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