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County government meeting times should change

Bloomington Herald-Times, November 13, 2008

To the editor:

One of the issues county elected officials should address when new officials take office in January is county government meeting times. Monthly County Council meetings start at 4:30, making it difficult for an average working person to attend the meetings. The County Commissioners regular meeting schedule is even worse. The Commissioners meet at 9:00 a.m. every other Friday, which is a serious barrier to the ability of average working people to attend the meetings. Contrast this to Bloomington City Council meetings, which start at 7:30 p.m.

County Council meetings should be pushed at least 90 minutes later, to 6:00 p.m. County budget hearings should follow the City of Bloomington's model and take place in the evenings, not during the middle of the work day for an entire week. There is no reason that the County Commissioners cannot meet on Thursday evenings instead of Friday mornings, making it possible for more people to attend.

This is not a partisan issue. This is about open government and public service. County government meeting times have excluded ordinary people from participating for many years, when the Council and Commissioners were controlled by both Democrats and Republicans. It is time for that to change.

Scott Tibbs, Bloomington