Public meetings and political debates are critical components of democracy in local government. Increasingly, citizens desire to play more active roles in determining key policies, budget priorities, and planning for the long-term sustainability of their communities. Similarly, effective meetings and dialogue within businesses, non-profit agencies, schools, unions, etc., are essential to good planning, decision-making, and management.

To help serve these needs, the Leagues of Women Voters of the Cooperstown and Oneonta Areas are pleased to announce this public workshop. It will be held on Saturday, April 27, 8:30am to 12:45pm in Springbrook’s Family Engagement Center, on their Milford campus on Route 28.

The workshop is designed to build attendees’ skills and confidence in planning and holding successful public and organizational events and meetings. Importantly, we will look at ways to be more effective in listening to divergent opinions, and contending with stridency, in the search for meaningful consensus. Session contents will include:
Moderating debates and public events

Understanding non partisanship principles and techniques for organizing and running candidate events and issue debates

Preparing and using a moderator’s script
Handling difficult issues from candidates/audience/media
Managing diverse perspectives and building consensus
Key meeting management skills in listening, dialogue, mediation, and facilitation
Managing differing views/opinions/comments
Building and gaining consensus
Q&A on solutions and preventive strategies for common challenges

Speakers and panelists will include:
Laura Ladd Bierman, Executive Director, League of Women Voters of New York State
Judie Gorenstein, LWVNYS Vice President for Voter Services
Tom Pullyblank, Director of Programming, Catholic Charities Dispute Resolution Center
Liane Hirabayashi, Trained Team/Group Facilitator, NYCAMH/HealthWorks
David Bliss, Chair, Otsego County Board of Representatives
Dr. Will Walker, The Cooperstown Graduate Program, SUNY Oneonta
Georgia LaMair and Kirbie Sondreal, Cooperstown Graduate Program, SUNY Oneonta, Graduate Assistants

This event is free and open to the public, but pre-registration is required, and attendance will be limited. Donations will be taken at the door for refreshments.  To pre-register, download the form at  For more information, contact: Maureen Murray (607) 547-2853 or