Northwest NEWS

June 22, 1998

Local News

Councilmember completes leadership program


Andrew Walgamott/staff photo

Woodinville Councilwoman Barbara Solberg accepts certification of completion of a municipal leadership program from Mayor Don Brocha.

   by Andrew Walgamott
   Staff reporter

   WOODINVILLE--City Councilwoman Barbara Solberg became the first Woodinville councilmember to complete the Municipal Leadership program, a series of educational conferences put on by the Association of Washington Cities. Solberg was presented her certification by Mayor Don Brocha at a recent council meeting. The program, only for elected officials, helps to develop leadership and technical skills as well as recognizes the time councilmembers put in for their cities, according to Michelle Harvey, Association of Washington Cities (AWC) communications coordinator.
   Solberg called it a personal and professional challenge to complete the 30-credit course. Though offered as a three-year program, she finished it in one year. "I've learned quite a bit," the first-term city official said. "[The program] gives different perspectives."
   For the certificate, Solberg said she attended seven all-day classes held around the state. Courses included council-community relations, how to hire, budgeting and strengthening oversight through performance evaluations. She said hands-on use of the courses came during the recent admissions tax debate where members of the community came to the council against the idea. "It helps you to be humble," Solberg said. "We don't know everything. We don't have the answer for everything."
   According to Harvey, about 700 elected officials from AWC's 277 member cities statewide are enrolled in the program. Only 15 have completed the course in one year. Councilwoman Marsha Engel lauded Solberg's efforts. "It's wonderful that someone can come onto the council and have the desire and ability to devote herself to becoming a better councilmember," Engel said. "I'm sure we will all benefit from her efforts."
   Solberg represents the city on the Sammamish Watershed Forum, serves on the council's Finance Committee and is a liaison to the city's Planning Commission. Sworn onto the council in January, 1996, she is known for her caution against moving too fast on an issue and for her repeated calls to "live within the budget." Often she likens Woodinville to a young couple that should look at Volkswagens instead of Lincolns when car shopping. She has previously been active as a community advisor to Evergreen Hospital and sat on the city's Tree Board.
   "Local government is very important," Solberg says. "It's the foundation for the rest of the government. If leaders keep learning and working, it's positive for the whole structure." She highly recommended the course for other councilmembers. Members of Solberg's family, including in-laws from Denmark, were on hand for the presentation of the certificate.