Disclaimer: The comments in this blog are my personal opinion and may or may not reflect an adopted position of the city of Glendale and its city council.

Do you remember when a fresh faced council of all new members voted in 2013 to spend $50,000 or $60,000 on an electronic voting system? That went over well. Is it still in use? No and so thousands of dollars went down the proverbial toilet. This time council has approved another major change that does not bode well for you or for me. On Tuesday, December 12, 2017 Item 34 was on council’s voting agenda.

Item #34 is an ordinance that proposes council workshop and voting meetings both occur back to back on only two Tuesdays a month. For 100 years this council has met every Tuesday alternating between workshop meetings and voting meetings.

As proposed for the month of January, 2018 a workshop meeting would convene at 12:30 PM followed by a voting meeting at 5 PM on only two Tuesdays – January 9th and January 23rd. No longer would council meet four Tuesdays each month alternating between a workshop meeting and a voting meeting.

In the proposed schedule staff still has until the Monday the week before the scheduled council meeting to submit items for either agenda. This presupposes that council will continue to get its material for review of the agenda items for these meetings as is the current practice on the Wednesday before the meetings.

With the meetings, activities and events in which council participates, time is limited for review preparation and 5 days before a meeting has proven adequate in terms of preparation for one meeting. By doubling the number of council meetings on a Tuesday we are short changing the amount of time available to prepare. One of council’s primary responsibilities is to be fully informed about the items that come before us. This proposed schedule of meetings creates a lack of time to perform that responsibility fully. We would have the same 5 days used to prepare for one meeting now being used to prepare for 2 council meetings, back to back. This is an extraordinary burden. The time to prepare for 2 meetings on the same day is simply inadequate.

We all are required to read the material for meetings and often times there are questions for staff. The 5 days available include Saturdays and Sundays and in essence council has Thursday, Friday and Monday to reach out to staff on any issue.

Also keep in mind, there will be weeks such as this one where council will have a Monday special workshop meeting on a major policy issue. On those occasions, council will be required to prepare for 3 meetings a week within the same 5 day time frame. It is inevitable that something will slip through the cracks and may lead to inadequate preparation.

When each of us was elected we understood that we would be meeting 4 Tuesdays a month. It was a commitment we took freely without reservation. We do not serve at our convenience but at the convenience of the citizens who elected us to this office.

This change does a disservice to our citizens. Just as it affects council, it also limits the amount of time a citizen has to review and reach out to council on proposed items for two meetings back to back on the same day. In addition, movement of the voting meeting to 5 PM diminishes the public’s ability to attend a voting meeting as most people don’t get off work until 5 PM. For example, in January, 2018, we will be swearing in dozens of citizens who have volunteered to serve on our many boards and commissions. A 5 o’clock meeting start requires those citizens who work to leave their jobs early. It will cost them to make a 5 PM meeting and is a burden that we should not impose. This proposal will create unintended consequences.

Those on council who supported and approved the change were Mayor Weiers, Vice Mayor Hugh, Councilmembers Malnar and Tolmachoff. I did not support the proposed change to council’s scheduled meetings and voted ‘no’.

© Joyce Clark, 2017                 


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