The University of Virginia’s Garrett Hall served Sunday as the forum for the governor’s annual Cabinet retreat.
Working sessions were convened by Gov. Robert F. McDonnell, his Cabinet and senior staff. Hosted by Harry Harding, dean of the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy, and led by Batten professor Ray Scheppach, former longtime executive director of the bipartisan National Governor’s Association, the retreat also featured presentations by senior Batten faculty, including professors Craig Volden and Eric Patashnik.
“We were honored to be asked to present our research and teaching on best practices for state government leaders,” Harding said. “We welcomed the opportunity to share ideas and have a nonpartisan dialogue with the governor and the Cabinet.”
McDonnell’s aides said that this was the third in a series of annual cabinet retreats for planning and team management. “We were pleased to have an engaging exchange with scholars at the University of Virginia,” McDonnell said in a prepared statement, “and we appreciate the role played by the new Batten School in advancing education in public policy and civic leadership.”
“Having led the National Governor’s Association,” Scheppach said, “I know that it’s difficult for any governor to gather his Cabinet and get away from the capital to assess what they have gotten done and what they still want to get done.
“I think the retreat was very helpful to the governor and his Cabinet. Our Batten team came to the table bringing new perspectives to help them look at these things.”
Discussion topics included consideration of how to ensure policy achievements have staying power and how to get things done most efficiently in the last 16 months of the governor's term, Scheppach said.
“Hopefully this is a start of a longer-term relationship with the Governor’s office,” he said.
Harding noted that he is working with the governor’s office to confirm a date later this year when McDonnell will meet with Batten School students to discuss leadership challenges.