County eyes night meetings
By Steve Herring
Published in News on February 22, 2012 1:46 PM
Wayne County commissioners continue to be prodded to change their meeting times from mornings to evenings. Tuesday, the latest suggestion was from the board's newest member, Ray Mayo.
However, such a move is not as simple as it might appear and would require shifting other schedules, some of which are outside of the board's authority to change, County Manager Lee Smith said.
Switching to evening meetings has become a popular topic in recent weeks, particularly it seems, with Republicans.
Commissioners did not rule out the change, but did put it off for a month to allow further study of potential conflicts.
"As far as evening meetings for county commissioners, I think there is a lot of support in the county for this and I wanted to make a motion at this time that we change our meeting time for Wayne County commissioners from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. beginning the first meeting April," said Mayo, a Republican.
Board Chairman John Bell asked Mayo if he didn't think that the change should be discussed first and looked at during the next board meeting.
"We have not had time to discuss it or talk about the significance of it," Bell said
"We have talked about it for a while," Mayo said. "As a matter of fact, it has been suggested that it has been tried before, but my theory is I think it would work this year basically because it is an election year and we should be (accessible) to citizens, especially working people."
Before a vote could be taken, Commissioner Sandra McCullen was preparing to offer up an amendment, but deferred to a question by County Attorney Borden Parker.
Parker asked Mayo if his motion was for one meeting a month or both meetings.
Every meeting, Mayo said.
"I will say this, there are probably six conflicts on some of the meeting dates," Smith said. "All I would ask is, I know one, two, three of you have meetings on the first Tuesdays and on the third Tuesday staff we are not available now -- we sit on other boards.
"Is there any way that we can talk about it because we need to shift some other schedules and we would have to ask some other boards to change. Whatever you want to do, but we need to look at scheduling. Some of (the boards) are not under our control that you sit on or staff sits on."
Mrs. McCullen said that was what she was going to ask -- if the issue could first be discussed.
"What you are saying is that we might have to move it to another night?" Mrs. McCullen asked Smith.
"We might have to change our date altogether," Smith said. "We might have to move to a Monday night. I was just throwing that out there -- something to think about. How are we going to do our schedule?"
Mrs. McCullen then offered an amendment to Mayo's motion to study potential conflicts that would be caused by changing the meeting time and to have a report ready for the next board meeting on March 20.
The board approved the amended motion 7-0.