Monday, January 07, 2008
One of the things that the new city council is looking at is a change to the current meeting schedule. Why change? 1. The current schedule has certain redundancies that occur. Questions that are asked in the committee meetings a lot of times are repeated in the committee of the whole (C.O.W.). This is because not every alderman is present at these committees. 2. Having the C.O.W. on Mondays and the City council on Wednesday gives staff approximately a day and a half to respond to questions and requests brought up at the C.O.W. After aldermen receive the information, they typically have less than 6 hours to process the information. 3. The Thursday meetings during the afternoon take staff away their daily tasks. Making them less efficient. 4. The average person working until 5:00pm, can’t attend the Thurs. meetings, and would miss at least the first hour of the COW. What is being tried? 1. Combine the COW and the committee meetings into one meeting. Start it at 5:30pm on the 1st and 3rd Wednesdays. 2. The City Council meeting will now be at 5:30pm on the 2nd and 4th Wednesdays. 3. The committees will be retained, along with committee chairs; the only difference is the whole council is present. Alderman not on committees can ask questions, but not vote. 4. The public comment will be pushed to the end of meeting and not televised. This is to combat city forums being used for non-city issues. Personally, I am in favor of this approach. There is a much greater turnout at the two later meetings as opposed to the committee meetings. I feel it give more working people the opportunity to become involved. The current schedule is not a problem for me because my employer is willing to work with my needs to have a flexible schedule. I am a rarity though. There have been concerns expressed about the formality of the schedule changes being made. Therefore, I am going to suggest a sunset on the changes 6 months from now. This way we are forced to go through the formal channels to make this permanent, but we are also able to try out the new format instead of just talk about it. The other concern is bus route not running late on Wednesdays. This we will address also.
The first requisite of a good citizen in this republic of ours is that he shall be able and willing to pull his weight - Theodore Roosevelt