By Myrna Trauntvein
Both Juab County Commission meetings held each month will now take place in the morning.
The meetings, to be held the first and third Mondays of each month, as they are held presently, will now both be scheduled for 10 a.m. There will no longer be a 3 p.m. meeting on the first Monday of the month.
"There was a debate on the meeting schedule last year," said Chad Winn, commission chairman.
At the time, the meeting schedule for the year 2013 had already been posted and so it was decided to let the schedule remain as it was advertised.
There was some discussion, at that time, however, as to the time being offset every other week. The first monthly meeting for several years has begun at 3 p.m. and the second monthly meeting has started at 10 a.m.
Winn said that the schedule had been in place before he took office and that the reasoning behind the offset schedule was that there were those, likely from the community, who would prefer the later schedule so they could work at their day jobs and then attend meeting without it creating a hardship for them.
For some years, commission meetings were held on the same hourly meeting schedule.
Several decades ago it was decided to hold commission meeting early in the morning for those who were working, such as forest service rangers, and later in the afternoon for those who needed to address the council but worked at jobs all day.
The afternoon schedule has allowed appointments after 4 p.m.
"I'm easy on the subject," said Byron Woodland, commissioner.
He said it did not make any difference to him whether the schedule was changed or not.
"Well, it does make a difference to me," said Rick Carlton, commissioner. "I think we should start both meetings at 10 a.m."
He said such a schedule provided a more uniform and orderly arrangement. He liked not having a fluctuating schedule.
He made the motion to meet in the morning for both of the Monday meetings during 2014.
For a moment, Woodland said he was thinking about the change and considering whether to back it or not, and did not rapidly second the motion.
Last year, Carlton's motion died for lack of a second.
Bob Garrett, county road department superintendent, said that the executive sessions which usually follow public or open commission meeting were making it so that county employees who were called upon to meet with commissioners quite often in those executive sessions, were staying quite late on the afternoon meeting days.
"For the morning meeting, we are still on the payroll," he said.
During the executive, or closed meeting, selected employees stayed until they were no longer needed to discuss the particular topic of the executive session that they had expertise in. That was usually much later than the 5 p.m. or 6 p.m. quitting time.
Attendance at an executive session need not be limited to the members of the governing body. Persons other than the members of the governing body may attend the executive session at the invitation of that body. Those invited should have some relationship to the matter being addressed in the closed session, or they should be in attendance to otherwise provide assistance to the governing body. For example, staff of the governing body or of the governmental entity may be needed to present information or to take notes or minutes.
"I think having both meetings in the morning makes the schedule more conducive to the employees," said Carlton.
According to Utah State law, executive sessions can be held with a two-thirds vote for the following reasons: in order to discuss the character, professional competence, or physical or mental health of an individual; collective bargaining strategy; litigation strategy and the attorney-client privilege; to discuss the purchase or sale of property; security information; investigations of criminal misconduct and discussing commercial information and trade secrets.
Woodland said, considering the employees and the lateness of some of those executive sessions, lasting until 9 p.m. or so, he would second the motion.
In the discussion last year, Winn had wondered if changing the times would affect people who would like to meet with commissioners. Would it be an inconvenience for some as they would have to miss work to attend a commission meeting if they were both held early?
"We can watch what happens this year and then address the schedule again next fall if we see a need," Winn said.
When the motion was seconded by Woodland, all three commissioners voted in favor of the change.
Meetings, as always, will be held in the Commission Chambers of the Juab County Building, 160 N. Main.
When a regularly scheduled meeting falls on a legal Monday holiday, the meeting will be held on the following Tuesday.
"I like having the meeting schedule follow a consistent pattern," said Carlton.
Pat Ingram, county clerk/auditor, said that the meeting schedule would now be advertised.
"I asked you commissioners what you wanted to do before I advertised," she said.