Let’s meet at night

There is not a single Town in Washington County that would think of holding its regular monthly Town Board meeting at 10am. But that is exactly what we do for the regular monthy Washington County Board of Supervisor’s meeting.

I propose that the Washington County Board of Supervisors change the time of the Monthly regular full Board meeting to 7pm.

In my opinion, having the County meeting at 10am disenfranchises the working class. If you are not retired or are self employed, the deck is stacked against you being able to observe or participate in these County meetings unless you use up a sick day.  You may consider using a sick day if an issue coming before the Board was super important to you but do we really only want people to attend if an issue is SUPER IMPORTANT?

At a recent Feb 17th Board of Supervisor’s meeting I turned around in my chair and did a head count of the audience. There was only about 15 persons present and many of them were County Department Heads who were on the clock.

I have been told that night time meetings were tried once before and the attendance level did not change so they moved the time back to 10am. My question is if the attendance remained the same, why bother to move it back to 10am? The logical answer is that a daytime meeting is more convenient to the Supervisors and Department Heads.   I have also been told that if the meetings are not held while Department Heads are on the clock that attendance might actually go down since they would be less inclined to attend.  Well…… this begs the question do the Supervisors and Dept Heads work for the public or is it the other way around?  Department Heads are salary positions so no extra OT would be incurred to attend an after hours meeting.

Even if attendance does not improve, I for one would feel better knowing that a much wider population segment at least has the opportunity to observe their local government in action. This is what open government is supposed to be all about.

If you are with me, please contact your local Supervisor. If I am your Supervisor, comment here.  In order to make this happen, a 2/3 weighted County Supervisor vote is required to change the standing rules of the Washington County Board of Supervisors.     Dana