View our mobile site

Mayor proposes earlier meeting time

Nolan Crouse suggesting council meetings start at 2 p.m., an hour earlier

By: Victoria Paterson

  |  Posted: Wednesday, Jul 02, 2014 06:00 am

TIMELY IDEA – St. Albert Mayor Nolan Crouse would like city council meetings to start one hour earlier, at 2 p.m.
TIMELY IDEA – St. Albert Mayor Nolan Crouse would like city council meetings to start one hour earlier, at 2 p.m.
FILE PHOTO/St. Albert Gazette

Comments    |   

Print    |   

A A


St. Albert city council’s meetings could start a little earlier if a suggestion from the mayor is followed.

Mayor Nolan Crouse sent out a notice of motion last week proposing that, for meetings occurring after the annual organizational meeting this fall, council meetings should begin at 2 p.m. rather than the current practice of 3 p.m.

Public hearings would still be scheduled for 5 p.m.

Crouse said there’s a few reasons why he’s bringing this suggestion to the floor.

One is that many larger municipalities and neighbouring city governments start their council meeting earlier in the day.

The second is how council can react to meetings that run long.

“Over my years I started to watch and observe I guess the behaviours and I think that people start to get more impatient at seven, eight o’clock at night,” Crouse said.

Usually in camera items, which can either be legal, land or labour matters, are dealt with last.

“You don’t want people making fast decisions, or impatient decisions,” Crouse said.

St. Albert’s council can end up having special meetings other days of the week, and Crouse said they’ve given feedback to each other suggesting the preference would be to focus those on a Monday rather than scattered throughout the week.

The change would also respect city staff who attend the meetings and have to stay late, Crouse said. Some get overtime for staying but others don’t.

Crouse said a 5 p.m. start time for public hearings – which draw the most attendees to council – probably strikes the right balance and would remain the same.

“Five o’clock is a good optimum ’cause it’s before supper, it’s before people are going to get into their evening things, but it’s still, quote, after work,” Crouse said.

But outside of public hearings, Crouse said the numbers don’t show a higher attendance later in the day.

“I think it’s a false understanding … that you’re going to have higher attendance after supper at a council meeting. The fact is you don’t,” Crouse said.

Since the election Crouse has been recording the number of people in the council chambers’ public gallery on the hour every hour during meetings.

With the exception of controversial public hearings, Crouse points out the trend normally shows the numbers shrinking as the meeting goes on.


Comments


NOTE: To post a comment in the new commenting system you must have an account with at least one of the following services: Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo, OpenID. You may then login using your account credentials for that service. If you do not already have an account you may register a new profile with Disqus by first clicking the "Post as" button and then the link: "Don't have one? Register a new profile".

The St. Albert Gazette welcomes your opinions and comments. We do not allow personal attacks, offensive language or unsubstantiated allegations. We reserve the right to delete comments deemed inappropriate. We reserve the right to close the comments thread for stories that are deemed especially sensitive. For further information, please contact the editor or publisher.

All comments are moderated, and if approved could take up to 48 hours to appear on the website.

blog comments powered by Disqus