Columbia City Council's civility pledge begins with Fort Jackson - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina |

Columbia City Council's civility pledge begins with Fort Jackson training

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COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) -

After months of divisive debate over the strong mayor proposal and the vote on bringing a Minor League Baseball team to Bull Street, Columbia City Council is hoping team-building exercises at Fort Jackson will mend a few burned bridges.

All seven members of council took part in the exercises Friday morning at the Army base.

The first exercise tasked the group with moving a barrel across a short distance using only wooden planks.

Then, council members were given the opportunity to participate in a simulation against "insurgents" using replica M16 rifles.

The team-building exercises evolved from a pledge put forth by Mayor Steve Benjamin almost two months ago to be more civil. Only four council members signed the pledge.

"It's so important," said Benjamin. "We spend a great deal of time just in the four walls of the council chamber, even just on email discussing things."

So the idea was to get out where soldiers learn to become a unit and figure out how to do the same thing when they go back to governing the city.

Fort Jackson soldiers said the exercises council went through were all about strategy.

"Communication is definitely a key factor, it takes some strategic planning so definitely a lot of use of the brain," said Army Sgt. Jesus Lopez. "The course they're running today, not a lot of physical requirement, but definitely a lot of mental."

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