Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

May 3, 2013

Commission considers changes to meeting time, dates

Carrie Stambaugh
The Independent

ASHLAND — Ashland officials are considering moving the city commission’s monthly meeting dates and time.

Under a proposal made at Thursday’s meeting, the board would hold its two monthly meetings on the second and fourth Thursdays of the month, both at noon.

Currently, the city commission meets the first and third Thursdays of the month. The first Thursday meeting is at noon and the third Thursday meeting at 7 p.m.

On Thursday, commissioners voted 4-1 to direct City Attorney Richard “Sonny” Martin to draft an ordinance changing the meeting dates and times. The ordinance would require two subsequent readings before it took affect, and could go into effect in July or August.

Commissioner Larry Brown was the sole vote against the proposed changes. He said he believed holding the meetings at two different times during the month allowed a broader range of residents to attend.

By holding both meetings at noon, he said, the city risks preventing residents who are unable to leave work for lunch to attend a city meeting from being able to attend. He said he believes “a majority” of residents can attend a night meeting.

The change of Thursdays, from first and third to second and fourth, was necessary for noon meetings because Commissioner Kevin Gunderson had a scheduling conflict. Gunderson serves on the Huntington Tri-State Airport Authority Board of Directors, which convenes at noon on the third Thursday of each month.

Gunderson said he supports the move to noon for all city meeting because the existing noon meetings are better attended than night meetings.

Commissioner Cheryl Spriggs echoed that sentiment. She has pushed for the noon time slot before.  

“Once people get home, they do not want to get back out,” said Spriggs. “We can try it,” she said, adding “We can always change it back.”

The change from first and third Thursday to the second and fourth Thursday will cause additional scheduling changes from the commission’s historic calendar. Typically, the commission holds only one meeting in July due to Independence Day and one in December due to the Christmas holiday.

If the change is enacted, the commission may hold two July meetings and one meeting each in November and December due to conflicts with Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Under state law, the city commission is required to meet only once monthly. The next regular meeting is scheduled for Thursday, May 16 at 7 p.m.

CARRIE STAMBAUGH can be reached at (606) 326-2653 or by email at cstambaugh@dailyindependent.com.