Saturday, January 26, 2008

Calendar Change Vote Fails

The proposal to adopt a Monday-Monday City Council calendar failed Thursday (Jan. 24, 2008) in a 3-1 vote.

The move had a council consensus of support at Tuesday’s agenda session, but three council members were absent Thursday and the necessary four votes could not be mustered.

In 2006, the council switched from the traditional calendar of regular meetings on first and third Mondays with agenda sessions on preceding Mondays. The new calendar called for Monday agenda sessions with regular meetings on Wednesdays of the same week. The council then had a week or more off before the next Monday-Wednesday cycle.

The quick turnaround proved burdensome for the city clerk’s office, where meeting packets are prepared. Instead of having a week to get ready for the regular meetings, the office had barely more than a day.

In 2007, the council attempted to decide among the new schedule, the old one or a “rolling” calendar with no fixed dates each month. Unable to decide, the council just kept the Monday-Wednesday schedule that members said they didn’t like.

City Clerk Laddie Wyatt presented a Monday-Monday calendar at the council’s Jan. 1 reorganization this year, but Corporation Counsel Dan Williamson said the change could not be made by resolution, but only by amending the ordinance passed in 2006. The council next met on Tuesday (Jan. 22, 2008) due to the Monday federal holiday and consensus was reached to change back to Mondays. Because the ordinance would have to be passed on two readings and 20 days would elapse before it took effect, the change was not anticipated until April.

On Thursday (Jan. 24, 2008) council members William Reid, Elliott Simmons and Linda Carter voted “yes,” but Rashid Burney voted “no.” Council members Cory Storch, Don Davis and Council President Harold Gibson were absent. Davis had consistently advocated changing back to the Mondays-only schedule to ease the workflow in the clerk’s office.

Wyatt said the next council meetings will be on Feb. 4 and 6. The agenda session is 7:30 p.m. in City Hall Library, 515 Watchung Ave. The regular meeting is 8 p.m. in Municipal Court, 325 Watchung Ave.

--Bernice Paglia


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