Campus Notebook: A Virginia Treat

Posted October 29, 2008 at 6:16pm

Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Terrance Gainer took a few dozen employees on his office’s annual retreat this week, spending about $36,000 for two days of strategic planning and team-building exercises.

[IMGCAP(1)]With the election just days away — and the end of the 110th Congress quickly approaching — Gainer said his staff spent some of their time discussing the past year and planning for the new Congress. It was the ninth or 10th year for such an event, Gainer said.

“Everybody reported out on what they did against the strategic plan,” he said, “and we spent some time on what the major challenges were for next year.”

Among those challenges: a Senate-wide staff turnover, a tight budget and constantly changing technology.

The retreat, held at Virginia’s Kingsmill, began at about 2 p.m. on Tuesday and ends at noon today. Thirty-one employees, who oversee everything from the doorkeepers to the Senate’s television studio, participated.

One of Wednesday’s main team-building activities was a scavenger hunt in Colonial Williamsburg, where employees split up into five teams and competed, Gainer said. Afterward, the group discussed how the teams came together.

Spokesmen for the House Sergeant-at-Arms and the Chief Administrative Officer said their offices do not hold retreats.

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