Petition St. George City Council: Change meetings to 6 PM and we will come

ST. GEORGE – In comment threads to articles on St. George News, currently and in the past, readers have protested the timing of the City Council meetings for the City of St. George.  The gist of the protests generally is that 4 p.m. is too early and many cannot get out of their regular workday to attend at that time.

In comment conversation threads to current articles on St. George News, one person raised specific objections and took action. “Robert” posted three separate comments stating his objection and intention:

“I am seriously considering starting a petition to change the time from 4PM to 6PM, talking on a message board is one thing, taking action is another one all together”

Elected officials work for the citizens, not the other way around, sign my petition?

“I am trying for 3000 signatures, please spread the word if you feel strongly about the subject”

Robert then posted a link to an electronic petition he initiated.  Click here to view and sign the petition.

Whether or not Robert’s petition upon the council would prevail, should it receive a number of signatures, it has at least received the attention of city officials who told St. George News today that the issue is being placed on the agenda for City Council discussion.

Councilman Jon Pike said that in his four-and-a-half years in office, he has never seen the issue come up.

“In some ways, certainly on the surface, it may have some merit,” Pike said, “we would consider anyone that comes before us.”

But, in the overall analysis Pike did not present an optimistic view that such a change would be made.  Neither did Mayor Daniel McArthur.

Both said that many items pertinent to businesses or that require the attendance of city personnel on the city’s payroll are held during the 4 o’clock hour, during their normal working day. This also costs the city less, McArthur and Pike said, in bringing in city-paid personnel to participate during their normal employment hours.

Pike said usually that first hour is the one in which the council approves purchases, resolves to give recognition or make awards – for example, recognizing a scout or a child abuse-prevention month – addresses staff issues, approves a beer and wine license, that kind of thing.

The greater issues that the public typically presents more involvement in are things like zoning issues, and those are raised after 5 p.m. and can go long.

And both Pike and McArthur said that all public hearings are scheduled at 5 p.m. or later.

“We are a family-centered town,” Pike said, favoring the goal of getting councilmembers and those city personnel and staff that may be called to attend, as well as the public, home to their families.

Presented with the concept of the petition, the mayor said, “that could put us at 2 a.m. finishing our meetings, everyone we know that is in a bigger city has it earlier than we have them …. So you know,” he said, “I don’t see it changing, you’re welcome to put a petition forward. It’s been this way forever and it works out very well.”

Pike welcomed the petitioner to call him directly (St. George News has relayed that invitation to Robert by email). Asked if it might be put on the agenda for discussion, Pike was open to that and expected the council would be as well;  McArthur said it already is on the agenda as he put it there when he first received our call.

“We televise it, it’s done,” the mayor said. And he said there are “minutes for everything.”

City Council meetings are streamed live at voddov.com, a Dixie State College website.

City of St. George published meeting schedule:

City Council Meetings are held the first and third Thursdays of every month.

Meetings begin at 4 pm and are held in the City Council Chambers of the City offices located 175 E 200 N in St. George.

Work Meetings are held the second, fourth and fifth Thursdays of every month in the same location. Except that the second and fourth, this Thursday’s, of this August have been canceled.

And Pike said that there are regular public meetings every fifth Wednesday, which translates to about four such meetings a year, and the only agenda item for those meetings is “public meeting.”  Those begin at 5 p.m. and are open to the public to raise any topic they like. Action is not taken at those meetings. The next such “public meeting” is Aug. 29.

Email: jkuzmanic@stgnews.com

Twitter: @JoyceKuzmanic

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2012, all rights reserved.

schedule-meetings-around-public-time-frame

Free News Delivery by Email

Would you like to have the day's news stories delivered right to your inbox every evening? Enter your email below to start!

Posted in News, PoliticsTagged , ,

17 Comments

  • Matty Jacobson August 22, 2012 at 3:05 pm

    “‘We are a family-centered town,’ Pike said, favoring the goal of getting councilmembers and those city personnel and staff that may be called to attend, as well as the public, home to their families.”

