Niagara Gazette

Local News

March 18, 2013

Council majority wants to meet earlier, doing away with 7 p.m. sessions

Niagara Gazette — The Niagara Falls City Council meetings may be ending a little earlier this year.

Three city council members – Council Chairman Glenn Choolokian, and council members Robert Anderson Jr. and Sam Fruscione — have put forth a resolution that would move the committee of the whole portion of the meeting back from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. The legislative session, which has started at 7 p.m. for many years, would begin after a 15 minute recess at the end of the first meeting.

Choolokian said he, Anderson and Fruscione discussed the change after the meetings were held back-to-back at the March 4 meeting because of a personal conflict for one of the council members.

“It’s a better format,” Choolokian said. “It flows better.”

The resolution states that by adjusting the meeting times council will be more efficient in its use of city employees — specifically the city police officer assigned to the meetings — and will allow for greater participation in the sessions from city officials and the public.

Choolokian said that city officials — specifically Mayor Paul Dyster — are more likely to be in attendance for the legislative session in the new format and could be helpful in answering questions from members of the public.

Choolokian said he believes the new times will have little effect on the participation from members of the public.

“If there’s no major controversy people don’t show up,” he said.

The measure, which will likely pass given its three-member support, also comes on the heels of the council’s decision to stop going to taxpayer-funded meals between sessions, part of a city “spending freeze” resolution passed in a 3-2 vote at the March 4 meeting.

The meals became controversial after a Gazette series outlining city spending during last year’s spending freeze detailed the items purchased at the meals.

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