Examining the German Renaissance paintings and sculptures, James Chase of Spokane, Wash., said he was able to take the five days away from his transition because it will save him "time, time, time," in improved organization later.
Most guests' conversations focused on the benefits of talking sewers, police and budget cuts with their colleagues, and discussing transition skills with those who have been there. The most talked-about presentation of the afternoon was "The Mayor and the Press," an hour-long session on how to deal with the media.
Percy C. Wilson, one of the several IOP fellows attending, said he discussed unemployment with most mayors, but Ron Gonzales of Sunnyvale, Calif., incurred the jealousy of his fellow novices by boasting of the unique problems he faced when taking charge. "We have two jobs for every person. We need to find more houses," he said.
Taking two minutes from his hosting duties, Bok discussed the advantages of the $50,000 conference, which is funded mostly by the Department of Housing and Development and Sears and Roebuck.
"It is an example of the enormous range of opportunities Harvard can make to people in extraordinarily difficult and important job," Bok said, adding, "It's a great help for students and faculty."
Gordon Bricken, mayor of Santa Ana, brought up another advantage of the get-together: "It looks great on my resume."