Shift to noon-only meetings bad idea
The idea of moving all Ashland Board of City Commissioners meetings to noon was clearly not thought through.
When one monthly was originally scheduled for noon, it opened the meetings up to a part of the population that it was not available to before, thus increasing attendance. It only worked because many were unable for various reasons to attend at dinner-time, even once a month. But if both meetings are changed to noon, then many, if not most, of those who attend in the evening will be disenfranchised.
Few low- and middle-income workers get a full hour for lunch. Those working the graveyard shift would only get a couple of hours of sleep. Small business owners would have to close the store or pay for someone to work while they are at the meeting.
In fact, many city workers wouldn’t be able to attend, either.
A better experiment would be to make the noon meeting on the third Thursday instead of the first. A large percentage of our population are on fixed incomes. Thus, the first few days of the month they are paying bills, have doctor appointments, etc. That makes it difficult to squeeze in a noon meeting.
Since the buses stop running around 6 p.m., an evening meeting is difficult for those without transportation. The ones who currently make the noon meetings could still make them on the third week as well. Plus, unless it’s a school project, no one younger than 18 would be able to attend without skipping school.
There was a reason the meetings were in the evening for years (seriously) and it wasn’t because no one ever came up with the idea of meeting at noon. Change is good. Total overall rarely works well except in complete disasters.
Sylvia McClelland-Morrison, Ashland
Shift to noon-only meetings bad idea
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