City sets up space where council members, residents can meet one-on-one

Councilman Ed Baca, at his seat on the St. George City Council, St. George, Utah, Jan. 7, 2016 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

ST. GEORGE – Want to take an idea or concern to a member of the St. George City Council and discuss it one-on-one? The city has recently dedicated space in the city offices where residents can meet with council members and discuss what’s on their mind.

It’s something that we’d thought of before, but (Councilman Ed Baca) brought it to the forefront,” Mayor Jon Pike said Thursday.

Baca, who was recently elected to the City Council, said he wanted to provide more opportunity for residents to share their thoughts and ideas with city officials. He mentioned the possibility of a forum that could be held for an hour or so, and on a regular basis.

Once he made the suggestion to the mayor and City Council, Baca said, they embraced the idea and had a room set aside in the city offices for a meeting place.

“It’s been received in a very positive manner,” he said. “The mayor was quick to move on that.”

The room, an office located in the basement of the city offices at 175 E. 200 North in St. George, will be open to each council member to use as needed.

Baca has already committed to be in the office from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. each Thursday. The councilman has already met with one individual, he said, and it has been a good experience thus far.

“It’s been good,” Baca said. “It’s been really good.”

While some council members might keep set office hours like Baca, others may schedule meetings through appointments, given the part time nature of City Council, Pike said.

Appointments can be made by calling the St. George City Offices at 435-627-4000.

Setting up a forum where residents can meet one-on-one and face-to-face with City Council members is an example of the accessibility Baca wants to foster while in city government.

It’s part of the openness of transparency,” Baca said.

Before being elected, Baca ran for City Council multiple times and once for mayor over the last 12 years. He also become a fixture at St. George City Council meetings and acted as a self-appointed watchdog of municipal government. He has often stressed – and continues to do so – the need for continual transparency and accountable in government.

In an earlier move to foster better accessibility for city residents, Pike, who was elected as mayor in 2014, moved the starting time of regular City Council meetings from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. He also allowed for a monthly public comment period at the start of the first council meeting of the month.

Email: mkessler@stgnews.com

Twitter: @MoriKessler

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2016, all rights reserved.

 

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