Council Proposes New Meeting Schedule
The idea was floated at Monday’s City Council meeting as the governing body contemplated its meeting schedule for 2009. Normally, the council holds voting meetings on the first and third Mondays of each month, with agenda-setting sessions on the preceding Mondays. The schedule also includes summer and election hiatuses.
The new proposal would limit meetings to one agenda session and one business meeting in months where two are now set. In addition, the council might choose to meet in schools across the four wards instead of holding all agenda sessions at City Hall and all regular meetings at Municipal Court.
The premise is to gain more citizen participation, but in public comment longtime council observer Dr. Harold Yood blasted the plan, saying, “If you find the schedule too onerous, you should find other things to do.”
Yood said the council’s role was to meet four times a month to do its business and hear the citizens.
Councilman Rashid Burney championed the plan of one agenda session and one voting meeting per month, saying some meetings had few items for the governing body to consider and could be combined. Burney said more time could then be spent on committee work. Councilwoman Linda Carter and Councilman Cory Storch also favored a new system.
The new plan will require passage of an ordinance on two readings and may not take effect until March. Meanwhile, the council must adopt a calendar on Jan. 1 and will retain the traditional schedule to start the year.
Yood called the proposal “disturbing” and told the council, “You are attempting again to isolate yourself from the people.”
He likened the change to Congress moving its meetings to Oshkosh.
“You are elected here to be representatives of the people,” Yood said.
But Carter and Burney insisted the public would still be served.
“We’re not looking to get away from the public,” Burney said. “We’re just trying to do things a little smarter.”