    Yup. That’s exactly how you should run a city. Make sure no city officials work evenings. Keep up the good work.

  • LaMarcus August 22, 2012 at 3:18 pm

    So if the residents historically average a meager 12-15% voting turnout, how many residents would really be interested in coming to council meetings if the time was changed. Maybe 2 or 3 more with the time change? Maybe 4 ?? If you are concerned and want to be involved, you’ll find a way regardless of the time of the meeting. Also, the school district also meets at 4PM. They take the biggest chunk from property taxes. Don’t see anybody asking for a time change there to be more involved.

  • Ken August 22, 2012 at 3:21 pm

    Bet 100 that it will never happen! This city council and city manager are arrogant and condescending. They do their own business and not that of the people or for the benefit of the people. The time has come for the city manager and the whole city council needs to be replaced. Bet a 1000 that will never happen as the pulpit will not let it happen.

  • Robert August 22, 2012 at 3:52 pm

    The mayor said that larger cities hold meetings earlier, and he is right, in Salt Lake City council briefings and work sessions are held at 3PM. However, formal council meetings are held at 7 PM. The problem is that the St.George city council has both work sessions and formal meetings in one conjoint session. This creates a very long council meeting which is obviously the main concern of the Mayor and the council members, but this can be remedied by splitting the meetings so that everyone who wants to attend the meetings has the ability to, and the meetings dont run until 2 am. Good thing google is around eh?

    • Frank August 22, 2012 at 5:32 pm

      Work meetings are held on opposite thursdays. Check your facts. School board meetings are at the same time. Do you attend them? County commission meetings are at 4 pm, do you attend them, or are you just a back seat whiner?

      • Robert August 23, 2012 at 11:55 am

        Again, the problem is the time, there is no reason a person who works a full time job should need to inconvenience themselves and their employer in order to attend a city council meeting

  • Karen August 22, 2012 at 5:39 pm

    I think the city council should post dates & times, along w/ topics, of each city council mtg on the city’s Facebook page.

  • Tyler August 22, 2012 at 6:32 pm

    Agreed, simply split the meeting. Follow the Salt Lake model, have one at 3pm and have a formal council meeting at 6 or 7pm only if it’s needed. To say it’s a family-centered town is pretty irrelevent to this situation and only justifies the short-sightedness of the government in this city. About every city in the state could use that silly excuse. Business and running a city is business and running a city, it doesn’t stop at 5 o’clock or family hour!

  • Robert August 22, 2012 at 7:21 pm

    If you read the article, it says that I am hoping for 3000 signatures. If this many people were suddenly somewhat interested in the way things are run around here then I would be happy with just that. If 3000 people suddenly took an interest to what the council does, how they do it and why they do it then then change is inevitable. I’m getting the ball rolling, it’s up to the citizens of St George to make the change

  • VOTE 4 CHANGE August 22, 2012 at 9:28 pm

    We St. Georgians need to put unity in community by going beyond our neighborhoods, subdivisions and Morman ‘ward’ sects that seem to divide our city, and get citizens involved in how things are run here and just how money that lands in the good ol’ boys’ hands is utilized. I bet the majority of citizens admit priorities at City Hall are ridiculous. I’m sick and tired of just 12 percent of the same Q-tip heads vote each election. Is it even legal for how many terms the mayor has run? Isn’t there a limit for how long one can run a city? I’d like to get information on just how long a mayor can be re-elected. Time for some fresh iblood for fresh deas. This town is nothing like it was when these boys in office fwere first elected. They are obviously programmed to run the smalll, quaint, one-main street town it once was, not the urban hub of southern Utah it has become!

