County board to start meeting in evening
By Steve Herring
Published in News on April 4, 2013 1:46 PM
The Wayne County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday tentatively made good on another campaign promise when they agreed to start holding evening meetings, at least on a trial basis.
Commissioners, by a 6-1 vote, agreed to try the evening sessions on a 90-day trial basis starting with their May 7 meeting.
It will begin with the agenda briefing at 3 p.m., followed by the meeting at 4 p.m. in the commissioners' meeting room on the fourth floor of the county courthouse annex.
The issue wasn't on the board's Tuesday agenda, but came up while commissioners were discussing the scheduling of a public hearing on proposed changes to the county's subdivision ordinance.
Commissioner Joe Daughtery had made a motion to schedule the hearing when County Manager Lee Smith reminded the board of previous discussions about evening meetings.
The meeting on the first Tuesday of the month is the best to try evenings because it has the least amount of conflict, Smith said.
Commissioner Wayne Aycock asked if the board hadn't talked about holding the meetings at 4 or 5 p.m.
Smith said that was correct, but that no time had been established.
"Have we established that we are going to evening meetings?" Commissioner Joe Daughtery asked.
No, it has just been discussed, Smith said.
"I know we talked about May or June starting that," Smith said. "So I just thought that I would bring it up for discussion."
Daughtery then made a motion that the board's first meeting of the month be held in the evening effective with the board's May 7 session. His motion included that the sessions begin at 4 p.m. preceded by the agenda briefing at 3 p.m.
Chairman Steve Keen reminded Daughtery that the board had not voted on his first motion to schedule the public hearing.
Daughtery withdrew that motion.
Commissioner Ray Mayo said he would like to see wording added that the evening meetings would be on a trial basis.
The time can always be changed back, Smith said.
Keen asked Mayo if he wanted to establish a time. Mayo said that he did not, but didn't know if the board wanted to present it as being a permanent change.
However, Mayo then made a motion to amend Daughtery's motion to make the change on a trial basis.
Daughtery suggested the 90 days.
Commissioner Wayne Aycock said he was concerned that the evening hours were still too early for some residents to be able to attend.
He suggested that Smith come up with a time for the public comment section of the evening meeting.
""We have lengthy meetings anyhow and I think we need to give our citizens time to get to the meeting and express their feelings," Aycock said.
Smith suggested having public comments at 6 p.m.
"Most people getting off shift work they usually get off between 3 and 4 or 4 o'clock." he said. "That would give you that evening so 6 would be a good time to do that."
Mayo's amendment passed 6-1. Commissioner John Bell voted no.
Daughtery's motion for the evening meetings was approved 6-1. Bell voted no.