- Associated Press - Tuesday, August 15, 2017

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) - Dozens of mayors from across the country will meet in Vermont this week to have in-depth discussion about issues facing cities and to learn from each other which approaches for solving them work and which don’t.

Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger is hosting the Mayors Innovation Project from Wednesday through Saturday, although the most substantive meetings will be held Thursday and Friday.

The Innovation Project describes itself as a network for mayors committed to “high road policy and governance.”

“I find this group to be the best organization out there in terms of learning best practices from other cities, from other mayors, on difficult issues that municipalities face,” Weinberger said. “The conversation is always very substantive.”

Among the topics on the agenda are municipal responses to the opiate epidemic and 21st century policing. There also is a session titled “Cities Under Trump.”

The sessions will be held at City Hall in Burlington and are closed to the press and public. The meetings are private so the mayors can speak and ask questions freely, said Innovation Project Executive Director Satya Rhodes-Conway.

“If they are worried they are going to be written about or quoted, they maybe don’t ask a more honest question or maybe don’t exhibit some lack of knowledge and that then gets in the way of them actually being able to really learn,” Rhodes-Conway said.

Amy Snow-Buckner, the assistant to Grand Rapids Mayor Rosalynn Bliss, said her boss is looking forward to the meeting. Bliss will moderate a session on innovative projects.

“She appreciates getting together twice a year with mayors from cities across the country,” Snow-Buckner said.

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