Niagara Gazette

Local News

March 18, 2013

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

(Continued)

Niagara Gazette — The council was also debating cuts to popular city cultural and civic institutions, which were maintained despite public outcry over the course of several council meetings.

Choolokian said the time change was meant to increase efficiency and did not have anything to do with the council members no longer going to the meals.

“I don’t think that comes into play,” he said.

Councilwoman Kristen Grandinetti said she sees both promise and problems in the resolution, but wondered why she was not consulted when it was written.

“I would have liked to have been asked before it was brought forth as a resolution,” she said.

Grandinetti agrees that the presence of city officials could help avoid confusion during the public comment period of the meetings.

“If they were there some of the confusion with the public could be avoided,” she said.

But the councilwoman is concerned with issues of public access, saying the earlier time of the legislative meeting might keep some members of the public from attending.

But, she said, the time change also might encourage more people to participate.

“I think it might be interesting to try it temporarily and see if it could work,” Grandinetti said.

Dyster said he has a few concerns with the time changes.

He did say that without a fixed time for the legislative meeting members of the public may be discouraged from attending.

“It might be difficult for (the public) to predict when the legislative session will start,” Dyster said.

He is also hesitant to commit to staying for every legislative session. By being present during the legislative session members of the public could fuel debate on a certain topic by pulling either the mayor or council members into an argument. The work session is the appropriate place for debates and clarifications, he said.

“It’s likely to create disorder and more confrontational situations,” Dyster said.

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