A big ticket item takes up time at Monday night's Rockford City Council meeting, literally. Supporters of an agenda item say a change on the clock will create more transparency, but opponents aren't convinced. Aldermen could be a couple weeks away from new scheduling at City Hall.
We're talking about shifting meeting times for both committees and full council. A recommendation passed as a committee report, but not by much; 7-6, with Aldermen McNamara, Frost, Hervey, Thompson-Kelly, Newburg, Elyea and Chiarelli voting 'yes.' Ald. Durkee, Getchius, Oddo, Beach, Beck and McNeely voted 'no.'
The sign outside council chambers reads full council starts at 6 p.m. with committees at 4:45 p.m. and 5:15 p.m. The agenda item approved Monday night would change all that. Committee chairs have the final say in what times their individual meetings begin, but the guidelines are for Planning & Development to meet at 4 p.m., Code & Regulation 5 p.m. and Finance & Personnel at 6 p.m. Full council would have a 7 p.m. start time.
"I think it's a nice move, it's a nice step forward for the new council and I think it's a good move for the citizens, now we have a more informed and more welcoming council and committee process." -says 3rd Ward Ald. Tom McNamara.
Ald. McNamara proposed this idea. He says the new schedule will bring more transparency.
"With this format, every aldermen will be able to attend every meeting, every citizen will, as well as every media representative." -he explains.
10th Ward Ald. Frank Beach disagrees.
"I'm having a hard time understanding how the citizen, who is working at 4 o'clock, can come down to a meeting that they say is going to be more open and transparent. I don't get that." -he says.
He says changing to this format might not be in the best interest of city staff, aldermen or the public.
"We need to be sure of what we're doing before we change something as important as how our committees meet and how the citizens interact with the government."
This item still needs to be approved as an ordinance. That vote should take place next week.
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