City Council meetings will continue to start at 7 p.m., even though some members would like them to start earlier.
Tuesday, May 11, council discussed moving the meeting time several hours earlier at the request of Councilwoman Tracy Folda. Folda said she thought it would allow more people to participate and reduce the fatigue of city employees.
“Staff fatigue is a concern,” she said. “Our staff is here all day long and all night long. … That can throw them off their ability to be at their best and certainly council as well.”
Folda suggested holding it at 4, 5 or 6 p.m.
“I was also thinking 4 o’clock because that would overlap with a lot of the staff’s schedules, allowing them to be there not so much on overtime anymore,” she said.
She said she also thought the community would still be able to participate because of the streaming capabilities and options for public comment.
Councilwoman Claudia Bridges said the only problem with holding it earlier is that it would conflict with the monthly Southern Nevada Regional Planning Coalition meeting, which is held in-person at 4 p.m. at the Clark County building on Grand Central Parkway. She serves on that committee for the council.
“There have been meetings that have gone on until after five. … During rush hour traffic it’s very difficult to get back to Boulder City and into a meeting here by 6 o’clock,” she said.
She said the coalition met eight times last year.
Councilman James Howard Adams said he was “torn” because he wasn’t against having the meeting earlier, but he did want to make sure the council was represented on the different boards and that its members were able to be at council meetings to conduct business.
Mayor Kiernan McManus said he agreed with Bridges’ predicament because he had served on the coalition.
“To ask them to change … that gets to be very difficult,” he said.
Additionally, he said he had heard that the coalition’s future is questionable.
Bridges suggested holding the time change in abeyance until they knew what would happen with the coalition.
Despite the conflict, Folda said she thought an earlier schedule would be “beneficial to everyone.”
“You know we meet 22 times a year and Councilwoman Bridges said it (SNRPC) met eight times… it would be hard, but if there was a time when her meeting went long, we do have telecommunications that she could still continue to call into if needed. … I think putting our staff and our community all on pause for a meeting that may happen a couple of times a year isn’t as beneficial as bringing those meetings in so they’re not meeting so late at night for our community,” she said.
Bridges said she had a “real problem” with that.
She said it was unfair to her or whoever on council was serving on the coalition to have them sitting in traffic while coming back to Boulder City and trying to log onto a telephone and have the necessary documents in front of them to participate.
She and McManus also said they were concerned about members of the community with 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. jobs who would want to run for council but couldn’t because of the earlier meeting time.
“At this time, I think seven is good,” said Adams. “I think it would be better in general to start to look at earlier times if we can, but at this time, considering the conflict of schedules … with another board we are required to be on, I think … we should maintain the 7 o’clock.”
Folda made a motion to amend the council’s rules of procedure to have the meeting start at 6:30 p.m. as well as cleaning up some outdated language and allowing the city manager, city clerk or a City Council member to add an agenda item 12 days before a meeting, if necessary. If not necessary, the 19-day rule still applies. Additionally, the supporting materials would be due by noon seven days before the meeting.
Her motion failed for lack of a second.
Council unanimously approved another motion to amend the rules of procedure for those items except for the meeting time.
The Southern Nevada Regional Planning Coalition seeks to bring together all public jurisdictions in the area to “coordinate regional planning in a seamless fashion while respecting each member’s autonomy.”
Contact reporter Celia Shortt Goodyear at email@example.com or at 702-586-9401. Follow her on Twitter @csgoodyear.