very different studies have been completed—enhancing the educational attainment of our region’s children, optimizing local agricultural resources through value-adding, reducing gang membership through prevention, and improving communication among citizens and government. Each study has been a catalyst for specific community improvements.

“The study process holds great potential for our region. As people engage with the process and gain well-balanced perspectives on important issues, they have much more influence in community decision-making,” Reese said. “And, it’s working. It has been gratifying to be in a meeting and have someone cite information and ideas from one of the studies—sometimes even passing around a copy of the report—as the basis for their decision-making!”

Community Council was organized in 2008 as a nonpartisan, inclusive civic organization that engages diverse citizens in open dialogue, research, consensus building, and advocacy to achieve the highest quality of life for everyone in the region between Burbank and Dayton, from the Snake River to Milton-Freewater.

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