Regional Elected Leaders Initiative

Connecting Regional Leaders

The Schar School's Regional Elected Leaders Initiative (RELI) was created in 2018 to enhance regionalism and support Northern Virginia’s regional elected leaders—General Assembly members, city and town mayors and council members, county supervisors and school board members.

As Northern Virginia grows and faces new challenges, RELI recognizes the value of working across jurisdictional boundaries and levels of government to identify and implement effective and sustainable solutions. RELI provides a variety of programs and events that connect and inform Northern Virginia’s regional leaders from both the public and private sectors. 

Through programs and events, RELI helps elected leaders to engage, learn and connect in order to effect positive change for their communities and the Northern Virginia region.

View Webinars and Materials

Effectively Managing Council/Board Meetings: Handling Contentious Issues and Potential Disruptions, May 6 and 20, 2022

GMU’s Regional Elected Leaders Initiative
Overview of Spring 2022 Governance Webinars
Co-sponsored by the VML and VACO

Friday, May 6:  Noon –1:15 pm         

Webinar #1: NOVA
Effectively Managing Council/Board Meetings: Handling Contentious Issues and Potential Disruptions

Speakers:
Hon. Babur Lateef, Chair, Prince William School Board
Hon. Phyllis Randall, Chair, Loudoun County Board of Supervisors
Hon. David Tarter, Mayor, City of Falls Church
Roger Wiley Esq., Legal Counsel, Virginia Municipal League

Key questions:

  • How have political polarization and citizen activism appeared in Council/Board rooms?
  • What strategies have others used to effectively manage their meetings?
  • Is Roberts Rules or Order an obstacle to managing disruptions or a useful tool?
  • What are the powers of the presiding officer?
  • What are your options in setting the rules for public comment?
  • Are there Codes of Conduct or agreements that help member-to-member dynamics stay civil?
  • What role do professional staff play when meetings are contentious?

 

Friday, May 20:  Noon –1:15 pm

Webinar #2: ALL OF VIRGINIA
Effectively Managing Council/Board Meetings: Handling Contentious Issues and Potential Disruptions

Speakers:
Hon. D. Michael Barber, Mayor, Town of Christiansburg
Dr. James Coleman, Chair, Lynchburg City School Board
Hon. Katie Cristol, Chair, Arlington County Board
Walter Erwin, Esq., Former Attorney, City of  Lynchburg

Key Questions: same as above.

 

Video of May 6th Webinar

 

Video of May 20th Webinar

 

Resource links

September 23, 2022 - To Be Announced

Please check back for additional information.

October 7, 2022 - To Be Announced

Please check back for additional information.

October 21, 2022 - To Be Announced

Please check back for additional information.

Peer-to-Peer Brown Bag Lunch Cohort Program

The Peer-to-Peer Brown Bag Lunch Cohort Program was launched in 2021. This is a unique opportunity for local elected leaders to talk with your peers from other jurisdictions about a range of governance issues, and some current local policy issues, such as: 

  • How can I be more effective as a local elected official?
  • How do others manage their communication with constituents?
  • What is the most effective way to engage staff?  
  • How can I best engage my colleagues on the council?
  • How might I contribute to better a recovery from COVID?
  • How can I effectively address equity in public policy?

The program consists of 4, virtual, one-hour sessions facilitated by senior, former local elected officials. Space is limited for this new offering. Participation is limited to 10 local elected officials in each cohort, and no more than two members of any council. There is no fee.

June 3, 10, 17 & 24, Noon - 1pm: City/Town Council & County Board Cohort

July 15, 22, 29 & August 5, Noon - 1pm: School Board Cohort

Annual Dinner & Regional Leadership Awards

Wednesday, December 7, 6-8:30pm, Schar School, GMU Arlington campus

Regional Elected Leaders Initiative photo
Regional Elected Leaders Initiative photo
Regional Elected Leaders Initiative photo

"The Regional Elected Leaders Initiative creates new opportunities for all Northern Virginia elected leaders to work together to meet our biggest challenges."

-Sharon Bulova, Former Chair, Fairfax County Board of Supervisors

"As a newly elected local elected official, I learned so much and left with a number of good policy ideas - particularly in the area of affordable housing. I will return."

-Andrea Bailey Prince William Board of Supervisors

"I would recommend these seminars to my colleagues. Having time to talk with local elected officials helped me understand their perspective and fine-tune my legislative proposals."

-Dan Helmer, Delegate 40th House District

See What We Did in 2021

2021 In-Person Annual Dinner & Awards: Attendees heard an excellent program with Dean Mark Rozell interviewing former Secretary of Education Anne Holton and former Secretary of Transportation and Secretary of Finance Aubrey Lane. 2021 awardees were Senator Janet Howell, Council Member David Snyder, and School Board Chairs Barbara Kanninen and Babur Lateef. 

2021 Policy Webinars: Successful policy webinars were held on Housing, Police Reforms, Transportation, Marijuana Laws and Equity in Budgeting. A summary of the programs and speakers, as well as the tape of each program are linked below.

Police Reform: Qualified Immunity, Citizen Review Boards and School Resource Officers, October 1, 2021

Marijuana Laws: What Happened and What Local Governments Need to Know, Friday, October 29, 2021

Budgeting with an Equity Lens: The Washington Area Boards of Education (WABE) Annual Report and Beyond, Friday, November 12, 2021

See What We Did in 2020

2020 Policy Webinars: Successful policy seminars were held on Transportation, Housing, Economic Development and Climate Action. A summary of the programs and speakers is attached.

2020 Program’s Virtual Awards Dinner: Attendees heard a lively program with Dean Mark Rozell interviewing Senate Majority Leader Dick Saslaw and House Majority Leader Charniele Herring. Regional Leadership awards were presented to Delegate Vivian Watts and Loudoun County Supervisor Matt Letourneau.