  • Robert August 23, 2012 at 7:54 am

    The fact of the matter is that the council members signed up to serve the public, just like firefighters, policeman, etc. If firefighters and police were unwilling to work late because St.George is a “family oriented city” crime would run rampant and buildings would burn to the ground. Also, wouldnt every city in Utah consider themselves “family oriented”? If a change ends up costing the city more money, the citizens of this city will have a chance to stop erroneous spending when it is on the agenda rather then complaining about it later. I will look forward to saying my piece and hearing a rebuttal next week and when the subject is on the agenda, we are at only 19 signatures and it will take the work of everyone who wants change to hit the goal of 3000. Spread the word, blast this on your facebook page, I will be collecting physical signatures in order to drum up attention on the matter, if anyone wants to help my email is rob_latham_1990@hotmail.

  • DoubleTap August 23, 2012 at 9:27 am

    How ironic for Mayor McArther to state “there are minutes for everything”, which is very true. Now if only he would make the minutes of the council meeting where the carousel was discussed and approved AFTER the carousel was already purchased and installed, public for those interested in them to read. Sure Mr. Mayor, having “minutes for everything” is one thing….publishing and making them public is another. So how do you respond to that Mr.Mayor? Mr. Mayor??

    • Robert August 23, 2012 at 10:07 am

      I’ll ask him next week 🙂

  • Big Bob August 23, 2012 at 12:59 pm

    Robert, hate to blow your bubble, but with the lowsy voting turnout, you’re not gonna get anywhere near 3000 signatures. People simply don’t give a damn about local politics and how their money is blown. Look how long these clowns have been in office, that sums it up riht there!

    • Robert August 23, 2012 at 3:12 pm

      3000 is a lofty goal, but I am sure that if I i blast this on the web as well as gather physical signatures I can hit 3000 with enough help. Also, the goal isnt just to change the time, its to get people in this city aware of what is going on and how they can change things, ill be hitting coffee shops, hangouts, sports games etc for this cause. Make no mistake, this is only going to get the ball rolling, but change will come if people take action instead of just complaining online or muttering amongst themselves, there are plenty of pessimists that think this will never happen but it is my hope that once this gains enough attention people will become involved and change how things are done around here. There’s not alot to do for a non LDS 22 year old in this city, so why not take action and shake things up a bit?

  • Tyler August 24, 2012 at 2:42 am

    Robert, I’ve gotta give you an A for effort in shaking things up in this town, bro. Remember the days of the “big movement” of Occupy Wall Street? It was in the eye of the mainstream media for a while, then disappeared as it ran out of any significant substance, thus causing Americans in all communities coast to coast to lose interest all together. Admittedly, myself, just turned 30 this summer, “joined” the Occupy Saint George group and even went as far as protesting things from local/national politics to the Powel Pipeline to water conservation all on a few of the busiest intersections in town. Yea, it was fun and exciting especially doing it here because it seemed so new, edgy and bold (but doesn’t anything here not directly involving the dominant religion?) It actually gained the attention of the local media and caused a buzz and even some action at City Hall as the group protested during a city council meeting one afternoon. Our group of about 8-12 people ages 19-30 who would actually hit the parks and streets in meetings and protests, was actually picking up momentum. Even the OSG facebook page had over 200 members. Long story short, yes, we managed to stir some conversation and scored a view on SLC news outlets over the City Hall protest and it being the first ever in STG. But, even shaking things up like we did, OSG died out and so did the effect on local government and citizens…Goodluck, though 🙂

  • Robert August 24, 2012 at 2:53 pm

    Tyler,
    The fact that this is even an issue is preposterous. I am doing everything I can to get attention, but without support from like minded individuals who are willing to gather signatures this is going to fall flat. If you are interested or think anyone else that went to those protests feel strongly about this please email me at rob_Latham_1990@hotmail.com, I am willing to go to the council and say my piece, but if I had a list of signatures and the support of a group behind me then it will make this issue carry weight instead of just being some kid who started an online petition. In hope to hear from you or ANYONE who is willing to help

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.