Council to coordinate meetings: Summerville to try back-to-back schedule
SUMMERVILLE -- Pushing aside the eggs, biscuits, meat and grits wasn't so hard as all that. And after a few years of debate, it turns out that holding back-to-back Town Council committee meetings might not be either.
But moving the long entrenched, crack-of-dawn- Monday finance committee meeting -- that might take some doing.
Town Council will try holding committee meetings such as public safety and public works one after another on the same afternoon -- 4 p.m. Wednesday a week before the second Wednesday full council meeting -- so that council members can attend each other's meetings.
New Councilman Terry Jenkins proposed the change last week and won an unanimous vote as Councilman Bob Jackson chuckled at the other end of the council table.
Two years ago, Jackson proposed the same thing only to watch it dismantled by a council that couldn't seem to agree on much of anything.
Jenkins' reasoning was the same as Jackson's in 2009 -- "give employees and (all) council members the opportunity to learn what's going on in other committees." The idea had been shot down before Jackson, too.
The Summerville mayor for years has divvied out council assignments to various committees.
For years, committee chairmen have called and held the meetings simultaneously, at disparate times, or more than occasionally, on separate days. Jackson, among other council members, said they were blindsided by important decisions virtually made at a committee meeting they weren't part of.
But his proposal was turned down after other council members said back-to-back meetings were too much at one time and would take too long.
The change would be one more recent break from long-standing town traditions that became synonymous with the Berlin Myers era as mayor. Myers stepped down in June. Maybe the most talked about tradition was the once-a-quarter firehouse breakfast, a full council finance committee meeting held at the downtown fire station while breakfast was served.
It was a folksy tradition, a forkful of a Southern custom in which food and drink is just part of being social, harking back to a time when the place was run more like family. But the practice took newcomers aback, and was criticized as currying favor, a free feed for people who take their business to the meetings.
Council quietly put an end to that tradition a year or so ago while the station was being renovated.
The 8 a.m. finance committee meeting, though, went on. And it will continue to be held the Monday before the regular council meeting. Town finance staff objected to moving the meeting to the same day as other committee meetings. It would come too soon after the end of the preceding month for them to process the spending and revenue that is presented at the meeting, they said.
Reach Bo Petersen at 937-5744 or follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/bopete.