No night meetings have been officially scheduled by the Boone County Council for next year, although the possibility exists.
During a spirited exchange at their Tuesday meeting, the council decided that it would continue to meet at 8:30 a.m. on the second Tuesday of every month in the Boone County Annex, 116 W. Washington St., Lebanon.
Council member Debby Shubert first proposed the council meet at 8:15 a.m., and not schedule any evening meetings.
Auditor Deanna Willhoite, who is responsible for taking minutes of county council meetings, objected. That starting time would require some of her deputy auditors to work overtime, because “they cannot get everything done at the last minute,” she said.
Shubert’s motion died for lack of a second.
She then proposed the council meet at 8 a.m., with no night meetings.“Is that because you don’t want the public?” Councilman David Rodgers said.
That proposal also failed.
Councilman Brent Wheat’s motion to continue the 8:30 a.m. second Tuesday sessions passed on a voice vote. Wheat’s motion did not mention night meetings.
All of the votes on the meeting schedule were done by voice, with no call for “no” votes. That’s been the traditional system, Councilman Steve Jacob said.
After Wheat’s proposed schedule was adopted, Shubert said a roll call vote should be taken.“I kind of believe it needs to be on the record,” Shubert said.“I’ve been following state statute,” Council President Steve Jacob replied. “You can call for a roll call vote at any time.” Only if two no votes are cast “I believe the council has to vote for a roll call vote,” Thompson said.
Voice votes are “confusing,” Shubert said: “I don’t know who votes yes and who votes no.”Thompson said he’d asked Willhoite to attempt to register no votes, but she said it was difficult.“You cannot hear who is voting,” Willhoite said.“I think a roll call vote is great,” Wheat said.“I will slow down,” Jacob said, “and I will make sure I get opposing votes.”Lebanon resident Aaron Smith, at the end of Tuesday’s session, said, “I want to recognize David Rodgers for his sense of public service” and using night meetings to maximize contact with the public.“Most of your constituents are not able to attend an 8:30 a.m. meeting,” Smith said.
Wheat said he purposely omitted mention of evening meetings in his motion.“I don’t like the idea that we absolutely set a blanket policy that we can’t have night meetings,” Wheat said.“There’s nothing that we’ve done in the past that requires us to have night meetings,” Councilman Gene Thompson said. “There is still the possibility there could be a night meeting in 2014 if this council decides to have it.”Thompson had said he was “uncomfortable” with a motion that specified no evening meetings, “because we may need one.”The council held two evening sessions this year. Attendance at one was sparse, but a session during which funding of the Mapleview Rest Home was discussed drew a capacity audience.