Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Council Proposes New Meeting Schedule

If some City Council members have their way, the traditional venues for meetings will expand next year to schools in Plainfield’s four wards.

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.”

--Bernice Paglia


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with Mr. Yood. this council is always complaining how much work it is and how much time it takes. they knew what was involved when they ran. If you don't like the way it is don't run again and let someone who wants to spend the time and listen to the people run. What a concept, listening to the people that elected them!

6:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dr Yaood is an old grouch. He even admits it on his website. he has nothing to do with this time. So I would take that with many grains of salt. He is part of the establishment and wants business-as-usual.

Business-as-usual is what got this country into the mess we are in. Same with the city.

We need fresh new thinking.

9:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As I listened to the proposal last night I too was initially reluctant . But, if the Councilpeople's talents could serve us better by spending more of their time in the committees then why not give it a try. A lot of these council meetings are just procedural that could be accomplished with just one agenda fixings and one regular meeting each month. I think they should try it, and review it after a year.

We all recently voted for 'change from the status quo'. :) Jim Spear

11:08 AM  

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