Voted Down: Move To Make Commission Meetings More Accessible To Residents

At the July 9th City Commission meeting, an effort to make it more convenient for residents to voice their opinion at city hall did not move forward.

Vice Mayor Vince Lago sponsored a resolution directing the City Clerk and City Manager to set certain City Commission Meetings to begin after 5:00PM. The item failed on a 3-2 vote with Commissioners Keon, Fors, and Mena voting against and Mayor Valdes-Fauli and Vice Mayor Lago voting in favor.

Currently, City Commission meetings are usually held twice a month and held at 9:00AM with special presentations starting at 8:30AM. This resolution would have ensured one of the two regularly scheduled meetings a month start at 5:00PM and have matters of great public importance included in 5:00PM meetings.

 “We tried this about 20 some years ago and it was a disaster” said Valdes-Fauli, who voted in favor of the measure, adding that evening meetings create challenges to those with evening commitments and families. In addition, he mentioned during his prior tenure as mayor, meetings would rotate at different locations throughout the city and it was unsuccessful.  

Vice Mayor Lago got the idea as a result of the recent Mayor’s State of The City Address which was held at 5:00PM and was standing-room-only at City Hall. “There’s an opportunity to make this work if we’re interested and if it doesn’t work, we can go back to the standard [9:00AM]” said Lago. He wants to see more residents and stakeholders participate and not have just consultants and staff at commission meetings.

Newly elected Commissioner Jorge Fors Jr. appreciated the intent but shared the Mayor’s view that it won’t work.

Commissioner Mena suggested the city improve on time-certain agenda items which sometimes doesn’t happen on-time. In addition, Mena stated that issues that the commission knows are contentious should be held in the evening.

Commissioner Keon questioned throughout the discussion, “we’ll see how many people show up at the budget hearing at 5”.  A meeting where public comment is not allowed.

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2 thoughts on “Voted Down: Move To Make Commission Meetings More Accessible To Residents

  1. Public Comment is allowed and encouraged at both budget hearings that are advertised and scheduled at 5pm before the budget is adopted by Sept 31st. The information you printed in your article is misleading. If you are writing to inform the public you need to understand the difference between a workshop, which is held to inform/educate the commission collectively on a subject and a public meeting which is held to obtain input for the public. The recent meeting on the budget was a workshop. Facts matter.

  2. I commend Vice Mayor Lago for bringing this item up to a vote and Mayor Valdes-Fauli for supporting him. At a time when most households are two person income producing, scheduling commission meetings after business hours makes complete sense. This effort also shows a strong willingness for greater public input,
    and transparency. I guess Mr. Fors lack of support shows he is most interested in his daily after work social activity of chugging down beers at Duffys.

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